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INJURY-HIT LOCOS LAND CUP GLORY; INVERURIE LOCOS 3 COVE RANGERS 1.

Byline: JOHN MacLEOD reports

LETHAL Locos shrugged off an injury crisis to claim the Foster's Highland League Cup thanks to second-half strikes from Neil Gauld and Gary Nicol.

Newly-crowned Highland League champions Cove proved no match for Inverurie and ended the Christie Park clash with nine men after Kevin Tindal and Eric Watson saw red.

Neil McLean had fired Locos ahead before Barry Stephen replied but when Gauld netted early in the second half Inverurie never looked back. Locos boss Davie Cormie, winner of the SFA Challenge Cup with Huntly earlier this season, was delighted to taste glory with his new side.

He said: "It's a terrific end to a difficult season for us.

"The lack of numbers today actually helped us because the lads knew all week who was going to be playing.

"The game went exactly the way I thought it would.

I knew one goal was never going to be enough but Cove could have scored more than one themselves."

The final kicked off in a heavy downpour and the early flow of play was heavily in Inverurie's favour.

Locos were dominant and Gauld should have given them the lead from four yards before they hit the front after 25 minutes.

Craig Ross drilled the ball across goal and Gauld flicked on to McLean who turned his marker and fired home.

But Rangers were back on level terms five minutes from the break when Jamie Watt slipped the ball to Stephen and he skipped past two Locos defenders before drilling a great shot into the bottom corner.

Inverurie made a lightning start to the second half as Tindal hauled down McLean on the edge of the area and Gauld crashed a free-kick into the top corner.

Tindal was ordered off in the 59th-minute for a second yellow card before Nicol swept home from 12 yards to clinch the cup in 84 minutes.

Watson picked up a second yellow late on to end a miserable day for Cove.

Cove boss John Sheran said: "The better team won. The boys did their best but it wasn't to be."

CAPTION(S):

Cooking with Gaz: Nicol nets the vital third for Locos; Prize guys: Locos goal heroes Nicol and McLean
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 11, 2008
Words:369
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