BRora Rangers put a spike in Formartine’s league and cup double hopes with a 4-2 win at Dudgeon Park on Saturday.
Despite two goals from leading marksman Michael Ewen, the Pitmedden side looked strangely jaded in this Breedon Aggregates League Cup quarter final, and the resurgent Rangers took full advantage.
The game began in a steady downpour of sleety rain and the visitors were the first to show. A quick one-two between Park and Ewen was set up by Bagshaw’s neat through ball to the former but neutralised by the timely intervention of Golabeck.
Three minutes later a slick passage of play down the right by Park, Ewen and Bagshaw ended with the last named peeling off to get on the end of Ewen’s ball across the face of the box and head the ball so viciously down in front of the goal line that the rebound took it over the bar to safety.
Brora, however, were moving the ball about quickly and Hart playing behind Sutherland and MacKay was providing quality ammunition.
In four of their last five outings, Formartine have conceded a soft early goal. They did it again. In the sixth minute a slip by Robertson on one side let Greig in to square the ball along the six yard line to Mackay who got past Jeffrey and then had only Shearer to beat, which he duly did from around five yards out.
Formartine’s response was immediate and effective. From the resumption, the ball was worked quickly and directly to the Brora box. With Bagshaw peeling off left and Soane to the right the ball was sent just inside the left hand corner of the area to the predatory Ewen who drilled it home beyond the reach of Ridgers for the equaliser.
It took a rather odd goal for the home side to get their noses back in front again. This time it was a long, lobbed ball out of defence to Baxter just ahead of the halfway line in the inside right channel.
With visiting fans screaming for offside, the chase between the forward and defender Campbell continued. The wee forward was just a tad more sure-footed than the big defender and as Shearer advanced to close him down, he hoisted a lob from twenty yards out over the big keeper and into the net for number two in the 42nd minute.
Again Formartine countered almost instantly and yet again it was Ewen who did the business - this time it took nearer two than one minute to complete but it showed the neck and neck nature of a tie where neither side could dominate the other for any length of time.
This time Formrtine had sustained a wave of pressure with Park, Bagshaw and Soane trying vainly to force the ball home from within a densely populated penalty box. After a Bagshaw drive had been partially cleared by Golabeck, Ewen spotted a gap and rifled the ball through it from about eight yards.
Brora gradually gained the upper hand in the second half and in the 54th minute they got their noses in front for the third time.
They had played the ball purposefully around the Formartine box and Sutherland darting into the area not far in from the bye line wriggled back apparently to get more of an angle for a shot. With defenders anticipating the shot, he dinked the ball a yard or two to Maclean to clip it in at the near post.
This time there was no quick counter from Formartine. They tried and tried but Brora were in charge.
With four minutes remaining, Rangers rounded off the scoring after another period of sustained pressure.
Mackay completed his double after seizing on a ball that had rebounded from the upright.
Brora Rangers: Ridgers, Ross, Tokely, Golabeck, Houston, MacLean, Baxter, Hart, Sutherland, MacKay, Greig. Subs: Bruce, Gillespie, Lamb, Hind, Allan.
Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, Robertson, McKeown, Campbell, M.Smith, Munro, Soane, Park, Ewen, Bagshaw. Subs: Napier, Webster, S.Smith, Donald, Dingwall.