Formartine United 2 Turriff United 4

September 30, 2023

Match Report by Colin Keenan

What an absolute cracker of a game this was. The result was as disappointing for the North lodge faithful as it was cause for delight in the Turra camp and the outcome provides a real shake up in the upper echelon of the SHFL. At 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon Formartine sat proudly atop the Highland League with Turra doing well but still some distance back in 7th place. By 5 o-clock Formartine had slipped to 3rd on the same points total as Huntly, Buckie, and Brechin all of whom had games in hand while Turriff were only a point adrift of that group.

The game itself had it all: an underdog victory, 6 goals, 2 penalties [one saved], two sending’s off [one apiece] and more bookings than you could shake a stick at.  All conducted at a flat out pace with no quarter asked or given in tackles that were meaty verging, at times, on the carnivorous.

The game started with a fair end to end flavour to it with both sides showing a willingness to get bodies forward and to do that at pace. Initially it looked as if Formartine would prosper in this and with Wade as a target man and Campbell feeding from him it looked likely would be the first to score. In recent weeks they have managed to open their account fairly early but this time the visitors’ work rate was such that they were quick to get numbers behind the ball when Formartine were in possession - the outcome of which was often that Formartine attacks ended in shots from distance being absorbed in a densely populated box and no early goal was forthcoming.

In the 27th minute following a clearance from their 6 yard area, the ball was played out left before being lobbed forward to ALLAN on the wing who slipped past a hemipygic attempt to dispossess him and continued towards the near corner of the United box pursued forlornly by the defenders who had failed to reach him and hammered the ball past Macdonald into the far corner.

United’s attempts to level were set back first by Turriff workrate in midfield and their ability to get numbers behind the ball whenever United threatened but also psychologically by a crucial penalty miss by Campbell in the 41st minute when his tamely struck shot was comfortably saved just a little left of centre by Dey.

However United managed to equalise at the psychologically crucial moment immediately before half time through Adam Emslie. It was a cracking goal started from deep in home territory with a run down the left from Smith carrying the ball well into the visitors’ half before it was moved in three stages to Lobban on the left who slung over a cross that stretched keeper Dey to claw it away from the postage stamp corner but into the path of the speedy EMSLIE who almost unmarked headed it hard and accurately to rebound high into the net at the back post.

The second half saw a resilient Turra continue to press for the lead but for the first 15 minutes or so it looked like they hadn’t the fire power to make inroads on the home defence .However,in the 64th minute in a sustained bit of pressure where United hadn’t neen able to get enough traction to really end the attack, the ball didn’t get out of the final third. After a couple of crosses from each side were neutralised but not cleared the predatory CLARK lurking at the edge of the home box picked up a loose ball and blasted it past Macdonald for 2-1.

That set the cat among the pigeons and shifted the pattern of play to one where Formartine were chasing the game and increasingly vulnerable to being caught on the break by the visitors.

Their comeback efforts were rudely curtailed in the 80th minute when Turriff were awarded a penalty in the 80th minute after CLARK was brought down in the box and elected to take the spot kick himself. He struck it centrally but with enough power in it to do the job . Macdonald got his hands to it but the force behind the ball ensured that it reached the net for 3-1.

Gamely refusing to accept the set back as a lost cause ,Formartine battled on and scored an absolute cracker of a goal 3 minutes later. The response to a Turra attack was for the clearance to be flicked on near the left side of the halfway line into the path of NORRIS who scorched forward down the channel before unleashing an absolute howitzer of a shot from 30 yards out that flew over Day’s head into the net to reduce the deficit to one.

Turriff put things beyond any prospect of redemption in the dying minutes with a solo effort when KINSELLA waltzed down the right side and far enough across the box to release a clipped low shot past Macdonald.