Colony Locos and Formartine United settled for a 1-1 draw in their U19 Soccerworld League A fixture at Inverurie on Saturday.
With a strong sun and freezing temperatures, and a near-wipeout of Highland League and junior fixtures, this local derby was eagerly-awaited.
Formartine with a 100% record in the league, and having defeated Locos earlier in a cup competition, started favourites and this was evident in the first 10 minutes when the home side were showing signs of their long lay-off and the visitors started strongly.
Play was somewhat scrappy in the opening period and both sides were making mistakes and giving up possession too easily. An early breakthrough for the visitors looked possible when Cammy Garden in the home goal hesitated when a through ball should have been his and he only just made a clearance as Silva chased it down.
At the other end, Formartine keeper Thomson came for a ball bouncing at the edge of the box and realising that catching it would take him outside the area, he headed clear with Gordon waiting to pounce.
McCabe then headed wide from a good position before Thomson turned another of his efforts round the post. From the resulting in-swinging corner defender Scott Firth did well to head the ball to safety at the near post.
Some tackles were also causing the referee a few issues but he missed the most contentious decision when Formartine’s Silva again chased a through ball, was unable to get there and pushed defender Ben Leslie into keeper Garden who cleared.
The keeper was injured as result of the clash and was carried off. The referee took no action much to the disgust of the Locos’ sideline.
Defensive midfielder Michael Walls took over in goal and made a couple of good early stops as Formartine sought to test him but then saw little action in the remainder of the first half as both teams cancelled each other out.
The second half started brightly with Locos forcing the opposition back and starting to get the ball wide and creating more scoring opportunities.
With the play predominantly in the Formartine half, the visitors were still dangerous and content to hit on the break but the home back four were coping well and Walls in goal looked fairly accomplished in all that came his way. Walls made a particularly good diving save to his right to deny Silva the opener.
Gordon then darted into the box on the left and rounded the keeper and shot for the near post only to see his effort cleared off the line by Clark.
With 30 minutes to go, Stewart replaced Burr and went up front with Gordon moving to wide right and this seemed to give Colony a lift.
Within minutes of the change Gordon linked with McCabe who fed the ball over the defence for Stewart to pick up and he lifted the ball over the advancing keeper but only onto the roof of the net.
Five minutes later McCabe on the left threaded a low cross ball through Imray’s legs and Gordon diving at full stretch was only inches from connecting for the opener.
With around 20 minutes remaining the home side finally broke the deadlock which was probably merited on the second half performance.
Gordon laid the ball into McCabe who drove down the right hand side of the 18 yard box before squaring perfectly to Stewart who steered the ball under the keeper.
Formartine looked shaken for a few minutes and Thomson had two good saves to keep them in the match. With substitutions and a few players looking tired, Formartine worked their way back into the match with Silva causing the most problems for the home defence with his willingness to run at players.
The visitors finished the stronger and deservedly grabbed an equaliser with less than 10 minutes remaining when some slack defensive play allowed a cross ball to find Silva in the right place to drive a shot into the corner past Walls.
Both teams went out for the winner but there was to be no further scoring and they had to settle for a share of the points.
Colony Locos: Garden, Lesley, Laird, MacDonald, Littlejohn, Mitchell, Burr, Woodgreaves, Hay, Gordon, McCabe. Subs: Watt, Walls, West, Simpson, Stuart
Formartine United: Thomson, Rose, Clark, Fraser, Keith, Benzie, Imray, D Clark, Firth, Tewnion, Silva Subs: Ritchie, S Clark, Aiken, Tremaine, Findley.