Monday, 15 October 2012

Inverurie Loco Works 3 v 1 Fort William - 13/10/12

With it being Non League Day this past Saturday south of the border we decided on an impromptu visit to a Highland League match this weekend. The venue was Aberdeenshire town Inverurie (16 miles North West Aberdeen). The odd team name of the home side coming from being founded by the workmen of the then nearby railway company in 1903.

We arrived by car in search for a local bar and opted for Edwards Bar across the road from the Town Hall in the heart of the town which included a really nice collection of local beers and cask ales. A pre-match pint in we then made the short walk to Harlaw Park.

En route I took a quick trip down memory lane at the neighboring Colony Park (above) where a junior match was in full flow. We had 20 mins to spare, so joined a small crowd and caught the end of the first half of the match taking place. This was a park I had played at numerous times at Boys Club level over 10 years was nice to see not much had changed. The funny thing to see was that as the half time whistle blew we were not alone in leaving, as most of the crowd followed us across the road for the match at Harlaw Park.

It was here I received a shock to the system... ticket price £8.

Something that inspired this blog was our outrage at the cost of football for the quality of game in this country, and I feel that even at this level this is an issue. This said we had a fantastic time at Harlaw Park on Saturday.

I often find at the lower levels of football it is the little things that I get a kick out of and Inverurie was no different. Our entrance into the ground was immediately greeted by the half time draw stand where we joined in with the locals in hope for a halftime bonus and were able to pick up the team sheets for the day. This was great and let us pick out the players that were unknown to us as newcomers to the club.

Harlaw Park has a 2,400 capacity with one small seated stand (250 seats) up one side of the pitch and another small covered terraced stand up the other side of the pitch. It was here that we found ourselves with the main bulk of the home fans which put us right in the heart of in game banter between fans and players/officials.

The game underwent a 7am pitch inspection after heavy rainfall in the days before and early on it seemed to have an impact in the game with some heavy passes on both sides. Despite this the pace of the game was frantic with no player getting any time on the ball to create chances even if they wanted to. Once the crazy pace slowed a new pattern emerged...hit and hope! And the odd thing is that for Inverurie this tactic was all they needed. All successful moves came from punts up the wing, followed by hopeful crosses into the box. And it was no surprise to see the opening goal come from this exact move. A second soon followed for Locos and they went in at halftime unlucky not to be 4 or 5 up. The most notable chance came from stand out player Jamie Michie who despite appearing 2ft smaller than every player on the park continually impressed by winning balls he had no right in winning and on this occasion firing a bicycle kick goalwards only to be denied by a fine save from Fort William goalkeeper Iain MacLeod.

After a cold pie and bovril at halftime, that was never going to impress after last weeks award winning pies, it was back to much of the same, only this time Fort William had the benefit of attacking downhill. And it seemed to work with them creating 1 or 2 chances. It was however in controversial circumstances that Fort William clawed one back. A shot at goal was deemed to have been handled by Locos winger and a penalty was awarded. From where we were it looked a handball but we were then confused not to see a red card awarded if indeed it was. Regardless, the penalty was then slotted home to make the game 2-1.

From this point on however it was all Locos and the game was won with the move of the match. A free kick from the left was floated in to the far post, it was then headed back across goal for a simple tap in for Nicky Gordon.

A more than convincing 3-1 victory for the home side left the fans leaving happy and the away team with a frustrating 3 1/2 hour journey home.

Ticket - £8

Pie & Bovril - £3.10 (1/5 - Awful, cold pie)

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