FOLLOWING away wins in Grantown and Banff, Inverurie Locos were looking to keep up their 100 per cent record alongside Wick, Brora and Formartine at the top of the table and on another warm day, recorded a fine 4-3 derby win in an action packed game against Turriff United.
It turned into a definite game of two halves, the opening half saw Turriff take control of the encounter. An early penalty from Mike McKenzie was levelled by Neil Gauld before Turriff were reduced to 10 men after McKenzie was given his marching orders. Turriff were relentless in attack, chalking up to exceptional goals before the half by Robbie Allan and Nick Gray.
However, the second half and ultimately the points went to Inverurie, as three unanswered second half goals from Gordon Forsyth, Dean Donaldson and a wonder strike from Andrew Hunter, completed the victory.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Gordon Forsyth attempted to close down a Mike MCKENZIE quick pass on the very edge of the box. With McKenzie first to the ball, he placed it on the spot before firing past Andy Reid.
Locos were behind for only six minutes as Andy Low lined up a free kick within the D. Keeping his shot low, keeper Steven Coutts was able to parry the ball wide, although not wide enough as Dean Donaldson poked the ball back across goal from the byline. Neil GAULD’S goal line stab at goal was enough to direct the ball into the net.
The game then developed a comfortable rhythm before a 50/50 challenge seemingly put Locos in command of the tie. What started as a niggling tussle for the ball near the centre of the pitch soon turned nasty as the imposing figure of Mike McKenzie left Ross Anderson face down on the turf, holding his back. With a clear view of the incident, the referee brought both players to one side before showing a red to McKenzie and just a caution to Anderson.
Locos struggled to take advantage of the extra man, a counter attack from Neil Gauld seeing his shot being smothered. As the match approached the half hour mark, Robbie Allan brought out the best in Andy Reid as the keeper deftly guided a whipped 20 yard free kick over the cross bar.
The same couldn’t be said ten minutes later as Robbie ALLAN sensed an out of position Andy Reid as he picked up the ball on the left flank. Bringing the ball onto his favoured side, Allan curled the ball from the corner of the box, across Reid and in off the far post.
As half time approached, the home team capitulated further as the defence pushed up the field in an attempt to assist the midfield players. Spotting a gap, Nick GRAY timed his run between the Locos centre backs as he received a perfectly weighted pass. With only the keeper to beat, Gray rounded Reid before slotting into an empty net.
Inverurie should then have reduced the deficit to a single goal as Andy Hunter found Gauld open in the box, only for the striker’s header to agonisingly rebound off the crossbar.
Into the second half, home fans kept the faith, knowing their team, despite two down, had the extra man. They immediately clawed back a vital goal after just six minutes of the half. Andy Low’s corner picked out the advancing figure of Gordon FORSYTH, who aimed his bullet header past Steven Coutts from six yards.
With the momentum now firmly in their favour, they looked a different side. The boost in confidence immediately showed as Andy Hunter did a fantastic job to hold up ball on right flank. Spotting his men filling the box, Hunter played a low ball through the defence to find a surrounded Gauld. With the goal covered, Gauld laid the ball back for Dean DONALDSON, who introduced himself to his new adoring home fans with a low drive through defenders into net, leaving Coutts stranded.
The one man advantage which had been carried from early in the match then vanished as a furious Gordon Forsyth received his marching orders for his reaction to a strong Cameron Bowden foul on a team mate.
However Andy HUNTER then stole the show with a thunderbolt to mark his home debut. Seemingly looking to pick a pass 30 yards from goal, Hunter proved that he only had eyes for goal as he screamed his shot into the top left corner.
Locos then had the chance to put the game beyond doubt as Martin Bavidge had his ankles clipped in the box late in the match. Looking to build on his tally for the season, Neil Gauld stepped up, only to see his penalty be parried wide of the post by Steven Coutts
Locos: Reid, McLean, Forsyth, Begg, Souter, Anderson, Hunter, Low, Gauld (Young 90), Bavidge, Donaldson (Maitland 81)
Subs: Keir, Coll, Mathieson
Turriff Utd: Coutts, Herd, McKibben, Bowden (Chalmers 85), Cumming, Ligertwood, McKenna (S Gauld 73), Young, Gray, McKenzie, R Allan (B Allan 73)
Subs: Brownie, McCaffrey
Referee: A Milne
Locos look to keep up their great early season form this Saturday when they face Rothes away at Mackessack Park. The Speysiders shed five first half goals at Keith on Saturday but are generally more resilient on their home patch.
On Tuesday night, August 27, Banks O’Dee are the visitors to Harlaw Park in the Aberdeenshire Cup, kick off is 8pm, played to a finish.