Evening Express

Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup: Banks o’ Dee’s delight as they beat Inverurie Locos to land game against Aberdeen

Jack Henderson celebrates making it 2-1 to Dee. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Banks o’ Dee co-manager Jamie Watt was thrilled after his side blew away Inverurie Locos to set-up a tie with Aberdeen Reserves in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup second round.

After a 4-1 win in the semi-final of last season’s Aberdeenshire Shield at Harlaw Park, junior outfit Dee bettered that with a 5-1 win over the Highland League side in Garioch last night.

Watt was delighted his Superleague champions once again got the better of a team from the tier above for a chance to play Paul Sheerin’s Dons, with a date and venue for the tie still to be announced.

The veteran striker, who didn’t come on last night, said: “I said to them before the game, we’ve been building for two years and over that two years you’ve seen a big progression in our team.

“We’ve been taking out Highland League teams for two seasons and probably don’t get the credit we deserve, because we’re a really good team.

“We no longer come into these games fearing it, but expecting to win.”

Dee dominated the first half. On 25 minutes the creative Michael Phillipson stung Andy Reid’s palms twice, first with a free-kick then a 25-yard drive.

Jack Henderson also made a mess of a couple of one-on-ones with Reid, his timid efforts not troubling the goalie.

Against all odds, one minute before half-time, Locos nicked the opener from the penalty spot.

Young Alisdair Shrive collided with striker Chris Angus, and Neil Gauld hit the spot-kick low, left and away from Andrew Shearer.

It was a blow which would have flattened most sides but, after the break, Dee started turning their good play on the lush Harlaw Park pitch into something tangible.

Almost immediately, Henderson made up for his misses by slotting an equaliser past Reid.

Then, on 65 minutes, he was put through by Luke Barbour and slid the ball past Reid into the left bottom corner.

Locos’ Greg Mitchell stung Shearer’s palms from just inside the area with 20 left.

However, more good work from Henderson on the byeline saw the ball hit Reid and fall to Barbour, who smashed home to make it 3-1.

It was 4-1 soon after, in spectacular fashion. A floated ball into the area bounced around the box, and centre-back Greg Alexander took it on his chest and hit an overhead kick into the far top corner from 15 yards.

After Joe McCabe spurned a chance to get it back to 4-2, Dee substitute Lachie MacLeod curled a sumptuous 88th-minute strike across goal into the right corner from just inside the box to make it 5-1.

Of his side’s refusal to be bowed by the late penalty sucker-punch in the first half, Watt said: “How we went in there 1-0 down was beyond belief.

“And how the ref gives a pen when he’s 50 yards away, I found it hard to believe.

“We had a stonewaller (Dee claimed handball) the linesman gives but was waved away.

“But we had a lot of chances and they just needed to up the tempo and keep playing the same way.

“The second half we were clinical. The fourth and fifth goal were unbelievable. A centre-back who came back from a two-week holiday and we were wondering if he was fit to play, and he swivels and puts it in the top corner.”

Locos boss Neil Cooper said: “(I’ve) no complaints whatsoever, I said to the boys at half-time we were lucky to go in 1-0 up.

“But we didn’t compete from the word go.

“Same as last year.

“If we don’t work as hard as last year we’ll start going back the way.

“We move on to the next game and we see what type of team turns up.”