INVERURIE Locos surged into third position after a hard fought 2-1 victory over champions Cove Rangers in what was the first meeting of the sides this season and the result certainly swept away the blues for the visitors after a seven goal hiding in the corresponding game last season.
Stand in centre half Mark Souter went close for Locos early on with a header from an in-swinging corner by ex-Cove favourite Jordan Leyden, Craig Reid saving well. At the other end poor marking let Connor Scully in but Andy Reid was out to make a great save.
Cove looked odds on to score when Blair Yule homed right in on goal, his initial shot led to a scramble and Yule firing the rebound over. But this was end to end stuff, John Maitland curling a sweet left foot free kick on to the top of the crossbar.
Locos went ahead in 27 minutes, Maitland the free kick supplier, Dean DONALDSON taking a touch then ramming home from close range.
Right on half time Cove were wasteful again, former Loco engine room man Clark Bain’s shot coming off Ryan Broadhurst for a corner, it was quickly taken and Jamie Lennox was the next sinner in front of goal.
Martin Bavidge went close for Locos in 56 minutes with a header, captain Neil McLean supplying the cross but in 62 minutes it was 2-0, Craig Reid left beaten all ends up by Jamie MICHIE’S low free kick from 25 yards out nestling in his right corner. The award was after a silly free kick conceded by Eric Watson.
There was a fine save from Andy Reid to foil Cove midweek scoring hero Johnny Smith while Neil Gauld, who was through one-on-one, produced a tame shot which looked more like a pass to Craig Reid.
The champions were back in it with fourteen minutes to go, sub Ryan Stott playing the hard hit square ball across goal, fired home by home captain Eric WATSON from close range.
Locos soaked up the late onslaught, Bain going very close, a claim for a spot kick and Andy Reid diving at the feet of Stirling Smith to foil the left back.
Cove Rangers: C Reid, Walker, S Smith, Yule, Watson, Perry, Clark, Bain, J Smith, Lennox, Scully
Subs: Stott, Webster, Selfridge McBain, Sim
Inverurie Locos: Reid, McLean, Maitland, Begg, Souter, Broadhurst, Leyden, Mitchell, Gauld, Bavidge, Donaldson
Subs: Hunter, Young, Still, Michie. Mathieson.
Referee: M Pirie
This Saturday, Locos kick off the month of March with a home meeting with Lossiemouth. Kick off is at 3pm.