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Inverurie Locos 0-3 Motherwell

By Keir Murray

John Sutton scores for Motherwell
Sutton scored a brace for Motherwell at Harlaw Park

Motherwell reached the last 16 of the Scottish Cup after a hard-fought win over Highland League Inverurie Locos at snow-covered Harlaw Park.

John Sutton headed Jim O'Brien's free-kick past Andrew Reid to put the Steelmen ahead after just 90 seconds.

Then O'Brien crossed for David Clarkson, six yards out, to head into the bottom corner of the net.

Sutton swept home O'Brien's cross for Well's third in 69 minutes to set up a home tie on Saturday with St Mirren.

With the lines painted orange, the rutted pitch withstanding fresh coatings of snow and the referee opting for a yellow ball, it was a colourful affair.

This fourth-round Homecoming Scottish Cup tie had fallen foul of the elements on four occasions, heightening the sense of anticipation among the Locos fans.

However, in just the second minute Locos' Scottish Cup dreams were shattered as Motherwell quickly adjusted to life without top scorer Chris Porter, who has joined Derby County.

O'Brien's free-kick, 25 yards out on the left wing, was weighted perfectly for Sutton to head the opener for the SPL side.

The Highland League outfit were without injured striker Kenny Coull, but after the early set-back Tommy Wilson pushed forward from midfield and hammered a left-foot shot from the edge of the box that Graeme Smith did well to hold.

Maros Klimpl had a shot flicked wide of Loco keeper Andrew Reid's left-hand post in the 12th minute before the game descended into a scrappy, error-strewn affair.

Despite that, Motherwell were in control of the first half and were seldom in danger of conceding amidst the intermittent blizzards.

Sutton had two chances to add to his tally but on both occasions the impressive Reid proved to be a stubborn obstacle.

First he raced from his line to narrow the angle and save Sutton's close-range shot, then on the stroke of half-time he parried the Englishman's powerful left-foot snap-shot into the freezing night air.

Neil McLean offered the Locos some encouragement at the start of the second period, lashing a shot just wide of Smith's post from the edge of the box.

But it was Motherwell who were on the scoresheet again when Clarkson raced into the six-yard box to profit from another excellent O'Brien cross.

Greig Pirie squandered the chance to bring Inverurie Locos back into the match when, unmarked, he headed Danny Milne's corner wide from six yards out.

Sutton grabbed his second and Motherwell's third from a few yards out when he swept home O'Brien's low cross from the right, which had evaded the home defence.

Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan came close to scoring with a long-range volley, but again Reid saved well.

Inverurie Locos manager Dave Cormie:

"Within a minute we had lost that early goal. Probably the reaction I got from my players for the next 44 minutes to bring it to half-time still at 1-0 was the most positive thing I could take out of the night.

"I thought if we could just create a wee chance we could just get on the end of something because it was horrific conditions for any defender.

"We couldn't get out our first third to give them a few problems in their last third.

"I'm proud that we didn't get an absolute thrashing. I think 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game, and for the Scottish Cup and for football, that was the right result.

"To have a good game of football you need good officials and I couldn't complain about the officials. Some of the tackles were meaty from both sides.

"I was looking for respect from Motherwell. Mark gave me that by putting the team out that he did."

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:

"We asked them to keep it as simple as they possibly could, not to complicate it, and they did.

"To get a goal as early as that was a real blow to them. The game wasn't over until we got the second goal. They worked so hard for each other. They competed well.

"The way we approached the game made it hard for them as we were solid behind the ball.

"I had every confidence in my team that we could go on and get another goal, particularly, I felt, as our fitness told.

"We are delighted to be in the next round. It was a lovely atmosphere around the place. The game was played in a good spirit."

Inverurie Loco Works: Andrew Reid, Park, Simpson, Buchan, Pirie, Ross (Tan 74), Wilson, Stewart, Smith, McLean (Graham 67), Gauld (Milne 50).
Subs Not Used: Crispie, Murray.

Booked: Pirie, Park.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell, O'Brien (McGarry 72), Klimpl (Darren Smith 69), Lasley, Fitzpatrick, Sutton, Clarkson (Murphy 61).
Subs Not Used: Krysiak, Malcolm.

Booked: Klimpl, Lasley.

Goals: Sutton 2, Clarkson 57, Sutton 69.

Attendance: 2,500

Referee: W Collum

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see also
Falkirk face Hearts test in Cup
11 Jan 09 |  Scottish Cups
Scottish fixtures hit by weather
10 Jan 09 |  Scottish Cups
Inverurie Locos 4-0 Vale 'Leithen
13 Dec 08 |  Scottish Cups

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