Wick Academy emerge with victory over Locos after late drama at Harmsworth Park
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Wick Academy manager Gary Manson said his team "defended brilliantly" in Saturday's dramatic 2-1 Highland League victory over Inverurie Locos.
In an incident-packed final 10 minutes at Harmsworth Park, Inverurie's Thomas Reid cancelled out Marc Macgregor's first-half opener and the visitors were then awarded a soft penalty only for Wick keeper Graeme Williamson to pull off a superb save. Academy secured all three points when Rob McLean headed home his first goal for the club in stoppage time.
The result lifted Academy back to 12th in the table, while Locos remain in the bottom three.
Manson said: "I've said to the boys in the last couple of weeks, there are different ways to win football games. I've been drumming that into them.
"You don't always have to go and dominate the ball, dominate territory, dominate shots on target. Sometimes you can sit in and hit on the counter, score goals from corners, like we did today, and win the game.
"That's exactly what we did and we defended brilliantly. Certainly in the first half they never broke us down at all. They were trying little through balls but it wasn't coming off so we were quite comfortable.
"They had a lot of the ball but they weren't hurting us. I think we did deserve it.
"We've got another home game on Saturday [against Huntly] so we'll be looking for points to move up the table."
Academy made the breakthrough on 34 minutes after a long-range effort by Richard Macadie brought a fingertip save from Inverurie keeper Zack Ellis.
The resultant corner was taken short and a slick move ended with Macgregor diverting the ball into the net from close range.
Locos equalised with eight minutes remaining. Substitute Jamie Michie lofted a free kick into the box and Reid met it first time, slotting it past Williamson at the near post.
It looked ominous for Academy when Locos were awarded an 87th-minute penalty. Referee Owen Lawrence was adamant he had spotted an Inverurie player being pulled back after another free kick was delivered into the box.
Substitute Myles Gaffney struck the spot-kick well, but Williamson flung himself to his right to push it round the post.
The Scorries took full advantage of that let-off as they grabbed the winner with 91 minutes on the clock. Sponsors' man of the match Ross Gunn swung in a corner from the right which was met by a towering header from McLean for his first Academy goal.
Inverurie's new manager Dean Donaldson was philosophical about the turn of events at Harmsworth Park which saw the visitors leave empty-handed after having a chance to take a 2-1 lead when they were awarded an 87th-minute penalty.
Graeme Williamson kept out Myles Gaffney's spot-kick and Wick went on to grab all three points when Rob McLean headed in from a corner in stoppage time.
"I think that's the beauty of football – that's why we all love it so much," said Donaldson, who moved from Turriff last month after the Harlaw Park club parted company with Andy Low.
"There are times you just have to take your medicine and say it's not your day – sometimes the football gods are just not for you.
"As the game went on I was actually proud of my players, how they played, how they moved the ball. Yes, we could have maybe done it a little quicker, but at the same time you've got to start somewhere and we have a process to start building.
"Win or lose today, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we're starting to play with a style that we want to play. Everybody could see it was there.
"I'm still pleased. Fair play to Wick, they dug in and they got the win. But I've got to look after Inverurie Locos.
"We need to take it on the chin and move on. As long as they keep being brave, and keep trying to play the way that we want to play, we'll be fine.
"Listen, better managers than me have gone into Inverurie and got it wrong. It's a challenge, so we just need to accept it and see how we get on."
Highland League results: Banks O' Dee 2, Fraserburgh 0; Brora Rangers 3, Forres Mechanics 2; Clachnacuddin 0, Rothes 1; Deveronvale 0, Brechin City 4; Huntly 0, Formartine United 1; Nairn County 2, Turriff United 1; Wick Academy 2, Inverurie Locos 1.
Highland League fixtures for Saturday, November 11: Brechin City v Clachnacuddin; Formartine United v Brora Rangers; Forres Mechanics v Banks O' Dee; Fraserburgh v Nairn County; Inverurie Locos v Buckie Thistle; Lossiemouth v Keith; Strathspey Thistle v Deveronvale; Turriff United v Rothes; Wick Academy v Huntly (3pm).