The long trip to Wick was rewarded with 3 points for Locos who were made to work hard for the points after a Richard Macadie penalty set up a nervy final 20 minutes and Harmsworth Park.
Goals from Garry Wood and Jay Halliday put the Railwaymen in control and Nathan Meres saw his shot strike the underside of the bar but the hosts, who had threatened little prior to the spot kick, were sparked into life by their goal.
Locos started the game well, spending long periods deep inside the Academy half but didn’t muster a first real effort at goal until a 20th minute Calum Dingwall free kick that was comfortably dealt with by Graeme Williamson. The visitors took the lead shortly afterwards though after some quick thinking from Greg Mitchell. The skipper slipped a quick free kick into the right hand side of the box for Robert Ward who squared for Wood to finish calmly.
Williamson prevented the lead being doubled immediately when Lloyd Robertson played an inch perfect pass for Ward to run onto, the keeper saving well. It was then the Scorries turn to threaten as Harry Hennem fired narrowly over the bar in a warning to Locos that the home side did carry a threat.
The cushion of a second goal that Locos have struggled to find on occasion this season, came after 26 minutes, Halliday turning sharply on the edge of the box before firing low past Williamson.
Both teams were forced into early substitutions with Craig Gill replacing Mitchell who had been unable to run off an early knock. For Wick, Cameron Montgomery pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was replaced by Mark Munro.
Andy Reid did well to turn a Ryan Campbell effort around the post and the half ended with Richard Macadie hitting a free kick straight at the Locos stopper.
Locos showed in midweek that a game isn’t won at 2-0 and they set out to extend their league early in the opening period. Meres’ effort beat Williamson but hit the crossbar, bouncing down just the wrong side of the line. Halliday then played a nice ball behind the home defence for Taylor Thain – a half time replacement for Robertson, who also appeared to have picked up a knock – whose shot from a tight angle was saved.
In the 70th minute, Richard Macadie’s penalty gave Wick some hope after Munro went down under pressure from Meres as he raced to keep up with the winger. The goal set up a tense finale. The hosts got into some good positions and Reid was called upon to save from Ross Allan and Ryan Campbell fired over. At the other end Ward and substitute Fergus Alberts both brought fairly routine saves from Williamson.
This was a hugely welcome win for Locos. On another day they could have been out of sight before Wick pulled one back, but equally could have conceded late on. That would have made for a very different journey home for those hardy supporters who had made the long trip. Instead they were able enjoy a first win in six games, built on a very confident first half. Locos didn’t have it all their own way in the second but will be hoping this result will mark a change in form. That hope will be tested in the rearranged Aberdeenshire Shield tie at Keith in midweek before neighbours Huntly visit Harlaw Park next Saturday.
Wick Adademy: Williamson, Hughes, Manson, Allan, Anderson (Mackay), Richard Macadie, Ryan Campbell, Hennem, Sean Campbell, Mark Macadie, Montgomery (Munro) Unused Subs: Aitkenhead, More
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell (Gill), Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, Wood (Alberts), Halliday, Meres, Robertson (Thain) Unused Subs: Michie, Petermann, Farquhar