Brora Rangers 1 Formartine United 4

March 16, 2024

Breedon Scottish Highland Football League.  Saturday 16th March 2024, Dudgeon Park.

Brora Rangers 1

Scorers: Martin MacLean (13).

Formartine United 4

Scorers: Aaron Reid (8, 15, 60), Johnny Crawford (72 Pen).

Match Report by Colin Keenan

Pre match there had been a loose consensus that this could be a rather close run thing and if either side had anything significant over the other it was unlikely to extend beyond the confidence boost that can sometimes accompany home advantage. In the event predictions and prognostications counted for very little indeed in what turned out to be a brutally one-sided affair where Brora struggled from the outset against a rampant United whose offensive line was led by new striker, Aaron Reid, on the sort of form that rendered him all but unplayable by any individual or combination that the home side could figure to contain him.

Brora didn’t start badly but never really did enough early on to indicate to Formartine that their long journey could conceivably be a fruitless one. It took no longer than a minute for United to get their hosts onto the back foot working hard to clear a cross from either side followed by a corner from the left. Although that opening pressure was eventually contained, the early initiative lay with the visitors who opened the scoring in the 7th minute. United kept the pressure on following a corner on the right taken by Duncan and followed it with another from the same spot and taker within a minute. The ball was played right into the mix just beyond the near post this time and Macdonald’s attempt to clear his lines resulted in the ball being scuffed straight to REID who dropped his left shoulder to send it fizzing past the nonplussed Ross to the back of the net.

Brora were keen to make amends and had a decent rub of the green in managing to restore parity within 5 minutes of falling behind. United have had a disconcerting habit of conceding the odd error based goal when in otherwise strong positions and this one may just come into that category. Brora pressing for the equaliser had a push down the right through Dingwall repulsed before managing to move the attack to the left through MACLEAN. Duncan was pestering the Brora forward but allowed himself to be bundled off the ball which was quickly fired low towards the back post where it seemed to be covered by keeper Macdonald. However the ball bobbled at the feet of Stuart Smith and skidded into the net leaving some United faces as red as Brora jerseys.

It was a set back and with United on otherwise top form, something to be promptly and effectively overcome. Reid was just the lad for that and restored United’s lead within a couple of minutes. United went almost straight onto the attack and again forced a corner on the right which was taken shortish to a point maybe 8 yards in front of the near post where a run and leap by REID gave him clear contact with the ball which he sent crashing into the net.

This was something of a turning point in the game: Brora having equalised were having what might arguably have been considered their best patch in the game but found themselves peremptorily on the end of another Reid stunner. They never really recovered from that and despite a wee flurry when they had wind advantage for the first time at the start of the second period they found Formartine slicker, quicker and more likely to be the next to score. Reid was on a hat trick and playing with all the gallussness of one who was well aware of it. The second session was fifteen minutes old when the inevitable hat trick was completed. The goal was similar to many United have scored this season in that the spadework for it came from a break down the right by Wade who managed to get in behind defenders to slip the ball across the box right to left to meet the run of REID who unceremoniously drove the ball past the keeper from about 12 yards out.

United continued with a succession of fast breaks that continually stretched Rangers. In the 72nd one such was developed from within United territory and completed by Reid breaking into the box from the left and looking to pull the trigger on another shot on goal. Meekings was the unfortunate who was left marking him and unable to get near the ball elected to trip the big striker. There was no dispute that it was a penalty, CRAWFORD did the honours for United stepping up to drive the ball low to the keeper’s right as he dived left. That was the fourth and final goal.

Brora Rangers Team: 1. Logan Ross, 12. Tom Kelly, 3. Ally MacDonald, 15. Millar Gamble, 6. Josh Meekings, 8. Martin Maclean (14. Gregor MacDonald 75), 7. Tony Dingwall (23. Paul Brindle 75 min), 13. Dale Gillespie ©, 16. James Wallace (9. Jordan Macrae 60 min), 11. Alastair Sutherland, 19. Kyle Macleod. Unused Subs: 2. Ross Hardie, 5. Mark Nicolson, 18. Alistair Morrison, 20, Alex Cooper, 21. Joe Malin (GK)

Formartine United Team: 1. Ewen MacDonald, 2. Johnny Crawford ©, 3. Stuart Smith, 4. Kieran Adams, 5. Matthew McLean, 6. Lewis Duncan, 7. Julian Wade, 8. Marc Lawrence, 9. Paul Campbell, 10. Aaron Reid (14. Scott Lisle 85 min), 11. Adam Emslie. Unused Subs: 12. Lucas Smith, 15. Aiden Combe, 16. Kevin Hanratty, 17. Brody Alberts, 21. Cameron Middleton (GK).