FINISHING SCHOOL LESSON FOR ACADEMY
Press & Journal SHFL Saturday April 14th 2018 Wick Academy 1 Inverurie Locos 3 Referee – Alan Proctor Academy – S McCarthy M Steven G Steven D Mackay Farquhar (Gunn) MacAdie (Hughes) Halliday S Mackay Anderson Allan Manson Unused subs MacNab D McCarthy Locos – Reid Rennie Mitchell Duff Souter Broadhurst McCabe McLean Gauld (Laing) Angus Leyden. Unused Subs – Herd Gordon Hinks Cook Stats, Locos first. Shots ON 8-4, Shots OFF 2-4, Fouls 15-12, Corners 4-2, Offside 2-3, Yellows 1-3. When any sportsperson or team enter a competition all they can ask of themselves is give their all & hopefully record personal bests. Inverurie Loco Works FC have undoubtedly ticked these two boxes & have concluded their seventeenth SHFL campaign netting their most ever goals & winning seventy eight points, a tally good enough to have made them League Champions in two of the last seven seasons. Chairman Mike Macaulay, back in the summer, openly targeted a top four finish, a statement that drew some derision & scoff from many observers, including the usual keyboard warriors. Neil Cooper & the squad achieved this with a game to spare. The side are set to probably finish third after all the fixture backlog is eventually cleared & indeed have been in the top three since mid October. Wick Academy were the hosts for SHFL matchday number thirty four, with the Caithness side themselves on a wonderful run after a troubled opening section to their campaign. Thoughts again turned to the summer football debate as Harmsworth Park was drenched in sunshine with a picture perfect pale blue sky. The day was particularly special for Garioch loons Greg Mitchell & Mark Souter, the pair not only ever present for the whole programme, but both having started every match too. For Soapy Souter he also became the first ever outfield Loco to play every minute of every match, including pre-season! Steven Park was looking on proudly as the only previous outfield ever present starter for the football club. Andy Hunter wasn’t able to travel & Colin Charlesworth was injured so Locos began with the settled fantastic five at the back, with McLean & Duff in the engine room, McCabe & Leyden offering width & the formidable Gauld/Angus combo dovetailing up top. Referee Alan Proctor was handling Locos match number three of 2017/18. The pitch condition was challenging, heavy & soft areas combined with bumpy sections, with one area in particular meriting an inspection at 7.30 on matchday. A healthy attendance were inside the ground including those faithful Locos fans, many of whom were staying over post match. Inverurie started shooting down the hill & Stuart Duff, so impressive as always, unleashed a rasping drive that McCarthy did well to repel. Chris Angus had a header cleared off the line as Locos settled well. Jack Halliday had to briefly leave the park with a head knock but thankfully was able to return swiftly. The same player caught a half volley sweetly with a fully stretched Reid tipping round his left stick. Neil Gauld cleverly created a yard of space next but his tight angle shot was bravely blocked by the body of the keeper. Steve Anderson had put Fraerburgh to the sword seven days earlier with a double brace but he skied a great chance when the ball broke to him fifteen yards out. Locos were ahead on chances but Wick were enjoyed more territory at this point. Mackay & Angus both had decent efforts saved at opposite ends before Souter looked set to score, only for an offside call to halt proceedings. Its disappointing to mention poor refereeing yet again this season, especially on a day when a full time official awarded a penalty at Wembley for a foul a yard outside of the box, but this match was punctuated with unnecessary whistling, yielding two frustrated benches. Players, coaches, supporters all favour refereeing with a lighter touch, with intervention at a minimum. Here we had a match played in good spirit on a poor surface & it never needed twenty seven stoppages for fouls. Locos went ahead six minutes shy of the break. Keeper McCarthy went into sweeper keeper mode & zoomed off his line, entering a race he couldn’t win. Chris ANGUS expertly slid the ball low into the net for a lead just about proportionate to attempts upon goal. The second half started with Grant Steven yellowed for a heavy foul which was levelled up when Stuart Duff saw the same card minutes later. Davie Allan went down dramatically to win an award next, his immediate return to his feet seeing a couple of Locos players reacting with mocking mirth! It was Wick who were laughing from the soft award though as skipper Michael STEVEN leapt like the proverbial salmon & his looping header, targeting for a team-mate at the back post, ended up dropping into the net. Academy were worth a share of the spoils at this moment & would go on & have their best ten minutes of the encounter. Andy Reid is famed for his rugged bravery amongst the goalkeeping fraternity & his block from Sam Mackay was immense & a game changer. Suddenly Andy was busy & punched away Sam Mackay effort. Wick should have gone ahead but Grant Steven got into a mistimed fankle as a lovely cross came to him. It looked like a routine easy chance to head home but he contrived to get it all wrong but yet the ball still spun up onto the bar. Sean McCarthy was encouraging the Locos raiders with his ongoing heavy touches & poor distribution with his feet. Surely it was a day to avoid any pass backs but in fairness these two clubs are pre-programmed to keep the ball & so not the natural reaction to turn round & go long or find touch. Neil Gauld was tiring, as were many of the players, & boss Cooper sent Laing into midfield, McCabe moving up top. This move by the popular gaffer, who took over at Harlaw with the side eleventh, undoubtedly was to go on & secure maximum pointage. Danny Mackay pulled the jersey of Angus again & was yellowed. Wick were now second best but Anderson did have another pot at goal after cutting in from the left flank. The Locos goal was coming & with eight minutes left it came. Jordan Leyden looked to have possibly held onto the ball too long but dinked a smashing little ball to Chris ANGUS who used strength & poise to hold off his opponent & glide a Van Basten type finish into the far corner. Another quite wonderful goal by the blonde bomber who has netted eight goals already in a Locos jersey. Chris did a quick Locomotion celebration in the sunshine as the Locos fans behind that left goal leapt into the air. Could the Locos see out this one & hold on for the win? The best way to protect a 2-1 lead is to turn it into a 3-1 lead! Martin Laing had left the Locos bench for the fifteenth time this season & sweved in
a classy shot down to the keeper’s left, it looked set to be tipped wide but McCarthy perhaps misjudged the bounce & the last Inverurie goal of the season was in the net via the post. A brilliant win in the sun. FT Wick 1 Inverurie 3. Great scenes at the final whistle as this record breaking group celebrated with the fans. Chris Angus was MOTM again for the Locos.