Formartine United’s bid to reach the fourth round of the Scottish Cup was crushed by Cove Rangers on Saturday.
The Aberdeen side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in their replay at Harlaw Park, Inverurie.
The odds were stacked against United from the outset and in the end they found that their injury-ravaged squad - missing McKeown, McVitie, Crawford and Lawson - fell just a little short of matching a full-strength Cove, who now travel to Motherwell.
Compared to the 11 who had drawn 1-1 the previous Saturday, the Pitmedden side had to contend with the absence of the injured Lawson and the suspended Crawford.
United were forced largely into playing the counter-puncher’s role and fell behind in the 17th minute. Watt found his way between Smith and Wood to ram the ball across the line of the advancing Reid and into the far corner of the net.
Anderson, Masson and Rodger all worked hard for United, but found opportunities to feed their forwards severely restricted in a densely-populated midfield.
Former North Lodge favourite Dan Park put Cove 2-0 up in the 39th minute with a sublime strike over the defence and keeper from the edge of the box.
Formartine needed an early reply in the second half and got it in the 51st minute. Neil Gauld cut in from the right and rifled the ball past the advancing McCarthy.
Hopes that United could turn the tie around were dashed in the 71st minute when Yule picked up a partial clearance and hammered it past Reid, who managed to get a hand on it but not enough to keep it out of the net.
The match was well and truly over in the 83rd minute. Substitute Milne took advantage of gaps at the back to clip the ball home.
Cove’s experience and street-wise capacities were too much for a significantly-depleted Formartine side to overcome.
The problem was not really about the abilities of those who have stepped up to fill gaps left by injuries and suspensions, but the extent to which players had to operate in roles and positions they don’t usually occupy. Teams:
Cove Rangers: McCafferty, Redford, Duff, Yule, Watson, Kelly, Park, Scully, Nicol, Walker, Watt. Substitutes: McBain, Smith, Burnett, Milne, Dunbar, Brooks.
Formartine United: Reid, Michie, Dingwall, Wood, Smith, Anderson, Rodger, Masson, Keith, Gauld, Barbour. Substitutes: Bagshaw, Berton, Lawson, Booth, Thomson, MacDonald.
Meanwhile, Formartine United’s league fixture at Wick Academy, due to be played last night, has been re-scheduled for Wednesday, December 16, with an 8pm kick-off