THE truth of the matter is that Formartine started poorly and then faded rapidly thereafter. Despite a brief flurry following a triple substitution with around twenty minutes to go, they never looked like doing anything that resembled upsetting the stranglehold that a competent rather than inspiring Turriff side had kept on the match from the kick off. In the process Formartine tamely surrendered their previously intact home record this season and supinely accepted their biggest home defeat in their SHFL career to date. A very bad day at the office indeed.
What went wrong? The simple answer is that too many players failed to deliver. From the first crass error by captain “Rusty” Smith in conceding a needless penalty, to an inability to impose themselves in midfield more or less throughout they never looked like they wanted to progress to the final of the Aberdeenshire Shield.
The opening two minutes gave little indication of what was to follow. A break through the inside right channel by Ewen on the end of a diagonal through ball by his striking partner, Dan Park ended with his shot going wide. Turra’s response simple and direct: Allan scorched off down the right and slipped the ball into the box for McGowan breaking in from the other side. A dink of the left shoulder and a wee feint were enough to sucker Smith into a challenge clumsy enough to yield a clear penalty. HARRIS stepped up and slammed the ball past the right hand of the diving Shearer and Turra had the dream start of a third minute goal. Initially it looked like Formartine were capable of redressing the deficit and they began to exert and sustain a bit of pressure. In the 9th minute, a slick interchange between Napier and Ewen ended with latter in on the keeper to lash a ferocious thunderball that beat Gatt all ends up before rebounding back into play. Sadly this was about as good as it got for Formartine and there was still 80 minutes to go. Napier was busy and Webster put in some decent balls from wide on the left. Ewen was his pacy and energetic self, but there was a distinct lack of cohesion and Turriff slowly but surely gained the upper hand. Although Formartine showed some ability to keep Turriff pinned down in their own territory, it was also apparent that Turriff could break at pace with menace.
In the 23rd minute after a home attack had been dismantled by Herd and Bowden, Allan streaked off down the right with Harris doing likewise through the middle. Shearer went to meet him and in diving for the ball managed to upend the forward. The referee immediately blew for a foul by the keeper and granted a penalty. At that moment Formartine were looking calamity full in the face. The keeper had clearly denied a goal scoring opportunity and the referee decreed that it was done illegally. As it stood the keeper stood to be red carded and suspended automatically for the next game.
The far side linesman stood with his flag up and entered a confab with ref Shaw. The penalty was rescinded and the game restarted with a corner kick.
Turriff got a real grip on the game five minutes later when after a period of sustained pressure on the Formartine defence in a crowded penalty area BROWNIE reacted well to a half hit clearance from Jeffrey and poked the ball through a tangle of legs to the back of the net. Formartine looking ever more like a busted flush huffed and puffed but failed to find rhythm.
The third goal came after a further five minutes and was consistent both with the run of play and the margin of Turriff superiority. Formartine had deployed big central defender McKeown in a midfield role and his organising abilities at the rear were sorely missed. In his absence the Smiths and Jeffrey looked disjointed and with the pace and trickery of McKenzie, Allan and McGowan, they were struggling. Some direct running through the middle yielded a simple but impressive solo goal for HARRIS who had the legs on ” Rusty” Smith and timed his finish perfectly to lash the ball home.
Three goals adrift at the resumption was a severe but not insurmountable challenge for Formartine. However, they never looked like they could or would. Turriff had the ball in the net in the 49th minute for what would have completed Harris’s hat trick but the standside linesman got what was a tight off side call about right. It mattered little: Turriff continued on their merry way and although Formartine looked slightly less disjointed in this second period and managed a couple of half decent efforts: a slick Ewen header that just slipped past Gatt’s left hand upright, a Park drive that was parried before being held by the keeper and a twenty five yarder by Munro that wasn’t too far off target. However Turriff put the game beyond home reach as early as the 60th minute with a neat finish after a run by GRAY.
Formartine tried a triple substitution by removing the out of form M.Smith, Webster and Jeffrey. Had the rules allowed it, even more out of form contributors might have been replaced. The introduction of Wilson, Robertson and Soane had some impact and Formartine began to dominate. Too little, too late: they were well beaten.
This was Formartine’s worst performance of the season to date: too many players were off form they looked like they had guessed that the game would be postponed and guessed wrong. Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, S.Smith, McKeown, M.Smith, Donald, Munro, Napier, Park, Ewen, Webster. Subs: Dingwall, Soane, Robertson, Wilson, Davidson..