A crazy local derby in which Cove Rangers twice held the lead and were twice behind ended with the Aberdeen side having the last laugh in a nine goal thriller with recent Cove signing Daryl Nicol grabbing four goals, as Locos lost 5-4.
Not only was this a bitter disappointment coming on top of a Scottish Cup exit, the defeat was capped by another serious injury to a key player, last season’s runaway top scorer Neil Gauld stretchered off with a serious ankle injury although his absence is not expected to be lengthy.
Early on the visitors were out of the blocks better, defender Darryl Kelly’s header from Michael Selfridge’s corner coming off the post
Cove went ahead in the 11th minute, NICOL latching on to a cutting through pass from Johnny Smith and curling his shot round Andy Reid into his left corner
Locos’ nerves were eased in 19 minutes when former Cove forward Jordan Leyden accelerated away on the left, his hard hit cross was first timed into the net by right winger David ROSS.
NICOL was to waste little time in firing his team back in front, his 22 yard free kick from the left angle beating Reid all ends up as it flew into his top corner.
Four minutes later the scores were back level at 2-2, Neil GAULD cutting in from the right and ramming his shot firmly into Sandy Wood’s right corner.
This was turning into a goal fest, every one a cracker. Locos got in front for the first time in 34 minutes, a superb five man passing move involving John Maitland, Leyden, Scott Begg and Dean Donaldson finished off by GAULD guiding his effort first time away from the reach of Wood. The scores were tied at 3-3 just before the interval, this time Smith’s chipped pass found Daniel Park, his cross was met by NICOL whose chested attempt was saved by Reid but the 24 year old electrician composed himself to force home the rebound.
Strikers on fire, defenders posted missing again just after the hour, ROSS reacting quickest to make it 4-3 again on the rebound after Gauld’s shot came off the post.
Shocking home defending let Cove back in for another equaliser, NICOL this time grabbing a scrappy goal, Reid coming out for a floated cross he was not looking likely to win.
There was no doubting the quality of the winner, three minutes into injury time, ex Don Chris Clark crossing from the left, sub striker Jamie McALLISTER’S header from close range going in off the underside of the bar.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Mitchell, Maitland, Begg (Young 86), Anderson, Broadhurst, Ross, McLean, Gauld (Michie 72), Donaldson, Leyden. Subs: Forsyth, Keir, Bavidge, Matheson
Cove Rangers: Wood, Duff (McAllister76), Clark, Yule, Kelly, Webster, Park, Scully, Smith (Watt 76), Nicol, Selfridge (Watson 65). Subs: Stephen, Burnett, Mathers, Kinnaird
Referee: T Shaw