THISTLE STING LACKLUSTRE LOCOS
BREEDON HIGHLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE INVERURIE LOCO WORKS 1 BUCKIE THISTLE 3 Locos: A Reid T Reid G Mitchell (Dingwall 27) Watt (Gauld 65) Souter Broadhurst Michie McLean Smith (Hunter 32) Angus Stott. Unused subs: Watson Gordon Cooper Faskin Jags: Bell Cheyne (Carroll 67) K Adams Morrison McLacuhlan (Munro 56) S Adams (Cowie 62) McCabe Fraser Urquhart Robertson Macaskill. Unused subs: Murray Graham Milne Herbert Match stats, Locos first. Shots ON 5-4, Shots OFF 4-4, Fouls 18-17, Corners 4-4, Offside 3-5, Yellows 1-2, Reds 0-1. Inverurie started their league campaign with a concerning defeat on Saturday at home to a Buckie Thistle side that snapped, snarled & spoiled their way to a deserved success. Locos took to the field on a roastingly hot Garioch afternoon looking resplendent in their new black & red striped tops. New centre half Eric Watson wasn’t given his competitive debut, with Broadhurst & Souter paired at the back. There was no place in the first eleven either for record goalscorer Neil Gauld with Smith, Angus & Stott forming the attack. Skipper Neil McLean led the side in his sixteenth consecutive season with the Locos. Buckie laid down a marker in the opening exchanges with some rasping challenges & it was to be another clumsy foul from Scott Adams that left Neil McLean in a heap in the Jags box on three minutes. In actual fact the jersey pull on the skipper seconds earlier could just as easily have merited the spot kick. Jonny Smith didn’t look confident in the run up & trundled the penalty to Daniel Bell, allowing the keeper to make an easy save but he allowed the ball to rebound to a very alert Mark SOUTER who gleefully netted. 1-0 & a super start. Smith then was millimetres from releasing Angus with a deft touch. Jamie Michie then had a well struck shot ripple the side net before an unmarked Andy MacAskill drew a top diving save from Andy Reid, the downward header repelled. Chris Angus couldn't convert when through on goal. Returning ex-Loco Kieran Adams seemed destined to enjoy an early bath, a crude off the ball elbow not properly seen by the referee & standside linesman, with an odd yellow card ensuing which only served to infuriate both benches, Buckie feeling if it was missed there should be no card & Locos looking for the red that was merited. Nacho left nursing a cut nose. Buckie boss Stewart was spending his afternoon anywhere but inside the technical area, with the failure by the stand side linesman to do anything about it early on only encouraging the ex-Locos man to parade up & down the touchline, often actually on the playing surface. Another ex-Loco, Joe McCabe was sent off next for a shocker of a kick to Andy Watt’s head whilst on the deck. Handbags were whirling as the match referee toiled to get a handle on proceedings with Jonny Smith, trying to separate players, receiving a yellow card for his troubles. This only energised Jags & seemed to leave Locos unsure whether to twist or stick, with almost every challenge then won by the green & white hoops for the rest of this encounter. Thistle were level on twenty six minutes, there was seemingly no danger but a sclaffed Broadhurst clearance laid on an easy conversion for Scott ADAMS. 1-1. Another pointer that the opening day wasn’t going to a fruitful one for the Railwaymen was the loss of two players inside of five minutes, Mitchell & Smith both the victims of strains & pulls & having to be replaced by Dingwall & Hunter respectively. With Locos struggling to get their traditional passing game up & running, the last thing that was needed was more personnel disruption. Inverurie did then have a wee spell though that was more encouraging, Angus just wide with a touch & turn, a Stott low cross that Hunter couldn’t each & McLean firing over with two unmarked players screaming for a cutback. Sam Robertson was bustling & bruising & incredibly escaping the referee’s notebook despite some industrial dissent & late tackles. A first half that had promised so much ended with a disaster of a goal. Scott ADAMS again somehow left all alone inside the Locos box to have a simple task to finish. 2-1 Buckie. Long periods of inactivity, one in particular, seemed to have been overlooked with a mere three minutes of overtime played, one of which was for two substitutions. HT 1-2. Sam Robertson finally collected his yellow card. Angus wasn’t receiving great service at all but did manage to get a rare shot on goal soon after. Spider’s touchline web was growing & growing & upon actually crossing the halfway line did finally receive a yellow card. Scott Adams then was on the cusp of a red card for the most cynical of challenges, a trip on Stott with the ball miles away, but referee McAvinue contented himself with a yellow. Macaskill had been neat & tidy all afternoon, although seldom harried & jockeyed, & sent a free kick wide from twenty yards. An hour gone & the match was gone for Inverurie. Sam ROBERTSON, lucky to be afield, waltzed with ease from the right past Dingwall & Michie, & converted to send the hooped coasters ecstatic. Three horrible goals for Locos to concede, all so avoidable & none of which required anything sublime from a visiting player. Gauld replaced Watt on sixty five minutes. Buckie taking a two goal lead was perfect for their spoiling gameplan, suffocating the life out of the contest & breaking up play at every opportunity. Not a thing of beauty but practical & rewarding. A Hunter drive was wide & a neat turn by McLean saw Bell smother at his feet on the byline. A Michie free-kick was punched by Bell when it could have been routinely caught. Craig Cowie shot wide then Neil Gauld appeared to be felled in the box. It certainly took everyone by surprise that a second penalty wasn’t given. Angus then Urquhart dragged shots wide just before the final whistle. The nature of the defeat rather than the defeat itself was the major concern for the Locos fans post match, but there will be twists & turns aplenty ahead. Next for Locos is a wee trip up the A96 to visit Keith in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup on Wednesday. A competition never won by the football club, as the side set out to improve their poor cup-tie record across recent seasons. Kick off at Kynoch is 8pm.