United win Shire Shield

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Formartine United made history by winning the Aberdeenshire Shield for the first time on their first appearance in the final.

The match was originally scheduled for the Balmoral Stadium at the end of January but that was postponed due to frost on the artificial surface.

There was no danger of another postponement as a mild, dry night last midweek made for perfect conditions.

Junior Superleague champions Banks O’Dee went into the match full of confidence having already knocked out three Highland League sides this season and were on the back of a comfortable league win on the Saturday.

They had, however, lost the three finals they had reached in the previous three years.

By contrast, Formartine were struggling for match fitness with the defeat to Fraserburgh the previous weekend their only game in a weather-hit month of inactivity.

Dee certainly weren’t overawed and took the game to United from the start, with a low, driven cross from the right by Jack Henderson finding left back Dean Lawrie at the back post but his shot flew over with four minutes on the clock.

The Formartine response looked like producing the opener four minutes later.

A crossfield ball was gathered by diminutive winger Andrew Greig and his pass inside found Kieran Lawrence 22 yards out but his well struck, curling effort was brilliantly tipped over in spectacular fashion by Andy Shearer.

But the opener was only delayed as United took the lead on the quarter-hour.

Mark Gilmour attempted to clear his lines 12 yards out but under pressure from Graeme Rodger, the ball ricocheted off the unlucky defender and into his own net.

Dee continued to play with style, passing the ball front to back with pace, but their lack of a cutting edge in front of goal was to prove the difference between the sides.

The decisive second goal came after 31 minutes and it was a thing of beauty.

United broke forward from inside their own half and some sweeping interplay between Rodger and Archie MacPhee saw the latter set free on the right side of the penalty area, and his crisp finish low into the far corner was fit to win any trophy.

As half-time approached Formartine were forced into a substitution, Ryan Stott replacing the limping Aaron Norris.

It was game over in ruthless fashion three minutes before the half-time whistle was blown.

Another fine save from Shearer denied a MacPhee header but the ball broke to Garry Wood inside the six-yard box and he slid it home, giving the scoreline a harsh look in favour of a deadly and clinical United side who were showing how much this final meant to them.

There was a chance for Banks to make a game of it five minutes after the restart, but a diving Kane Winton header following a corner kick was sent just wide of the right-hand post.

However, four minutes later substitute Stott set up Rodger to sidefoot into the net from inside the six-yard box and what had looked like being a closely contested match was rapidly turning into a rout in favour of the men from North Lodge Park.

Dee did manage the consolation goal they thoroughly deserved after 67 minutes, as a left-wing cross by Dean Lawrie was expertly drilled low into the net from eight yards at the back post by Jamie Buglass to make the final score in the Shield final 4-1.