Statistically Formartine have struggled more against Cove than they have against Brora and some of the defeats at their hands have been really hard to take.
The fact that Formartine are used to being beaten by Cove is no justification for the fact that yet again they lost to them.
After gifting Cove an early opening goal and holding out rather raggedly until half time, two substitutions and a degree of restructuring set them up for a strong challenge in the second half.
This Aberdeenshire Cup game began at a furious pace with the opening salvo coming from the visitors.
This was contained by a new Formartine back four that had McKeown and Axten in the centre, flanked right and left by Crawford and Smith.
This looked OK for the first 9 minutes until Axten , with as much time and space as Doctor Who, carelessly under struck a pass out of defence.
The wily veteran McBain simply intercepted it and slipped the ball a yard or two right for Nicol to hammer it home from about 18 yards out with a fierce drive that was well beyond the reach of Reid.
A long range effort from Gauld when McKenzie was a step or two ahead of his line, flew just over the junction of the keeper’s right upright and the cross bar.
Barbour, plying his trade on either wing seemed a menace to Redford and Walker and Gary Wood was not entirely subdued by Watson.
However Cove in the main seemed sharper and had slightly more success in ball winning in midfield than Formartine.
Nevertheless there wasn’t that much in it and level terms were nearly established following a free kick left of centre about 35 yards out when Anderson cheekily slipped the ball wide of the line for Barbour to nip in and fire in a low, acutely angled drive that McKenzie struggled to turn round his near post.
From the resulting corner, Axten got in a strong header directed well beyond the keeper, only to see it headed off the line by Watson.
At the other end, a 20 yard drive by Park in the 22nd minute rebounded from Reid’s left upright - a feat he repeated about 20 minutes later.
The second period saw Axten replaced by Michie and Anderson by Bagshaw, who lasted only five minutes before limping off to give way to Keith, however the changes in personnel and to an extent shape looked to have paid off.
A direct run by Gauld was illegally halted about twenty five yards out and a yard or two right of centre.
Lawson took the resulting free kick and with lethal grace he struck the ball on a slightly curving right to left trajectory that obviated the wall and flew into the net in the postage stamp corner.
A drive by Rodger had Reid scrambling to get it at the second attempt.
A 60th minute shot on the turn by Gauld was beaten away for an unrewarded corner and almost immediately thereafter and well against the run of play at the time, a Formartine attack was broken up and a counter mounted: the ball was passed to Yule who with the assistance of Kelly made ground on the left before swinging in a cross to the head of Smith whose firmly struck and very accurately delivered header from about 15 yards out put Cove back ahead.
A decent shot from McKeown drew an equally decent save by McKenzie, Rodger leathered a 25 yard drive that went narrowly wide before he clipped a neat cross ball for a glancing Gauld header that was touched a way for a corner.
United tried until the very end: in stoppage time an absolute pile-driver by Gauld smacked off the crossbar before being hastily booted away.