LOCOS PASS MECHANICS’ ROAD TEST
Saturday August 17th 2019 Breedon Highland Football League Inverurie Locos 3 Forres Mechanics 1 Locos: A Reid T Reid Mitchell Dingwall Burnett Souter Broadhurst Dingwall Michie (Cooper) Gauld (Gordon) Hunter (Smith) Stott. Unused subs: Gill Cook. Mechanics: Knight Ross Fraser Groat (Gauld) McRae Milne (Paterson) Duncanson Hamilton Johnston (MacPhee) Howarth Soane. Unused subs: McArthur Ellis Crighton Referee Alan Proctor. Match stats: Locos First – Shots ON 9-2, Shots OFF 8-6, Corners 4-4, Fouls 9-10, Offside 4-5. Yellows 2-0. Reds 0-0. Locos boss Neil Cooper had half a team unavailable for this league clash against Forres Mechanics, a side that year after year can lay a really good claim for being one of the very best clubs, pro-rata to resources etc. Andrew Watt & Chris Angus were sidelined, Eric Watson was serving the first of his three league game ban following the ambiguity & controversy of ‘Haughsgate’ seven days earlier with Neil McLean having had to undergo an operation as a result of the flailing elbows to the face he received on the opening day. Charlie Rowley was also bereft of a full squad, following on from their surprisingly poor start to the campaign. Man in the middle, as Harlaw yet again basked in sunshine, was Alan Proctor. Mr Proctor of course was the match referee at Brora Rangers last term, a fixture that fans still chat about with the clashing colours, delayed kick off & monster minutes. However the official was to go on & have an altogether more understated & unfussy afternoon this time around. There was a proud moment for Ryan Broadhurst ahead of kick off with the popular player receiving an engraved silver salver from the football club, having reached three hundred appearances the week previous. Locos, as traditional generally dictates, were attacking the Railway End & started ever so brightly. Pacy, energetic & dynamic, this was a smashing high octane opening phase that was to bring deserved outcomes. Neil Gauld, on one of his many lava hot scoring runs, sped in one goal but a raised flag defied him. The same player got a shot away on three minutes with Knight fielding neatly. Andrew McRae required a swift blether with the referee for some chirpy chat. A low Soane shot had Reid stooping to save. Hunter & Gauld were linking up well, displaying fine first touches & intelligent movement. It was one-nil to Inverurie at ten past three. You’ll struggle to find a genuine football fan who is in favour of the clumsy new interpretations of handball, however the merits or otherwise of the law tweak isn’t to be confused with referees having to follow their instructions, & players repeatedly being told to avoid jazz hands & flapping arms. This penalty was correct in the 2019/20 version of the seventeen laws & Neil GAULD dismissed any thoughts of the Claggan miss to stroke home. Gauld was so nearly right in on goal again shortly after, but a second Locos goal just around the corner. In Ryan Stott, Inverurie have a player who works his socks off for the cause, driving forward, creating for others, tracking back with vigour & even slotting in at full back last week. In netting a tap in after a Mechanics mix up STOTT became the ninety eighth different Loco to net a senior goal. Andy Hunter fired high twice from range and at this stage another Locos goal would have opened up a potential proper pasting for the visiting side. Andy McRae was the Forres player catching the eye & had Reid diving full length to parry away a shot. Andy Hunter showed his trademark soft feet & change of pace wide right but alas didn’t get his head up to centre to Gauld for a tap in & instead shot into the sidenet. Sam Burnett was bossing the centre of the field & fed Neil Gauld who checked onto his opposite peg & lashed a crackerjack just a yard wide. All Locos & a top performance at this point. Dingwall volleyed wide as Forres somehow got to half time only two goals in arrears. Knight repelled efforts from Michie & Dingwall, both straight at his body when anything angled would have nestled in the net. Three nil on fifty minutes, what a lovely bit of football. Michie’s cross from the right flank was sublime & Neil GAULD got his body weight nice & high & volleyed home. Neil then lobbed Knight but the ball floated over the bar. James Ross had a rare foray forward & shot well wide. Jonny Smith made a welcome back & replaced Andy Hunter. Knight blocked a Gauld effort on the angle before Forres netted giving the scoreline an absurb look given the proceedings of the day. Stuart SOANE looked offside to onlookers in real time but rasped away his shot & it ended in the Locos net. Disappointing that a clean sheet opportunity had gone but that shouldn’t mask the excellent performance overall. McRae shot over from twenty five yards before Soane contrived to head wide when left alone at the back stick. Jonny Smith had two shots blocked by Stuart Knight before a MacPhee overhit cross got picked up by the stiffening breeze & bounced back off the face of the bar. Inverurie had played some great stuff, with a low key & slightly ragged final twenty minutes not deserving to diminish or blemish the first seventy minutes with Locos playing with the tempo & drive that needs to be norm if this campaign will bring us the rewards that are craved by all. FT Locos 3 Forres 1. For Forres you can set your watch with Charlie Rowley getting a tune out of the group as per normal, especially once further players return. Inverurie face a daunting trip to the best side of the early season phase, Fraserburgh, with the Evening Express Aberdeeenshire Cup-tie eagerly awaited. Kick off at Bellslea on Wednesday is 8pm.