Formartine pipped by the Locos

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INVERURIE Locos recorded their first Highland League victory over neighbours Formartine United but after going into a two goal lead had to endure a big fightback from Steve Paterson’s side.

Goals at both ends of the first half from Kenny Coull and Jack Strachan gave Locos the advantage into half time, however the lead was pegged back by a Ritchie Singer free kick and a fortunate Stuart Cumming effort. With the game looking likely to end at 2-2, Coull produced the vital late goal to clinch the victory.

Locos took just three minutes to break the deadlock with co-manager Kenny Coull firing in from a Jamie Michie corner. The floated cross looked to have been picked up by ex Locos keeper Stuart Gray, but with the ball slipping though his hands, Coull reacted first and followed up with a low shot, striking Ritchie Davidson on the line, before squirming into the goal.

As the match began to settle, Inverurie enjoyed the majority of possession and began to create chances, Jack Strachan featuring heavily. Strachan was unlucky with his first effort at goal on the half hour mark, seeing a Nicky Gordon cross pulled wide of the near post.

Strachan then forced an excellent reaction save from Gray from close range, after Maitland chased a long effort down the right flank, before cutting inside and chipping the ball into the path of the striker. Strachan bulleted his header on target, only for Gray to somehow get enough on the ball to tip it over the crossbar for a corner.

These missed opportunities were not to deter the Locos, and with five minutes remaining until half time, a long ball into the Formartine half set up the goal of the match. Chasing the ball as it made its way into the Formartine box, Jack Strachan chose to control it, cut inside Lewis Knight and coolly curl the ball across Gray from the corner of the six yard box and into the far top corner.

Formartine started the second half fired up, looking more comfortable with the ball. Having enticed Stuart Craib into a foul minutes earlier, Mark Smith once again drew a foul out from the Locos defence, lining up a free kick, 20 yards from goal. Former Locos man Ritchie Singer produced an outstanding free kick, curling his effort around the wall and into the far right top corner, leaving Andy Reid stationary.

Kenny Coull could have restored the two goal advantage just five minutes after Singer’s strike, but he was unable to keep his volley from a Neil Gauld cross down, instead putting his effort just over the crossbar.

Having seen Gray produce a brilliant save earlier in the match, Andy Reid was called upon to prevent Mark Simpson scoring from a Singer corner. With the ball swung in deep, Simpson was able to get enough power on his header to loop the ball towards goal, only for a stretching Reid to tip the ball over the bar.

Just 60 seconds later, Reid was not so lucky, with an error allowing Formartine to tie the game with 20 minutes remaining. Mark Smith worked his way down the left flank before chipping the ball into the box. Seeing an opportunity, Reid advanced off his line to collect the ball around the penalty spot, however, defender Stuart Cumming threw himself at the ball and was able to get to it first, clashing with Reid as his fortunate effort went into an open goal.

Looking to finish off the comeback and snatch a late winner, Formartine continued to press, allowing Locos to hit them on the counter attack. Although they were able to withstand this pressure, a defensive mix between Cumming and Knight saw Kenny Coull able to poke the ball between the defenders and advance on goal. Stuart Gray immediately rushed off his line to close down on Coull, but the Locos co-manager was able to pick his spot and curl the ball over the keeper into the net.

Formartine looked to level the scoring in the final minutes, Stuart Cumming fired a header over from a Singer corner. As the 90th minute approached Gardiner launched a long ball into the box, Ritchie Singer reacted first only for his innocuous effort to bounce past Andy Reid and strike the right post.

Locos: Reid, Craib (Christie 76), Michie, McKinnon, Adams, Broadhurst, A Maitland (R Maitland 84), Vigurs, Gordon, Coull, Strachan (Gauld 50) Subs: McIntosh, Park

Formartine: Gray, Cumming, Gardiner, Knight, Simpson, Urquhart, Smith, Singer, McKay, MacAulay, Davidson Subs: Coyle, Tait, Galley, McGuiness, Milne

A SPIRITED, yet reasonably well disciplined performance last week by Formartine ensured that Pele’s return to his old stamping ground was marked by a 2-1 victory that also extracted revenge for the defeat at North Lodge Park a fortnight ago.

The game started at a brisk tempo with both sides mixing direct route one stuff with fast pass and move football.

Formartine gradually imposed themselves more and more in terms of territorial advantage. Twelve minutes into the second period, the deadlock was broken with a fine header from Formartine’s Smith.

Despite Huntly pressure it was Formartine who went 2-0 up with a goal from Coyle.

Five minutes form time Huntly pulled one back after massive sustained pressure with Robertson muscling his way in at a corner and forcing the ball over the line.

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