The Formartine starting eleven for this league game showed seven changes in either personnel or position from the one that started Saturday's Cup tie against Glenavon. How many of these were the consequence of necessity and how many the result of management strategy can only be guessed at, but the overall result was a stuttering performance where they did enough to overcome the spirited resistance of a largely youthful home side without ever showing the sustained power of the pass and move football that they have been able to produce against teams of a similar stature and experience as Turra. They got a narrow win and seldom looked in any serious danger of failing to collect all three points but for a team to have 60% or more of the possession, the single goal margin of victory was almost embarrassingly slender. However with significant changes in defence, midfield and up front one might say that in such circumstances no victory is to be sneezed at.
Formartine started aggressively and showed that they could shift the ball quickly from back to front. Lawrence fed it down the line to Greig on the left flank and he struck it hard across the box but just too high to meet the leap of McGowan and for the first ten minutes or so this was United's preferred route to the home goal area. However it didn't take long for Owen Kinsella to find ways to block Greig's progress and increasingly the winger rather than risk trying to get past the defender and lose the ball in the process opted to lay it off earlier and was consequently less productive. On the other side, Park who saw a little less of the ball than Greig, fared slightly better against the other Kinsella and managed some fairly dangerous looking crosses from the right. None did enough to provide a direct chance for either of the front pair of McGowan and Gethins but each stretched the defence enough to make it work hard to clear. Gethins had two or three decent sights of goal. One in the 14th minute when he got on the end of an early cross from Greig and hit the ball on the volley from near the front right corner of the box was dipping as it went just over the top. Another went wide, while Hobday took a third low to his right.
Turriff had one or two moments in the first twenty minutes including a drive from Ward that looked net bound until it deflected past Main's left post for a corner. After 30 minutes, Formartine were definitely calling the shots and without ever having Turra completely hemmed into their own final third, they still hit them with more and more attacks. However it took until almost half time to get the crucial goal. A 44th minute break down the right by Park was completed with a ball into the box that foxed Copland and Smith and only partially cleared into a no-man's land just beyond the box. Strachan managed to slot the ball through a gap for RODGER who advanced a step or two before drilling it home hard and low into the net from about 12 yards out.
Initially United looked like they would push on from there in the second half and had plenty of possession and territorial advantage, but they were stuttery and final balls went “aft agley”. The best chances came early: in the 53rd minute a bombardment of the home goal saw a Greig drive saved at full stretch by Hobday before Rodger's
crack at the rebound came back off the woodwork. In the 68th minute a Ewen break through the middle after miscommunication in the United ranks let him run in one on one with Main but his 18 yard shot went just wide. The North Lodgers did enough to deserve their win. It was never pretty and there was always the danger of a mistake costing dear but it was a very useful three points.
Turriff United: Hobday, O.Kinsella, L.Kinsella, Copland, Smith, Chalmers, Stuart, Norris (Reid 77), Ward, Ewen (Brown 70), Buxton. Subs: Ironside, Robson, Strath, Reid, Grant, Otto.
Formartine United: Main, Mackintosh, Smith, Anderson, Lawrence, Smith, Strachan, Rodger, Gethins (Leyden 77), McGowan (Wood 70), Park, Greig (Lisle 70). Subs: Leyden, Wood, Lisle, Lawson