ANDY’S GLOVES (GETS YOU THROUGH)
Irn Bru Cup Preliminary Round
WEDS AUG 1, 2018.
Inverurie Locos 2 Fraserburgh 2 (Locos won 5-4 on penalties) Locos: Reid Rennie Mitchell Duff Souter Broadhurst McCabe McLean (Gauld) Angus Smith Leyden. Unused subs: Herd Charlesworth Crisp Cook Broch:Tait Dickson Hay Cowie (Christie) Rae Beagrie Young Harris (Butcher) Johnston (Campbell) Barbour Buchan. Unused subs West Leask Match Stats, Locos First. Shots ON 3-4, Shots OFF 7-9, Corners 8-3, Fouls 7-10, Offside 3-4. Yellows 1-0. This was a phenomenal cup-tie, full of fizz & a brilliant advert for Aberdeenshire football. A preliminary tie in this Challenge Cup tournament wasn’t scheduled when both clubs performed brilliantly to finish third & fourth respectively last season, but the inclusion of two National League clubs from England meant one club from the Highland League & another from the Lowland League would have to be eliminated. A steady drizzle was falling on Harlaw Park ahead of this tie, only the second in the tournament for Inverurie, after a solitary tie at Montrose six years ago. Neil Gauld wasn’t fully fit & was on the bench. Messrs McCabe & Duff returned after one match bans, with Michie unable to feature. Referee for this one was Mat Northcroft. Fraserburgh undoubtedly settled the better & indeed were well ahead in the possession & pressure stakes right across the first period. Jamie BEAGRIE put the Broch one nil up on eight minutes, poor defending from the home side & the finish was more akin to a testimonial than a high stakes cup-tie. The same player was nearly in for a second soon after, with Locos looking like they were going to tumble out of another cup competition without too much resistance. Joe McCabe got the punters in a very decent gate excited with a sweetly struck drive going just over. Leyden then beat the offside trap & saw Tait repel his effort. Locos were making more of a fist of things but were nearly undone by a neat turn & shot from Barbour. There were only seven minutes to half time when a pivotal game-changing incident arrived. The powerful young Joe MCCABE gathered the ball inside the Broch half & looked set to drop it wide to a Locos colleague but instead unleashed an absolute humdinger of a shot that dipped, swerved, blootered onto the underside of the bar, down into the turf & back up into the net. Whoosh, bang, just brilliant. Lucky Locos? Probably, but Lady Luck had no input in this wonderful moment from Joe. Neil McLean couldn’t continue & was replaced by Neil Gauld. HT 1-1. Northcroft had a better than decent night with the whistle but a yellow for McCabe was unnecessary & out of kilter for a match played in excellent spirit. Barbour & Smith traded shots with Johnston wide with a header from a cross from Cowie that really should have been converted. Jonny Smith smashed a free kick just wide then a Dickson sclaffed cross forced Reid into a fine stop. Sixty nine minutes & Locos were ahead. Broch were toiling at the back & Gauld looked set to net. The record scorer hooked his effort across goal & SMITH netted his first Locos goal showing razor sharp reflexes to direct the ball home. Locos now on top but Broch just wouldn’t go away & Beagrie flashed a header just over. Keeper Tait almost fell over the ball, struggling with a pass across the area & was very lucky to get away without conceding again. Nine minutes to go & all square again. Cooper & Park will be working on eliminating these soft goals where the opponent doesn’t need to do a great deal with sub BUTCHER this time converting. Fraserburgh had the bulk of the chances at the game’s close but twice Neil Gauld went clear to cause Broch some concern. FT 2-2. Straight to pens with Gauld, Angus & Leyden netting for Locos, & Campbell, Butcher & Christie doing likewise for Fraserburgh. Jonny Smith had been excellent for Locos but had his kick saved. Hay then netted with Locos on the brink of another cup exit. Stuart Duff showed nerves of steel, or girders if you will, to crash home his spot kick for 4-4. Buchan had to score to win it but Reid made a great save, also retrieving a squirming ball from the line completing two saves in one top movement. Advantage Locos & Joe McCabe stroked his kick home for 5-4. Rae had been another top performer in regular time but alas his kick was way off target & Inverurie had won a cup-tie for the first time in twenty months & the first in a national cup for nearly three years. Lovely scenes around this atmospheric old ground, relief & joy in the August rain. Matches of this quality need two sides & plaudits to Fraserburgh who will be a fierce competitor this season. Locos now host Formartine in Round One on August 14 & this Saturday host Huntly in the SHFL, ko 3pm.