After meeting three times in as many weeks, these teams must be sick of the sight of each other by now but it would be fair to say that having been defeated in each of them, Turriff are likely to be the sicker of the two. Of the three encounters one was on league business, another for Aberdeenshire Shield but this was the big one, in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Formartines reward for victory in a very hard fought match is what, on the face of it, seems an eminently winnable home tie against East Stirlingshire.
Given the familiarity that each side has with the others style and capabilities a close encounter was to be expected but this one looked like it would be even tighter than the previous two and given what was at stake both financially and in terms of local bragging rights the referees task would be to put it mildly, challenging. In the event, the highly experienced Lorraine Watson handled the game with an admirable level of calm authority. Turriff have come incrementally closer to getting a result in each encounter but Formartine each time showed that they had just that crucial extra bit of creativity and dare it be said, class. In that sense this game met expectations and Archie MacPhees very late winner was all that prevented a fourth encounter in the form of a replay at The Haughs.
Turra started determinedly and set out their stall to take the game to Formartine and although they could not be described as dominating the opening exchanges, they made a brighter start than they had in the previous two and at the very least made Formartine look a bit slow out of the blocks. Formartine managed one foray into Turriff territory when Smith played in Barbour who cutting in from a rather acute angle on the right managed to offload a decent enough shot that looked like it caught some sort of deflection on its way past Mains right upright. Turriffs threat was shown when a ball cleverly flighted into the box by Booth only eluded by a tiny margin the boot of Myers as he powered his way to a central point of the box.
Before Formartine could be said to have settled, they were a goal adrift the result at least as much of defensive error on their part as attacking prowess on Turriffs. A slip out left of the box and ten yards or so from the goal line by Lawson let MILLER through into the box where a hemipygic tackle by Stuart Anderson failed to halt the forwards progress before he slipped the ball into the net beyond the left hand of MacDonald.
That 5th minute opener served to raise the tempo significantly and what ensued thereafter fulfilled all the cliches about cup tie football as play swung from end to end and Formartine battled to get the upper hand. In the 16th minute captain Cammy Bowden limped off to be replaced by Chalmers a situation that meant that neither side could call on the services of their normal centre half. This could not have helped the Turriff cause but their appetite for the fray was undiminished and the fervent pace of play continued unabated. In the 18th minute a cunningly timed ball from deep by S.Anderson was picked up by Lawson who flighted it into the path of Barbour buzzing in from the left. He did well to shake himself free from the attentions of Botell and Chalmers before rattling off a stonking drive that Main managed to punch to safety.
Formartine pressure was rising and Turriff were being asked to work harder and harder with each passing minute. A scorching low drive by Ferries was only an inch or two on the wrong side of Mains right upright and an equaliser looked to be on the cards. In the end it came from a set piece. MacPhee struck a free kick thirty yards out and roughly in line with the left corner of the box and sent the ball curling left to right over most of the Turriff defenders where a few yards shy of the back stick, Jevan Anderson nudged it into the path of wing back SMITH who drove the ball over the line from close range in the 34th minute.
Turriff could see the dangers posed by Barbour and MacPhee and did what they could to cut off their source of supply, but were only partially successful in that endeavour. A loopy over the top ball by the latter had Main struggling not only to make the save but preventing the ball reaching the former who was yapping at his heels following in on the shot. A Burnett header was hastily cleared by McBride but the best chance that came before the break fell to MacPhee who, one on one with Main and less than twenty yards out, uncharacteristically lofted the ball well over the bar.
The second half was contested tooth and nail, a little less end to end in character with a number of nippy wee individual battles going on in midfield but with enough goal mouth action to sustain interest. In the 56th minute Rodger broke through into the box to get on the end of a dink from Barbour following a free by Anderson. He caught the ball side footed on the volley and forced Main into a full stretch dive to tip the ball away. MacKenzie just beat Barbour to the rebound and lumped the ball into the crowd. Five minutes later Smith worked his way right down the left flank to supply MacPhee whose fierce driven shot was blocked by McBride and a Ferries clipped shot went very close to Mains right upright as Formartine began to get their noses in front in terms of territory and possession but the game still evenly enough poised for substitutions to have major strategic significance Lawrence replaced Burnett in the 73rd minute and manager Lawson withdrew himself from his first competitive game in a couple of months or more to make way for Sam Robertsons debut and Mackintosh too joined the fray. Turriff swapped Booth for Allan at the same time but it looked like the managerial nous of Lawson and Anderson got just the better of that of Jack and Roy and the consequence of the substitutions meant that the fresh legs for Formartine just trumped those of Turra. United continued to press and to spread the ball about wide and fast but it took until the 91st minute of elapsed time for the deadlock to be broken.
Rodger won a wee battle in midfield and made off with the ball. MacPhee started his run on his left and as they neared the box Rodger threaded the ball perfectly between defenders to reach MacPHEE who advanced a few yards with the ball before cooly flipping it past the keepers right hand and into the net to seal victory.
Formartine United: MacDonald, Dingwall, Smith, J.Anderson, Burnett (Lawrence 73), Lawson (Mackintosh 73), Rodger, S.Anderson, Ferries (Robertson 81), MacPhee, Barbour, Subs: Robertson, Michie, Mackintosh, Lawrence, Berton, McKeown.
Turriff United: Main, Cairns, McBride, Botell (Nowosielski 81), Bowden (Chalmers 16), MacKenzie, Booth (Allan73), Ross, Myers, Miller, Flett. Subs: Allan, Chalmers, Reid, Walker, Ironside, Nowosielski.