BAH HUMBUG AT NORTH LODGE POLE
BREEDON HIGHLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE SATURDAY DECEMBER 22ND 2018 FORMARTINE UTD 4 INVERURIE LOCOS 2 United : Main McPherson (Crawford) Lawrence Anderson McKeown Anderson MacPhee Rodger Wood Norris (Burnett) Greig (Gethins). Unused subs- Lawson Smith Esson MacDonald Locos : A Reid T Reid Herd Duff Crisp Broadhurst Charlesworth (Souter) McLean Gauld Angus Watt. Unused subs - Rennie Gordon Bolton Cook Formartine United certainly can claim to be following their crest & be ‘undaunted’ by facing Locos, such is the Indian sign the Pitmedden side hold currently in this derby, but the Inverurie players put up a right good show in this latest meeting. Locos made the short journey to a surprisingly frost free North Lodge fresh from three clean sheets in a row but knew this would be a whole new ball game against a side who really should be winning the league at least every other year, such is the squad at their disposal. Neil Gauld returned for Josh Bolton, Stuart Duff was in for Greg Mitchell & this match started in really gloomy conditions. Alex Shepherd was in charge, handling his first Locos match in fifteen months. Moments of controversy have sprinkled his previous matches involving Inverurie. This was seasonal matchday twenty nine for Locos & their forty third & final one for 2018. Locos settled the better, attacking the road end, & were well worth their ninth minute opener. Thomas Reid had been crudely chopped down by Graeme Rodger, the type of tackle that usually justifies a red at higher levels, but here a yellow sufficed for the referee. A let off for United. The free kick was played short & then lofted into the box by Stuart Duff for Dan CRISP to head home. Andy Greig shot over before United ended Locos near five hour clean-sheetathon with a screamer. Aaron NORRIS let fly down the hill & into the top bin. At least the goal to end the excellent record was a worldy & not a sclaffed affair. United were now settled & were finding it alarmingly simple to get the ball into the basket of their forwards. The home side were creating the bulk of the chances but the away side were enjoying the more clean cut ones. Wood & MacPhee had a succession of efforts go wide. The gloamed conditions were now troubling the match referee & he stopped play to see if light could be shed on proceedings. Neil Gauld wriggled into the box & away from his marker & as he was clipped he chose to stay afoot & try & drive the ball across the goal. This avoided the referee having to award a penalty to the Railwaymen. McLean then blootered an impossible looking ball against the outside of the post, the veteran again impressing immensely. It looked certain that Chris Angus would see Locos in front again but an air shot offered Formartine another let off. McLean then set out on a forty yard run that was only halted by a well timed McKeown challenge that essentially was only going to result in an exceptional tackle or a red card. Andy Watt was impressing again & drove forward with purpose. Greig was offering Reid a testing time at full back, great experience for the young Locos lad, & next the diminutive United player forced Crisp to block a shot. MacPhee appeared certain to net with his head but Reid saved on the line. Kevin Main has had many great showings against Locos over the years & he pulled off a fine stop from Angus. Wood again had Reid at full stretch with Locos deserving of half time parity. Alas the lads couldn’t see it out & just as had happened in the recent cup-tie, the half time cuppa was enjoyed far more by the red & white striped lads. At least this one wasn’t in mystery overtime & was within the allotted allowance. MACPHEE took a touch & turned & shot low into the corner. Really harsh again on Inverurie. The second half started with McLean flighting a wonderful cross field ball to Charlesworth who eased the ball inches wide. Chris Angus wasn’t moving freely & needed extensive treatment before returning. Charlesworth was next to hit the turf, possibly with a hamstring problem. Mark Souter entering the field to replace him. MacPhee was impressing again & certainly doesn't need bizarre calls to help him, his next shot flying off the back of a team-mate but yet a corner was given, Locos players & punters making certain the referee was aware! McLean, along with MacPhee, was the prize player afield & his stinging shot from twenty yards deflected a yard wide. Formartine went further ahead in the cruellest of circumstances, Ryan BROADHURST with no option but to stretch to a ball played across the Locos goal, & the ball flew into his own net. Within a minute the contest was done as Garry WOOD took receipt of another assist stroked into his path, & netted to Reid’s right. Inverurie had played so much better than in the cup-tie but had somehow arrived at a similar outcome. Reid dived low to stop Greig again with the side then pulling a goal back on sixty seven minutes. That man ANGUS netting smartly from a precision Souter pass. The very least that the side deserved. Angus & Wood then went close at opposite ends as the chances kept coming. Souter & Anderson then had an outbreak of minor league handbags that only needed both lads to be told to get on with the match, but Mr Shepherd managed to book one player only, Souter, in a decision that again had many left puzzled. If that had Locos less than thrilled they were to be left with more frustration moments later. The newly introduced Crawford lashed out at McLean only yards from the linesman, this was a shooty in dismissal filed in the envelope marked obvious, but the match officials must have been unsighted & incredibly the home player escaped the first use of the hot water. Not an incident the officials would be proud of, but fair’s fair, if they don’t see what the fans all saw, then nowt can be done. Souter was denied by a smart Main stop then the excellent keeper tipped a class lob from Gauld over. Locos knew in their hearts that defeat was inevitable but they played to the end & couldn’t be faulted. Gauld was nearly in from a Herd cross as the club’s 2018 calendar came to an end. FT United 4 Locos 2. The result saw Locos drop to fifth. McLean was undoubtedly the best Loco on show, but the fans had a bundle of good performances to enjoy, including that of Andrew Watt, who drew some very pleasant comments from the more reasoned & schooled home fans. Next up, as Inverurie start their twelve match run to the season’s close, is the visit of Strathspey Thistle to Harlaw on January 5th. Match stats. Locos first. Shots On 5-9, Shots Off 3-6, Fouls 8-9, Corners 6-6, Offside 2-3, Yellows 1-2.