Saturday August 3rd 2019 Breedon Highland Football League Fort William 1 Inverurie Locos 4 Fort: MacKinnon Hastings (Lopez) Morrison Fyffe Treasurer Brown Gunn Chalmers (Henderson) Kennedy Andrew (Cameron) Taylor. Unused subs:Reid Farrance Gilchrist Mackay. Locos: A Reid T Reid Souter Watt Watson Broadhurst Dingwall (Cooper) Michie (Burnett) Gauld (Gordon) Hunter Stott. Unused subs: Gill Cook. Match stats: Locos First – Shots ON 9-1, Shots OFF 16-1, Corners 13-2, Fouls 14-11, Offside 5-3. Yellows 2-3. Locos journeyed to the West coast for this fixture knowing that the homesters were on a major high after sending five goals past Nairn County three days earlier. The Fort were also energised by being at the centre of a not insignificant media storm following their BBC documentary & follow up coverage. However the professionalism of Neil Cooper, staff & players was to see the Railwaymen through to the three points, leaving the banana skin or skins for others to avoid. It was a frenetic build-up to this match behind the scenes, Josh Bolton had departed to Keith, Chris Herd to Huntly on the morning of the match & joining up on a year long loan was Sam Burnett from Cove Rangers. Kick off at Claggan was delayed sensibly to 3.15 as a road traffic accident outside Lochaber had seen players, fans & match officials arrive around thirty five minutes later than planned. The sun was splitting the stunning sky above the ground, with temperatures around twenty six degrees but feeling significantly warmer. Fort’s publicity-fest & Nairn nullifying ensured another super crowd for this match. Locos were missing Smith, Mitchell & Angus, still injured from the opening day & talismanic captain McLean, still struggling after the swinging elbow to the face that went unseen by the officials seven days earlier. Boss Cooper named the same one to eleven as per the Kynoch Park cup win, with Sam Burnett being given the fourteen jersey & a seat on the bench. Fort listed eight of their nine loan players from Caley Thistle as starters. These loan deals, it would be fair to observe, has divided the football world, but Fort William feel it’s the best way forward for their short term future, with Locos only focussing on themselves. Inverurie were attacking the Social Club End & threatened first, a Michie swerving & flighted free kick headed over by Watson. Ryan Stott showed next to shoot just wide then Gauld netted but the flag was up several seconds earlier. Dingwall volleyed over with a Watt cross then well caught by the impressive Caley youngster MacKinnon. The young goalie was also catching the eye by launching throws fifty & sixty yards down the park to the feet of colleagues. Inverurie had a penalty next, on eleven minutes, Michie’s dancing feet drawing a clumsy foul to flatten the little Locos man. Neil Gauld’s spot kick was too close to the goalie & he shoved the ball away. Locos fans were heard to now be looking for Eric Watson to take the penalties after two misses in two league games (or a certain big goalie). Fort first threatened with a free kick on the edge of the Locos box but Brown sent it too high. Hunter had a scissors kick go over, then referee McFarlane halted proceedings for a drinks break, Claggan Park sizzling like juicy burger on a big football-themed barbeque if you will. Headers from Dingwall & Hunter didn’t trouble the goalie before a lecture for Souter for some perceived overly muscular play. A yellow for Morrison followed, studs up & high on Watt. Never a red card for the bulk of the seasoned observors at the match, but in the current interpretation of the seventeen laws, it probably was. A rare MacKinnon fumble allowed Gauld to hook the ball goalward over his shoulder but the ball dropped onto the roof of the net. A Chalmers challenge was then a little wild on Michie, Fort William not lacking any zip & edge to their game, & after the handbags were laid down, Michie & Andrew got yellows (Andrew for getting involved rather than the original player). Stott fired wide as Locos continued to create but not trouble the scoreboard. There was no panic though & Andy HUNTER opened the scoring on thirty eight minutes. The offside trap was sprung & the tall Locos lad stroked home nicely. Great to see Andy back & healthy & scoring. HT 0-1. Seven minutes into the second half & a Dingwall header assist was flicked on by GAULD for 2-0. Another tidy finish. Fort were thrown a lifeline with a soft penalty award. The home attacker went down in instalments, possibly genuinely losing balance, but it didn’t look a penalty in real time. KENNEDY netted the spot kick. Sam Burnett took his Locos bow with Michie going off. Brown was cautioned for a late one on Broadhurst, Gordon then replaced Gauld. The entering Loco was then clear on goal from an angle & his shot was smothered. Eric WATSON netted on sixty nine minutes, cracking home from a tight angle from wide right. Wonderful start to his Railwayman tenure. Cooper came on for Dingwall. Hunter, Watson & Gordon then had chances, with Kyle’s volley seeing MacKinnon tip over really well. Sam Burnett was displaying classy touches & his first surge forward fed Cooper who shot wide. Souter shot wide, Stott had a shot saved & Watson headed wide as Locos carved out chance after chance. Eighty nine minutes & Jordan COOPER with a fantastic goal. Killing the ball with soft feet, he spun, beat one player then eased the ball in off the base of the right stick. Well done Jordan. FT Fort 1 Locos 4. This win sent the travelling fans east with beaming sunburnt faces. Fort were cheered off the park & whatever your individual take on their media storm, fans of every club will be pleased to see bigger crowds at their matches. Next for Locos is the Old Farm derby at Turriff. Locos dropped points there last term & will be looking for full pointage this time around.

#fort #locos

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