ELEMENTARY MY DEAR ERIC WATSON
Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup Round One Keith 0 Inverurie Locos 3 Keith: Dey Young Robertson (Smith) McAllister Clark Thomson MacAskill Begg (Gray) Keith Lennox (Yeats) Berton. Unused subs: Brownie. LOCOS: A Reid T Reid (Gill) Souter Watt Watson Broadhurst Dingwall (Cooper) Michie Gauld Hunter (Gordon) Stott. Unused subs: Bolton Cook. Stats - Locos first: Shots ON 9-6, Shots OFF 8-4, Fouls 5-6, Corners 8-4, Offside 2-0. Yellows 0-1, Reds 0-0. Cup-ties & Locos wins have not been happy bed fellows in recent years. The Locos have only won a dozen cup-ties in half a decade & only two of their last dozen before taking to the field at Kynoch Park on Wednesday. The Aberdeenshire Cup is a famous old trophy that has never adorned the Harlaw Park boardroom & this tie in Moray assumed higher importance still after the opening day loss against Buckie. As expected strains & pulls kept Greg Mitchell & Jonny Smith out of the line-up, add to that Chris Angus was unable to play & inspirational skipper Neil McLean couldn’t play after failing to recover from the facial injury picked up on Saturday from an unpunished flailing elbow. In came debutant centre half Eric Watson as skipper, Soapy Souter went to left back, with starting berths for Andy Hunter, Calum Dingwall & Neil Gauld. It was hot & humid in Keith as Locos attacked the Balloch Road End. Locos were in their daffodil & royal colours & an early Watson pass had Gauld sprinting wide then forcing a brace of quick corners. McAllister did well to black a Gauld shot, with a Stott cross & Hunter shot then both blocked by Keith’s rearguard. A Cammy Keith flick went well wide soon after. Next a Gauld free-kick touched the post on its way wide. Grant Thomson saw yellow after hauling down Gauld who was lively early doors. Davie Dey had kept the score down on Saturday & produced a good diving stop from a Michie free-kick. Stott burst clear but elected to pass when a shot looked more attractive, joy for Locos though on twenty five minutes. Gauld held his run perfectly & was two to three yards onside as he skipped down the right flank & centred perfectly for a gleeful Andy HUNTER to score his eighty second Locos goal. Well deserved. Souter blasted two feet over next with a cracking effort, a Berton free-kick was held by Reid, & a Gauld ‘goal’ was ruled out for a push when it appeared the diminutive striker’s strength had actually earned him the room to net. Souter was playing really well & a trademark burst from the back released Stott who hooked the ball into Gauld who had his shot saved. Locos had a rare moment of looking exposed next but with Cammy Keith in lots of space, Marc Young skewed the ball over the top way off target. HT 1-0 to Inverurie. Young had a header easily saved & Stott headed wide. The colourful Mr Mazzoni drew jeers & cheers in equal parts from the Sandy Stables Stand with his flamboyant offer for the Keith bench to determine the location of a free kick to the home side. A refereeing style that is never bland. Ryan Robertson lost his bearings & headed past there onrushing Dey, close to an own goal blunder. Fifty four minutes & a magic moment for the travelling Garioch fans, big Eric WATSON strolled out of defence, instructed young Andy Watt to sit in for him, & kept going. Ryan Stott eased the ball forward, Andy Hunter cushioned a top assist to Watson who dropped a shoulder to see the keeper tumble to the deck & stroked the ball home with his left peg. Not content with debuting with the skipper’s armband, Eric marked his first Locos outing with a lovely, lovely goal. Young shot high over the bar, MacAskill smacked the base of Reid’s right post & Begg had his rebound effort blocked by, guess who, Watson. McAllister then dallied, seeing his clearance blocked by Hunter with the ball almost netting in the net. Great chance for Keith next but sub Gray appeared to lose his awareness of where he was & headed wide from six yards. Andy Hunter was looking far closer to the player Locos fans recognise & had a pair of shots blocked. Max Berton got a full hold on a drive that whistled two yards wide. Mr Mazzoni was centre of attention next. A soft call went to Keith but before they could take the free-kick, the decision was changed & Locos zoomed up the park. Not at all sure what the initial free-kick was for nor why it was over-turned but anyway it came to nowt. Stott had an angled drive go wide, with Watt cracking in a rasping curling effort that day did ever so well to tip over. Cammy Keith was at full stretch but couldn’t reach a linked ball into the six yard box. Four minutes left & that man GAULD netted. Dithering from the otherwise impressive Dey allowing Neil to dash in & just get enough purchase on the ball to direct home. A Clark header saw Reid pull out a top drawer save to earn the clean sheet. FT 3-0 to Locos. This was the first cup-tie win on the road in this competition for five years & such a welcome & pleasing score & performance from Locos. It’s Fraserburgh away next in this competition. Next in the SHFL its a trip to Fort William, a whole new proposition with the arrival of nine Inverness Caley Thistle players & kick off at Claggan Park is at 3pm.