Harlaw Park, Highland Football League, 30/7/22
Entrance – £10
Pie – £6.50 Pie and Coffee
Pint – £3.80 Tennents, Locos Social Club
Inverurie Loco Works Football Club
Founded – 1902
Nickname – Locos
Senior Honours – Highland League Cup 2007/08 and 2008/09. Aberdeenshire Shield – 2003/04, 2013/14 and 2016/17. Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) 2004/05 and 2005/06
Random Fact – Despite the club being founded in 1902 the badge says 1903, the year of their first competitive match.
A bonus game as I was home from work early. No Wee Man or anyone to hang out with so a quick nip to Inverurie to catch a glimpse of The Dee in their maiden Highland League season. As I was heading over it got me thinking. Where is the second most visited ground for viewing in my life outwith Pittodrie (and I’ll rule out the Meadows in Ellon too as I played there forever inclusive of a year on the sidelines injured watching). I have no way of proving but it must be either the incoming Harlaw Park or North Lodge (Formartine United from when I followed them a bit when my mates played). North Lodge might just shade it but I will never know.
As I got out the car I realised I was very much over dressed for this. A combination of having a bit of the heeby jeebies as I had been travelling over night and had a good scoop waiting for my plane in Singapore plus I was shattered and thought I was cold. This added to the difference in weather between Oldmeldrum and Inverurie being huge. Turns out the Garioch capital was like a greenhouse.
On arrival at the Locos I went for an obligatory pint. In here topically I saw ex Locos Dave Cormie who was also manager of Formartine in the days I watched them a lot, mentioned above. Bringing back memories of his one liners he was renowned for on the touchline. One that sticks out is when a referee called in two players for a tussling off the ball “five and two” he shouted to which Cormie replied “seven”. Always good for a laugh.
The game was between two pretty even teams. Both in hoops which is quite rare to see or am i just making that up? The Locos probably shaded the first half and The Dee were the better in the second half. The first 15-20 minutes saw little in terms of goalmouth action and was more of a midfield battle. Stuffy like the weather in all honesty. But the Locos came into it more and the first clear cut chance saw them take the lead when Fergus Alberts was left in acres of space on the penalty spot to rise and thunder a header past the helpless Salmon in the Dee goal. The keeper was well within his rights to be furious with his defenders. Alberts had nobody around him in any direction for maybe three yards. The Dee were claiming handball and penalty not long after when a Mark Gilmour freekick seemed to hit the Locos mans hand. Given my own position had cant say for definite but it looked like it. Locos keeper Andy Reid was made to earn his money when he brilliantly tipped a Lachie MacLeod effort over. This was was to be equaled by his opposite number soon after when Callum Dingwall unleashed an effort which caused Salmon to leap across his goal to keep out expertly. Gary Wood was next up to be denied by the Dee keeper when he pulled a very good save out of the Dee number one. Dingwall was to find himself in the refs book after a high challenge moments later, this leading to Dee captain Winton also finding himself in the book for descent, this was to be the start of a high booking count for the game. The Locos had a couple of half chances before the half was out but failed to test Salmon
HT 1 v 0
The Dee started the half in a better fashion and were again cursing Reid in the Loco’s goal when he was rapid of his line to thwart the clean through Gilmour who was on the end of a swift counter attack. Reid was not finished frustrating Gilmour as he again was on hand to prevent the Dee frontman from a great position. The striker could have had a hattrick on another day but the Loco’s custodian was in fine form (clear man of the match in my eyes). The Aberdeen side kept going at the hosts and chief tormentor Magnus Watson was causing endless problems right in front of me on the right side. He is a class act to watch. Inevitably it was the tricky winger who grabbed the equaliser. His initial ball in was cleared finding him at the apex of the box, the ball was just asking to be hit, which he did, did it take a slight nick ? It did not matter as the ball nestled in Reid’s bottom right hand corner and it was all square. The game descended into a plethora of booking and I think there were five between the sides in which was actually testament to how the game was played as it was definitely competitive. In amongst the yellows Salmon was again called into action when he redirected a Dingwall freekick over the bar. Then again almost identically the match was closed out by Salmon tipping a Dingwall freekick over the bar again. A decent competitive serving from the best league in the world with two impressive displays from both sides keepers. A draw probably fair.
Me still 236