Locos secured their first Highland League win of the season thanks to a five star display against Strathspey Thistle. This result was perhaps expected but with the visitors also in search of their first victory, the opening goal was always going to be crucial and the Railwaymen couldn’t have asked for a better start when Greg Mitchell put them ahead with just 3 minutes on the clock. Sam Robertson’s low ball in from the right found the captain whose first effort was well saved by Callum Ligertwood but Mitchell to slot home the rebound.
Michael McKenzie had an immediate opportunity to draw his team level but dragged his shot wide. Locos were keen to extend their lead and Ligertwood was called upon to deny Jay Halliday and Sam Robertson. The Jags weren’t without their moments though, Allan Kerr heading one of several first half corners for the visitors just off target before Zack Ellis tipped Kane Davies’s free kick over the bar.
There was a definite sense that one goal wouldn’t be enough and there was clear relief when Locos opened up a two goal advantage. Sam Robertson played an inch perfect ball to brother Lloyd, who cleverly lifted the ball over the keeper. The lead was extended further just a minute into the second half. Ligertwood was again unfortunate as he reacted well to keep out a sliced Jack Davidson clearance only to see the ball fall kindly for Nathan Meres to nod in Locos third of the afternoon. It’s been a while since the atmosphere inside Harlaw Park was so positive, aided by the Ladies Day hospitality guests who were delighted to see their favourite get on the scoresheet.
That goal ended any hopes Thistle had of getting back into the game and Locos continued to play positive football. More goals seemed inevitable and the fourth duly arrived with a little over 20 minutes remaining. Sam Robertson’s ball from the left reached Blair Smith beyond the far post. He played the ball back for Meres to sweep home his second goal of the game, much to the delight of the ladies in the main stand.
With both sides making multiple substitutions, the rhythm of the game was slightly disrupted in the latter stages but there was still time for more drama. Ten minutes from time, just about everybody, including the visiting players it seemed, were somewhat surprised to see the referee point to the penalty spot after Logan Johnstone had appeared simply to put the ball behind as Davidson tried to reach the ball following an Ellis save. However, after consultation with his assistant, the decision was changed and a corner awarded. Five minutes later, substitute Cole Anderson added further gloss to the scoreline, firing in across the goalkeeper after being teed up by Meres, to net his first goal in fire and coal.
Nobody at Locos will get carried away with this result; there has never been anything other than a home win in this fixture, but with the way the season has gone so far nothing was being taken for granted before kick off. Jamie Watt will be delighted with the way his players approached the game and the focus they showed having got themselves in front early on. Dyce visit Harlaw Park in the Aberdeenshire Shield on Wednesday evening before Locos face Lossiemouth away from home ten days later.