A Garry Wood hat-trick helped Locos storm to victory at Harlaw Park. Early and late goals from the striker bookended a much improved attacking display in what may prove to be the only game in charge for Richard Davidson and John Farquhar. With the search for a new manager underway, the interim pair had almost a full squad of players to choose from and made minor changes to the line-up. The returning Jay Halliday played alongside Wood in attack while Thomas Reid and Logan Johnstone changed roles at centre half and full back.
With barely a minute on the clock, Wood opened the scoring, glancing home a header from Calum Dingwall’s free kick from the left. The pressure of recent weeks already felt eased but the early goal really lifted the spirits of the home fans. The visitors responded well, Kyle Mackillop-Hall putting a free kick wide before a period of pressure saw them win a succession of corners. Having seen off that threat comfortably, Locos took control of the game. The lively Halliday saw his effort well blocked after good work from Wood on the right. Mark Souter was then unable to keep his header down from Dingwall’s corner before Dingwall himself stung the hands of visiting keeper Sean McIntosh with a half volley from 20 yards.
There was a sense that Locos should have been more than just a goal to the good at the break and such a narrow lead has proved difficult to maintain on occasions this season. Harry Noble had the first opportunity of the second half, firing narrowly wide at the end of a good move from the visitors. Locos began to assert control again though and the second home goal that was beginning to feel inevitable arrived with 26 minutes remaining. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Lloyd Robertson struck a fierce drive that took a deflection on its way past Gavin Still who had replaced the injured McIntosh in goal for the away team.
Confidence was really flowing now and the third goal came from the penalty spot, Wood finishing comprehensively after Robert Ward was clipped by Jayden Goldie. The big striker completed his hat-trick in the final minute, again getting on the end of a Dingwall free kick delivery. Still repelled the first header but Wood expertly guided the follow up inside the far post.
What a difference a week makes, the mood of the home support at the final whistle could not have been more of a contrast with last Saturday. The Locos played with freedom and made sure there were bodies in the opposition box at every opportunity. There will be tougher tests to come – not least at Buckie Thistle next week – but this result, and performance, would have done the world of good to the confidence of the squad. Whoever is in the dugout next Saturday, fans will be hoping for more of the same.
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, Wood, Halliday (Burnett), Meres (Petermann), Robertson (Smith) Unused Subs: Alberts, Thain, Gill, Shingler
Deveronvale: McIntosh (Still), Goldie, H Noble, Hay, Hamilton (Read), Bradford, Ormsby, Allan, Ballard, Watson, Mackillop-Hall (Dlugosz) Unused Subs: Bashua, Jam, Angus