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The match exploded into life in the opening five minutes as Dean Donaldson's run drew Clach keeper Aidan MacDonald out of the box before the keeper’s sliding challenge wiped out the Locos man.

Fortunate to have defenders around him, the referee judged the foul to be deserving of only a yellow card. The resulting free-kick saw Jordan Leyden bring a fine parrying save out of MacDonald to push his looping effort round the post.

As the players struggled to piece any meaningful periods of possession on an increasingly heavy pitch, Locos finally created a meaningful attack on 24 minutes as Donaldson burst down the right flank before feeding in Colin Charlesworth.

Spotting a cluster of Locos players in the box, Charlesworth cut the ball back to find Leyden, who placed his shot low, seeing MacDonald desperately attempt save but ultimately push the ball into his own net.

With the majority of the match continuing to take place in the middle of the pitch, Clach's only meaningful opportunity came through a long-range deflected effort, with Scott Mathieson judging the flight of the ball well to palm the ball clear of goal.

As half-time approached, Locos had Clach on the ropes as they delivered cross after cross deep into the box, struggling to make the vital connection to test MacDonald.

Their persistence almost paid off as Leyden supplied a teasing cross from the left, only for the ball to agonisingly fall out of reach for Andy Hunter's stretching effort.

Having received some half-time inspiration, Clach came out fighting an immediately had the Locos on the back foot as they forced the defence further down the field.

Mathieson produced an excellent reaction save as Clach bombarded the goal, eventually finding the perfect set-up to lay-off the ball to the oncoming Ian Penwright who drove his show low through a pack of oncoming Locos defenders to find the net and tie the game.

This was only to last a matter of minutes as Locos regained the lead after a clumsy shoulder charge on Charlesworth in the box, although the referee’s decision to consult the linesman led to significant protests from the Clach players.

With the players begrudgingly in position, Neil McLean took on the duties and calmly placed the spot-kick past the keeper to the right-hand side.

As the match neared its conclusion, Daniel Maclennan came agonisingly close to levelling the score as he drove in a low effort from the edge of the box, only to see Mathieson push the shot wide of goal with a low stretching save.

They were then made to rue this missed opportunity as Locos quickly advanced up the pitch.

Drawing the Clach defence out of position, Jamie Michie drove down the left flank before delivering a looping cross to the back post. Shaking off his defender, Donaldson found himself in a prime position to calmly tap his effort from a few yards out past the scrambling MacDonald.

In the final seconds, Locos capped off the victory with a personal highlight as Marc Young made his return to the side after a lengthy spell on the side lines following a broken leg.

Young made his impact as the clock ticked over to 90 minutes as he raced down the right flank before holding the ball up to play in Leyden.

A couple yards off the goal line, Leyden struggled to get the ball out from his feet as the defence looked to pull him back, until he eventually found a gap to poke the ball into the net.

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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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