Formartine United missed out on their last realistic chance of silverware this season when they lost 3-1 at home to Cove Rangers in the second round of the Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup on Saturday.
It was a bitterly disappointing result for the Pitmedden club who only recently comprehensively defeated the Aberdeen side at North Lodge Park in the league.
Formartine held a 1-0 lead at the interval but their opponenets found an extra gear after a break to book their semi-final place against Turriff United.
United started the sharper and settled into a crisp passing game which had Cove on the back foot.
They deseveredly took the lead in 18th minute with a well crafted and executed goal.
Madle and Anderson combined and Anderson’s cross was strongly headed home by Cammy Keith who had timed his run to perfection.
United nearly extended their lead a couple of minutes later when Madle outran the defence to move in on goal, but his finishing effort was easily cleared.
The visitors posed more of a threat towards the end of the half but United’s Hay and Smith were giving little away.
Cove continued to look more menacing ater the break and Formartinen appeared to be vulnerable under pressure.
The visitors drew level in the 61st minute after forcing several corners, Watt finishing off after Yule had driven the ball across goal.
Nine minutes later and Cove were in front after Munro clumsily conceded a penalty when he brought down Nicol who fire the spot kick high into the top corner.
In a bid to save their season Formartine threw caution to the wind but Cove looked confident at the back and soaked up the pressure.
The visitors’ third goal came on the counter attack when Watt was set free by a through ball from Smith and wriggling past defenders drove the ball beyond Shearer to complete North Lodge misery.
Looking ahead, the league now looks well beyond Formartine, as does second spot, so the realistic summit of their ambition would seem to be third place in the championship.
Formartine United: Shearer, Munro, Smith, Jeffrey, Hay, Clark, Napier, Madle, Keith, Anderson, McKay. Substitutes: Duguid, Dingwall, Booth, Watson.
Cove Rangers: Kinnaird, Burnett, Lawrie, Redford, Watson, Kelly, Smith, Yule, Nicol, Watt, McBain. Substiutes: Selfridge, Scully, Park, Milne.