FORMARTINE gained revenge for their Aberdeenshire Cup final by Fraserburgh defeat with a 3-2 win in an incident-packed match at Bellslea on Saturday.
The hard-earned victory, in a game which saw three penalties, a red card and several bookings, leaves United in fifth place but with games in hand.
The match started at a brisk pace with Formartine getting slightly the better of early exchanges. In the third minute they worked a corner on the right that was played in deep and in-swinging by Webster.
Dickson half cleared it but only as far as McKeown who had a dig but the ball was eventually taken away by Johnston. Three minutes later Callum Dingwall headed narrowly past Leask’s right upright and Formartine were showing that they could both exert and sustain some measure of pressure.
Broch looked quite lively on the breakaway and Johnston and Barbour had the pace and mobility to stretch if not seriously threaten Formartine’s central defensive pair of Craig McKeown and Rusty Smith who were in commanding form
Formartine opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Ewen went down in the box under a challenge from keeper Leask, who was sent off.
Referee Potten was resolute in the face of strong protests by home defenders and eventually midfielder Fletcher donned the gloves and blue jersey to face penalty taker Stuart Soane, who showed no sign of the legacy of the penalty nightmares that haunted his side in their previous encounter with Fraserburgh.
Formartine huffed and puffed without giving much evidence that they could establish a more convincing lead before the interval.
They had the pressure but not the penetration and showed little sign, beyond a firm drive from centre back McKeown that was diverted to safety, of really nailing their opponents.
Broch gave as good as they got when the second half resumed and equalised in the 56th minute with a penalty. Barbour netted after a collision with Rusty Smith in the box.
Fraserburgh could see the possibility of victory and sought to press home their momentum. Shots from Johnston Barbour and Cowie all had to be dealt with but Formartine began to dig in and show their character and bit by bit asserted their superiority.
Two goals in quick succession got them well into the driving seat. In the 71st minute, McGinlay, on in place of Dingwall, netted with a well-taken free kick, dipping and bending the ball over the wall and in low at the far post while the keeper remained rooted to the spot.
A minute later and Ewen scorched his way into the box on the end of a well-timed through ball from McKibben. With Hay floundering in his wake he simply picked his spot from ten yards out.
Broch to their credit came straight back at their visitors.
Again they were the beneficiaries of refereeing generosity and within a minute gained a second penalty. Again it was Barbour who went down, this time under challenge from the keeper.
He picked himself up and repeated his previous penalty by burying the ball low to the keeper’s left.
Substitute McVitie came close with a fifty yard lob which grazed the bar. Formartine continued to press for a greater margin of victory. They spread the ball into wide areas and competently ran down the clock with a decent, if predictable display of possession football to gain a hard won, but ultimately well-deserved three points that keeps their title challenge firmly on course.
Fraserburgh: Leask, Dickson, Fowlie,Johnston, Barbour, Main, Fletcher, Hay, M.Cowie, Main, R Cowie. Subs: Cooper, Conway, Noble, Willox, Chalmers.
Formartine United: Shearer, Bagshaw, S. Smith, McKeown, M.Smith, McKibben, Munro, Soane Dingwall, Ewen, Webster. Subs: Park, Davidson, McGinlay, McVitie, Donald.