The Breedon Highland Football League
Saturday February 8th 2020
Inverurie Loco Works 3 Deveronvale 1
Loco Works: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Burnett (Gill) Souter, Broadhurst, Michie (Cooper) McLean, Gauld, Gordon (Hunter) Angus. Unused subs: Stott, Watt,Watson, Cook.
Vale: Blanchard, Aitken, Willox, Clark, M Dunn, G Noble, Charlesworth (Robertson) H Noble, S Dunn (Scott) Wallace (Stewart) Sargent. Unused subs: Ballard Munro Allan Still
Match Stats, Locos First, Shots ON 10-1, Shots OFF 7-1, Fouls 5-10, Corners 6-5, Offside 2-5. Yellows 1-2, Reds 0-0.
Inverurie Locos garnered three league points on Saturday against an industrious Deveronvale at a positively perishing Harlaw Park. Storm Ciara was forecast to cause major difficulties in Aberdeenshire from noon to around 5pm, but thankfully the severity of the gusting wind was substantially below the values predicted. The decision of the home club, in agreement with the visitors, to proceed with business as usual rather than postpone early based on informed, but often flawed, conjecture, was fully vindicated. Praise too for the match officials who arrived at the stadium minded for the game to be played & bereft of any negativity or unnecessary self doubt. Gaffer Andy Low had promised chances for players around the squad periphery & Kyle Gordon found himself being handed the number ten jersey. Stott, Hunter & Watson were rested from the previous week, Smith was injured, & in came Gauld & Tam Reid. Vale were stung by Fort William in their last outing, the Lochaber loons subsequently depositing Lossiemouth to the basement berth, but over the campaign the Reds have had a better than decent return. Ex Locos Charlesworth & Willox were listed by the visitors & were welcomed back to Harlaw. Referee Fordyce was making his first visit to Inverurie in around a year, and in one of those regular oddities that association football throws up, his last appointment was against….Deveronvale! Locos royalty was in attendance, the class of ’93 being in hospitality, with the star turn being Joe McCallum, a Rolls Royce of a footballer who wore the colours of both clubs & was a former team-mate of Davie Cooper at Clydebank. Deveronvale had their boss Steve Dolan working away, so Craig Stewart was at the helm. At kick-off it was noted that Locos had seven starters who came through the local soccer scene, yet another nod to giving the best of the best local players all the opportunities they could crave, & in the week that the club won invincible back to back Aberdeenshire League titles. Skipper McLean bulldozed through the Vale defence but as his header was cleared off the line, the whistle blew for a foul in the build-up. Chris Angus, fresh from giving a massive boost to the Locos legions with signing a new deal, took a sumptuous touch in releasing Gauld. McLean then took on the mother of audacious chips, fully forty five yards out, & wasn’t far away. Michael Dunn could easily have walked for a really late foul on Burnett, the Vale man stretching & out of control in the current parlance. Whilst games are invariably better with all the players afield, some Locos fans couldn’t help but think back to reds for their favourites, & compare & contrast to this incident. Anyway the referee has to call it as he sees it & on we went. Inverurie were ramping up the pace & pressure & Gauld volleyed just past the juncture of post & bar, the build-up play being down to the trickery of Gordon. Angus then plucked the ball out of the swirling wind with the ease of someone grabbing an apple from a low lying branch & saw Blanchard pull off a fine block. Gauld then headed against the face of the bar, Angus had another attempt saved & Mitchell was inches from connecting with a cross-come-shot at the back post. A Chris Angus cross was just too long for the lurking Gordon, with Gauld denied by a goal-line clearance. Greg MITCHELL is a hugely popular local lad, with the Garioch DNA & one would imagine the Locos crest running through his body like a stick of Railwaymen rock. The ball broke to Greg & he got his body weight forward & over the football, ensuring that the ball stayed low & true on it’s path into the net. Double figures for Mitchell, who had earlier suffered a bloody nose, returning to the field with a quantity of cotton wool up his hooter that might have been better suited for a rhino. Sam Burnett ran forty yards towards the Vale net, despatching a shot only a yard too high. Deveronvale had to wait thirty seven minutes for an attempt upon the home goal, Sargent shooting well wide. Blanchard was in fine form, swooping low to his left to claw a Nacho drive away for a corner. Angus looked to have been held down in the box as the corner came in but was perhaps not easy to spot in a crowd scene. Eleven attempts in that first half, with the visitors thankful to only be one behind. HT 1-0. Kyle Gordon was energetic, intelligent & effective & next played Angus in to again be thwarted by the jaunty James. The keeper then dived to save from Gordon. Scott Dunn & Souter had a wee outbreak of shirt grabbing which saw the home man yellowed. The redoubtable SOAPY was in fine fettle moments later though, the proverbial leap of salmon proportions & a nod into the Vale net. Jamie Michie with the assist, his centred ball was flighted with perfection. SARGENT netted for Vale, confusion at the stadium with two different team-mates being credited but all was tidied up for the record books by simply checking with Mr Fordyce at full-time. 2-1 was a thoroughly bizarre scoreline given the balanced of play but at least Locos made the last few seconds more comfortable with ANGUS stroking home, the goal assuring him of two quarter century seasonal returns in back to back campaigns, only Neil Gauld (twice) had done this before. FT 3-1. If a person was minded to be critical then perhaps the lack of ruthlessness could be mentioned, but that would be churlish & overlooking the more important positives. Locos were back to moving the ball swiftly around the field, crisp touches & lively movement. Kyle Gordon gave a performance that was pleasing in the extreme, with the Jordan Cooper cameo & Craig Gill forty minutes heartwarming for local supporters. It’s the visit of Strathspey Thistle on Saturday with kick off one hour early at 2pm, with the Locos Valentine Ball later that evening. Pics from Paul Douglas.