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Huntly 1 – 2 Locos

GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup

Locos came through this tricky tie to secure a first win of the season and set up a GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup first round meeting with Rothes.

The Railwaymen came into the game off the back of two very disappointing results and there were a number of changes – some enforced – to Andy Low’s starting 11. There were first starts of the season for Blair Smith and Jay Halliday and a debut for new signing Paul Coutts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given he was playing in League One in England last season, Coutts was excellent in his first outing but it was Halliday and Smith whose first half goals gave Locos the win.

It was the hosts who had the first effort at goal but Michael Dangana’s effort was comfortable for Andy Reid. Fraser Hobday was then called into action at the other end, getting down well to turn Lloyd Robertson’s low effort behind. The game was quite open and Locos made the breakthrough with 10 minutes on the clock. Jamie Michie’s delivery from the right was nodded on by Lloyd Robertson towards the far post where Halliday got in front of the defender to fire home. Reid had to be alert to keep out another Dangana shot shortly afterwards as the contest continued to flow.

On the half hour, Ross Still equalised for the hosts, heading home a corner from the left hand side. Given the start Locos have had to the season, there may have been concerns about how they would react to conceding but parity didn’t last long though as Locos scored what would prove to be the winner just a few minutes later. A quick break forward saw Lloyd Robertson feed brother Sam down the right. His cross found Smith in a similar position to that from where Halliday had opened the scoring and the youngster made no mistake with the finish.

Five minutes before the break, Huntly had a golden opportunity to level once more but Ryan Sewell could only head across goal having been picked out in space at the far post. After the break, both sides continued to look for goals. Andy Hunter shot straight at Reid before Halliday got in behind the home defence but couldn’t get enough power on his volley to trouble Hobday. Clear chances became fewer but, as they chased the game, Huntly were getting plenty of balls into the Locos box with Dangana and Robbie Foster a threat down the flanks.

Locos held firm though and maintained a threat in transition. Dem Yunus broke forward moments are coming on as a substitute but his pass across the box was just out of reach of Halliday. As the game went on, it looked increasingly like Huntly’s best chance of getting back into it would come from another set piece but a succession of corners well well defended by Locos.

This felt like an important victory after the opening two fixtures. It couldn’t be claimed to be a flawless performance but the victory was merited against a team who have been a bit of a thorn in Locos’ side of late and who have made a good start to the season. These two teams meet again at Harlaw Park in the Highland League next week but before they do Locos host Formartine United on Wednesday evening.

Huntly FC

1Fraser Hobday
2James Connelly
3Lyall Booth
5Michael Clark
6Ross Still 30'
7Robbie Foster
8Ryan Sewell 11
9Andy Hunter
12Cameron Heslop 22
16Brodie Allen 10
19Michael Dangana
4Kyle Dalling
10Angus Grant 16
11Callum Murray 8
14Joe Gauld
15Alex Thoirs
17Colin Charlesworth
21David Nyembwe
22Lewis Crosbie 12
23Kyle Morrison

Inverurie Loco Works

1Andy Reid
2Jamie Michie 17
3Josh Buchan 15
4Greg Mitchell
5Mark Souter
6Glen Donald
7Blair Smith 14 33'
8Paul Coutts
9Sam Robertson
10Lloyd Robertson 13
11Jay Halliday 16 10'
13Dem Yunus 10
14Cole Anderson 7
15Logan Johnstone 3
16Callum Duncan 11
17Thomas Reid 2
23Zack Ellis