Saturday’s match against Formartine must go down as one of the wackiest Inverurie Locos games I’ve reported on over two decades.
Not only a psychological boost of a first home derby 4-3 win over neighbours Formartine United, but one that had enough talking points to cover a month of fixtures.
A penalty for either side, both visiting goalkeepers sent off and in the end four different players pulling on the goalkeepers jersey for the losing Pitmedden side as the lead continually changed hands.
Ex Locos marksman Neil Gauld was making his return to a happy former home stomping ground but for he and colleagues Andy Reid and Jamie Michie it was the afternoon from hell.
It had all started so well for Gauldy as set up the opener for the visitors in five minutes, Greg MITCHELL accidentally forcing his deadly cross into his own net from six yards under pressure from attacking players breathing down his neck.
Captain Neil McLEAN levelled in 16 minutes after Reid saved the initial effort from Jordan Leyden and it could have been 2-1 soon after, Leyden firing over after Charlesworth played on McLean’s corner.
There was controversy in 26 minutes with Reid was sent off for what was deemed a last man challenge on Charlesworth racing through. With No 2 keeper Phil Anderson barely having his gloves strapped on, ex Motherwell and Ross County midfielder Iain VIGURS trialling for the second Saturday, curled the free kick home.
Locos had a goal disallowed for offside but despite having a one man advantage, they were to concede twice in the closing six minutes of the half.
Another new player Garry WOOD made it 2-2 from the penalty spot after Ryan Broadhurst fouled him in the box and amazingly yet another summer signing Graeme RODGER, formerly Deveronvale, put his side ahead for the second time with a great goal, two minutes from half time.
Substitute keeper Anderson was only on the park for just over half an hour and was next to go for an early shower after taking out Charlesworth with a rash challenge. Martin BAVIDGE made it 4-3 with the spot kick conversion beating Michie who was now in goals. Bavidge had squared it up with a header seven minutes earlier, looking suspiciously offside.
Formartine piled on the pressure, a shot running along the line and coming off the inside of the post, Mitchell atoning for his earlier own goal and the home defence standing up to the onslaught.
This was a game where the action never relented, McLean having the chance to make it 5-3 before making way for Mark Souter to a standing ovation.
Inverurie Locos: Mathieson, Mitchell, Maitland, Begg (Laing 58), Forsyth, Broadhurst, Charlesworth, McLean (Souter 84), Leyden (McCabe 90+1), Bavidge, Iain Vigurs (T)
Subs: Keir, Crisp, McCaffrey
Formartine United: Reid, Michie (French 66), Smith, McKeown, Crawford, Lawson, Rodger, S Anderson (Keith 84), Gauld (P Anderson 29), Wood, Barbour
Subs: Dingwall, Jeffrey, Axten, Berton