Locos improvement under Dean Donaldson continued with an excellent win over Deveronvale thanks to a brace from Myles Gaffney and a stunning Nathan Meres finish. Not even Logan Johnstone’s first half red card could derail them as they made the most of a quick start.
Gaffney, who now has four goals for the club a week after netting his first, gave the home fans the goal they were craving with just 3 minutes on the clock. Greg Mitchell released Cole Anderson down the right and he picked out Gaffney who made no mistake from close range.
It was a lovely move and Locos continued to impress with their attacking play without causing Sean McIntosh too many problems in the Vale goal. It did feel like another goal was coming though, and it nearly arrived in spectacular fashion as Mitchell tried his luck from the halfway line with McIntosh out of his goal, only to drift wide.
The second goal did come shortly before the half hour mark and it didn’t disappoint, Meres turning and firing an unstoppable shot into the top right corner. The visitors had been gradually getting themselves into the game and the goal seemed to deflate them.
They were given hope when Johnstone, having been cautioned earlier for a foul, received a second yellow card for expressing his disappointment that the referee had awarded the visitors a throw in. Both cards seemed soft, particularly given the referee largely ignored other instances of dissent throughout the game.
The red card slightly tempered the optimism around Harlaw Park at half time but Locos made it clear after the break that their attacking intent would not be diminished. 8 minutes into the second half, McIntosh beat Gaffney to a long ball forward but didn’t connect with his attempted clearance. The striker ran onto the ball and, with two defenders for company, calmly found himself enough space to get his shot away and extend Locos lead.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was the men in fire and coal who continued to offer a goal threat. Jay Halliday’s drive was deflected over the bar before McIntosh twice denied Gaffney a hat-trick.
Vale kept plugging away but couldn’t test Zack Ellis until time added on when he turned away an effort at his near post.
This was another high energy performance that maintained an attacking threat throughout. Nobody at Harlaw Park will be getting carried away but the progress has been clear to see under Donaldson and this was a comfortable and entertaining win. Locos will look to continue their climb up the Breedon Highland League table at Clachnacuddin next week.