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Deveronvale began the match in style as they opened the scoring within two minutes. As the crowd were still making their way into the ground, Craig Simpson did well to hold up ball on the edge of box after the breakdown of their opening attack. Surrounded by the Locos defence, his low pass back across the box sat perfectly for the oncoming Graeme Rodger to drive the ball into the net from the penalty spot.

Locos found themselves an instant response as Martin Bavidge timed his run well to get onto the perfectly weighted pass from midfield. Having beaten the offside trap, Bavidge found himself with only the keeper to beat, but was eventually out done by a heavy touch that allowed keeper Fyfe to close down and smother his eventual effort.

Deveronvale then doubled their lead after 18 minutes with another breathless counterattack, tearing the Locos defence apart. Credit must go to Charlesworth, whose pace down the left flank saw the winger run to the byline before cutting back across goal for Sean Keith to tap in from six yards out.

Inverurie then set about reducing the deficit as tempers began to flare, seeing plenty of lectures from the referee and a couple of bookings. Using the passion to their advantage, Inverurie closed to within one as Jordan Leyden worked his magic on the left wing before crossing deep to find the towering figure of Martin Bavidge at the back post to head into the roof of the net.

The match then momentarily calmed as play stopped due a serious shoulder injury to Greg Mitchell after a 50/50 with Charlesworth, seeing Daniel Crisp come on in his place.

The game should have been tied on the stroke of half time as Andy Hunter was presented an incredible opportunity after a deep Laing cross to the back post, unfortunately for Hunter, his inability to get the ball out from his feet in a muddy six yard box saw the striker only able to direct the ball inches wide of goal.

After a quiet opening to the second half, things soon went form bad to worse for Inverurie as deadly Vale counter attack put the match firmly in the away side's hands. As Colin Charlesworth beat the Locos offside trap and advanced goal wards, a hesitation by Mathieson gave the winger the chance to play the ball round the keeper, only to be collected in a clumsy tackle which lead to a straight red card for Mathieson. Locos captain Neil McLean took on the keeper duties due to a threadbare bench, finding himself inches away from getting to Stuart Leslie's perfectly placed penalty as Deveronvale extended their lead back to two.

It didn't take long for Deveronvale to test their new opposition keeper, as Charlesworth grabbed a well deserved goal through a speculative 25 yard lob. Spotting McLean off his line, Charlesworth played the perfect ball to take it over the stretching keeper and dip in under the crossbar.

With the points firmly in Vale's grasp, Inverurie showed great fighting spirit as they continued to push on and were rewarded with an immediate response. Coming from a low Leyden pass through the centre of midfield, substitute Ryan Kier picked up the ball and composed himself well to round Rhys Fyfe on the edge of the box, and roll his shot into an empty net.

As time expired, Martin Bavidge came close to causing a very nervy final few minutes has he raced from midfield into a one on one with Fyfe, choosing to fire his shot towards the top corner, only for his shot to drift agonisingly high of the goal.

Reporter: Andrew Raffan

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Press and Journal Highland League 2016-17

Rank Teams Played GD Points
1 Buckie Thistle 34 94 82
2 Cove Rangers 34 79 82
3 Brora Rangers 34 80 81
4 Formartine United 34 35 73
5 Fraserburgh 34 29 63
6 Forres Mechanics 34 21 58
7 Turriff United 34 14 58
8 Wick Academy 34 23 53
9 Inverurie Locos 34 18 50
10 Keith 34 -14 47
11 Clachnacuddin 34 -24 41
12 Lossiemouth 34 -18 38
13 Nairn County 34 -17 34
14 Huntly 34 -43 34
15 Deveronvale 34 -24 30
16 Rothes 34 -69 26
17 Fort William 34 -92 11
18 Strathspey Thistle 34 -92 9

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