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Looking to stamp their authority on the match early, Keith quickly tested Scott Mathieson through a low shot from Craig Cormack from the edge of the box. Failing to capitalise on their early momentum, the match then evolved into a midfield battle with neither side seemingly able to take control of the game.

It took until the 20th minute for the next opportunity to fall as Neil McLean worked the ball into the Keith box, only to be barged off the ball by a sturdy defence. As the Locos players claimed for a penalty, Keith quickly capitalised as they raced the up pitch and took the lead.

Moving swiftly thought the midfield, Donald Fraser timed his run perfectly to pick up a low pass and advance on goal. As Mathieson came off his line, Fraser coolly slotted the ball past the keeper and into the far corner of the goal.

Stunned, Inverurie took some time to regroup. A further ten minutes passed before the home side were able to threaten again with Martin Laing receiving the ball wide on the right flank before cutting in along the edge of the box. Spotting the keeper off his line, Laing fired in a dipping shot with Daniel Bell plucking the ball out the air as it threatened to dip under the cross bar.

As half time approached, Keith were unlucky not to double their advantage as Michael Ewen advanced through from midfield and away from the Locos defence. With just Mathieson to beat, Ewan curled his shot wide of goal, hitting the side netting.
Starting the half with momentum firmly in their favour, Keith set about securing the three points and moved two clear with their first attacking effort after the break.

Ryan Spink did well to open up the Locos defence as he sprinted down the left flank before crossing that ball low toward the penalty spot where Craig Cormack had the easiest of tasks to slot the ball past the scrambling Mathieson.

Desperate to stay in contention, Inverurie responded immediately, but Jeffrey's back post header from a Martin Laing cross had too much height, as the looping ball struck the cross bar before going over. Inverurie then rung in the changes with Greig Mitchell and David Ross bringing fresh legs to the midfield.

This had an instant impact as David Ross reduced the Keith lead within minutes of coming on. Neil McLean's corner had appeared to be over hit as it evaded the crowded box, but Ross was able to drop off the defence and drive the ball back low across goal and into the far corner.

The momentum of the match then swung between the teams as both sides generated chances, with Keith coming close as Michael Ewen's pacey run drew Mathieson off his line, only for his shot to be blocked by the towering keeper, with Donald Fraser blasting the rebound well over.

Locos should have heeded this warning, as Ewen's next visit to the box saw Keith restore their two goal advantage. Coming off a throw in, Ewen used his strength well to hold up the ball, then quickly turn and shoot past a stretching Mathieson.

Things then went from bad to worse for the home side as a frustrated Mark Souter saw red for a second bookable offence as he committed a clumsy challenge while on his final warning.

The match seemingly over, Inverurie provided one final spark as they clawed the Keith lead back to just one. Mike Selfridge produced an incredible solo run to evade several Keith defenders before producing the perfect chip to place the ball over Bell from 15 yards.

With time almost up, Locos looked to produce one final effort. In doing so, they managed to get caught up trying to deliver he ideal long ball into the box and gave away possession to Ewen, who gleefully picked up the ball and drove towards goal. Taking time to compose himself, Ewan calmly slotted the ball in from the edge of the box to wrap up the three points.

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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