All square in Cup Thriller

Scott Barbour puts Formartine ahead.
Scott Barbour puts Formartine ahead.

Formartine United and Cove Rangers must do it all again after their Scottish Cup third round tie on Saturday ended 1-1.

Ninety minutes of fiercely contested action at North Lodge Park was not enough to separate these two title contenders.

The scoreline is in some ways a decent reflection of a match in which Formartine had the better of the first half and Cove more or less shaded the second.

Cove possibly exerted slightly more overall control but Formartine made more and better chances.

An early miss from close range by Barbour and a penalty save by McKenzie from Wood prevented United from progressing to round four.

Instead they face the prospect of replay at Harlaw Park in Inverurie on Saturday with the significant handicap of not having Johnny Crawford available to bolster their defensive efforts following his red card near the end.

The match started with all the full-throttled and red-blooded commitment that marks encounters between these two.

Scott Barbour was through one-on-one with the keeper but the ball seemed to bobble when he was about to shoot and the chance was lost.

The home side missed a great opportunity to go in front in the 21st minute when they awarded a penalty after Watson tripped Cammy Keith.

However, McKenzie brought off a fine save from Gary Wood’s spotkick.

Although Formartine were pressing Cove mounted several attacks without really threatening.

But the breakthrough came on the stroke of half-time when Barbour burst down the right outpacing defenders and when keeper McKenzie hesitated he fired the ball home.

The second half was different and Formartine either failed to find their first half shape and rhythm or Cove had found an additional means of raising their possession rate.

Initially it looked like United were trying to do what Cove have done frequently and successfully in the past and sit tight on a single goal lead, but the Aberdeen side had upped their game.

Formartine kept their precious lead until the 77th minute when they were outdone by a bit of class from Nicol whose overhead kick found the net from a Scully cross.

United were reduced to 10 men three minutes from time when Crawford was sent off for a tackle on Scully.

The replay is simply too close to call.

Teams:

Formartine United: Reid, Dingwall, Smith, Wood, Crawford, Lawson, Rodger, Anderson, Keith, Masson, Barbour. Substitutes: Gauld, Bagshaw, Berton, Booth, Michie, MacDonald.

Cove Rangers: McKenzie, Redford, Walker, Yule, Watson, Kelly, Scully, Duff, Watt, Park, Nicol. Substitutes: McBain, Smith, Burnett, Milne, Dunbar, McCafferty.