After league disappointment at Buckie three days before, United produced the best possible morale boost in brushing aside the challenge of a young Dons side to march into the final of the Aberdeenshire Cup. For the avoidance of any doubt it needs to be said that the Aberdeen team that contests the Shire Cup is what would be regarded as their Colts side. That said, it was still a team comprising young professionals, some already with top team experience, keen to breakthrough to regular places in a top level Premiership side. Drawn as the home side, Aberdeen conceeded ground rights to United and the game was played at North Lodge Park. Two highly impressive goals, a few minutes either side of the interval showed the fire power of the North Lodge men and laid the foundation for a notable and merited victory.
Almost inevitably the game started at furious pace: United setting many of the agendas but the youngsters quick and eager on the counter attack. The more experienced United offered a little more variety in their build ups and soon had a slight overall edge. In the 17th minute a flowing attack orchestrated by Park and Wood forced a corner and in the aftermath, Clark remaining up in the Dons box got his head to a second phase ball and rattled a header that had keeper Jackson at full stretch to push the ball away from the top corner.
The pace remained on the swift side of brisk and United continued to push and in the 19th minute Mackintosh breaking forward from deep managed a cross that Bollan did well to clear. Aberdeen were working hard to break from deep but the United midfield and back four were on song enough to contain or counter these moves quite early in their gestation. Experience was showing. A feed by McKeown to Park set the latter up for a shot that Jackson struggled to keep out before Ramsay hacked the ball clear in the 24th minute.
The pressure at either end ramped up further after the half hour mark and a header from McKeown under pressure from Bolan after a corner on the right by Anderson slipped just past. In the 39th minute Formartine made a deserved breaktrough with a well crafted goal. Rodger broke forward on the inside right channel and played the ball inside to Wood who timed its release to meet the run of LISLE who crashed the ball low and venomously hard into the right corner of the net.
Formartine maintained control, despite one of the Don’s flurry when a Ross shot after a Wright run was taken comfortably by Watson, until the interval.
They then started the second half with an absolute peach of goal. RODGER, who was the architect of the move that delivered the opening goal, demonstrated utterly sublime finishing skills in delivering the blow that blew the youngters hopes out of the water. Centre back Clark fed him the ball in midfield and he was off to teach his opponents a lesson in breaking down a defence. Taking the ball diagonally across the line of the back four he checked inside at the 18 yard line shimmied enough to make space to drop a shoulder and hammer the ball thunderously into the postage stamp corner.
The main issue was now whether the Dons had the character and experience needed to reverse the situation or whether United could hold what they had. Events proved the latter quite conclusively. Formartine maintained their grip on the game although by no means outclassing the visitors and had enough guile to see out the second half on their terms. Wright was instrumental in a couple of breakaways but never produced anything that seriously threatened the North Lodge rearguard. Park combined with Greig and McGowan to set up a couple of chances that tested the Dons defenders without adding to the margin of victory.
Aberdeen: Jackson, Ramsay, McKenzie, Chesser(Linden45), Bolan, Robertson Wright, Ross, (Shanks91), Anderson, Barron, Hanratty(Barry 78). Subs:Shanks, Barry, Dalling, Duncan, Dangana, Linden, Ritchie.
Formartine United: Watson, Mackintosh, Lawrence, Anderson, McKeown, Clark, Rodger, Strachan (Gethins75), Wood(Greig 66), Park, Lisle(McGowan66). Subs: Leyden, Greig, Lawson, Gethins, Main, McGowan.