To prefer victory to defeat is normal but the capacity to make it happen derives from the will power and strength of character that makes the difference between winners and losers. Turra had plenty of the former and Formartine too many of the latter. In a night of squally winds and rain, the home side ground out a result as Formartine’s injury woes accumulated with a double ankle break to big keeper Bremner in the first half and the loss of the inspirational Bobby Mann in the second.
The pattern of each half was the same. An initial flurry of Formartine attack weathered by the home defence, before Turriff relentlessly imposed themselves. The initial Formartine showing was encouraging as McVittie and Mackay burst through the centre right area twice in a couple of minutes. Turriff were already battling to impose themselves on the visitors, sustaining more pressure than Formartine, who looked to breakaway efforts to keep themselves in the game.
At the mid point of the half, Turriff were testing Formartine down the left with a one two between Taylor and Cowie. As the latter surged into the box, Bremner raced to meet him. As the keeper went to ground, the winger collided with him. Cowie got up but Bremner couldn’t and was stretchered off. Reports say he will be in plaster for fifteen weeks.
Substitute keeper, Derek Soutar has a point to prove and the ex Dons, Dundee and Ross County stopper took his chance with both hands, producing a series of stunning stops.
McKenzie and Allan caused some danger on the right, but Smith always seemed to do just enough. Mann was orchestrating the rearguard and Turriff were struggling to get any real penetration.
Deep in injury time, Formartine came close to getting their noses in front after Macaulay and Robertson combined to thump in a cross to the head of Mackay, The ball looked net-bound until Bowden intervened.
The second half, like the first, began with a burst of Formartine pressure. Mackay was full of energy and Bagshaw was an intermittent threat but whenever the visitors got the ball near the box they were confronted by superior numbers. Turra absorbed the pressure and battled forward.
After the hour mark, there was a period of sustained home pressure on the Formartine goal. A superbly judged tackle by Stuart Smith on O’Driscoll robbed the veteran as he was about to strike from 10 yards. Bobby Mann was the Formartine rock, but in the course of a superb last ditch tackle, he appeared to pull or tear something in the groin area. Daniel Quinn replaced him and in the circumstances acquitted himself quite well.
Keeper Soutar, whose career was in serious need of resurrection, did himself a power of good as he brought off four stupendous stops in little over a minute.
A full stretch tip round the post from a Mackenzie pile driver was followed by a similar result from an equally ferocious effort by Allan. A reflex block of an angled drive by Taylor was followed by a left post stop from a point blank Ligertwood thunderbolt and it looked that Formartine had contained the best efforts of their hosts. Hopes that Formartine could take something from the game did not last long though, In the 69th minute, the venerable O’DRISCOLL picked up the ball at the front right of the box, drew Soutar, side stepped him and calmly flipped the ball into the net.
Formartine tried to get back into it and managed some sustained pressure that eventually yielded a free kick just outside the box. No question that it was Bobby Mann territory; problem was there was no Bobby to take it. The task fell to Callum Bagshaw. He managed to get the ball up and down over the wall but Coutts held it.
As the game was coming to its conclusion, Turriff were again in charge and forced a couple of corners. The first, from the left was dealt with by creating the second, on the right. As Souter rose towards the ball he was unceremoniously shoved in the back. The referee failed to spot this, and sub Harris was left with a clear shot past an impeded and stranded keeper.
This was not Formartine’s finest hour and suggests that they will struggle to finish in the top half of the league. Just as they seemed to have put the worst of their injury woes behind them with the return of Soane and Macaulay, they have lost the services of Bremner and possibly Macaulay and Mann for their next match which is against high-flying Nairn.