Match Report - By Steven Mew
City fought back from going a goal behind early on against Formartine United to progress to the 2nd round of the Highland League Cup yesterday afternoon.
The draw for the next round took place shortly after the game, with City being handed a home tie against Inverurie Locos, due to be played on Saturday 9th September.
Manager Andy Kirk opted to rest a number of key players for this one, giving minutes to members of the squad that haven’t featured as often so far this season.
There were 5 changes in total from the victory over Nairn County last weekend with Jamie McCabe, Michael Cruickshank, Stuart Heenan, Spencer Moreland and Liam Duell all coming into the side.
In the absence of skipper Euan Spark and vice-captain Kevin McHattie who started on the bench, Hamish Thomson took the armband.
North Lodge Park hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for City, and the tie got off to a bad start with Formartine taking an early lead after 9 minutes. Emslie weaved his way past two players down the left hand side before providing a low cross for JULIAN WADE to finish from a few yards out – the third occasion he has netted against his former club.
City looked to get back into the game with Murray curling a 20 yard free kick over the bar, whilst Heenan scooped a shot over the bar from inside the box after some good set up play from Moreland.
Just before the half hour mark, Loudon played a perfectly weighted ball through for Duell to latch on to, but under pressure from a defender he couldn’t sort out his feet before the finish.
Barely a minute later, LIAM DUELL’S persistence eventually paid off. The striker battled to keep possession on the edge of the box and soon as he had a half-yard of space, he curled a delightful effort into the far corner of the net.
Ten minutes before the break, a free kick from Ewan Murray floated into the box found Loudon who teed up Thomson but he screwed his shot wide on the turn.
In the 39th minute, City managed to get their noses in front. A searching ball forward from Cruickshank sent STUART HEENAN through on goal - the young striker showed Kieran Adams a clean pair of the heels before skipping past the keeper and slotting into the empty net for his first competitive goal for City.
Duell very nearly extended the advantage on the stroke of half time when he latched on to a ball over the top from Loudon but his dinked effort landed just inches wide of the post.
Andy Kirk made a change at the break with Ewan White replacing Ryan Ferguson down the right hand side but White’s afternoon would last only 9 minutes as he was given a straight red for going into a high challenge with studs showing.
The hosts didn’t have the numerical advantage for long, as they were reduced to 10 men themselves just two minutes later. Dylan Lobban went into a full-blooded tackle on Seth Patrick and despite winning the ball, referee Greg Soutar deemed it to be dangerous and sent the Formartine midfielder for an early bath.
The home side had the best of the chances during the second period as they looked to get themselves back level. Emslie had a shot deflected wide and from the resulting corner, Adams headed over the bar.
A minute later, McCabe was forced into action for the first time when he tipped a free kick from Daniel Park over the bar after Wade had been fouled by Thomson on the edge of the box.
On 73 minutes, the home side missed a guilt-edged chance to grab the equaliser. Wade did well to hold off the challenge of Cruickshank inside the box and he nodded into the path of Norris who somehow fired over from a few yards out.
Wade continued to make a nuisance of himself upfront as he held the ball up for Stewart who in turn played in Norris who shot wide of the far post.
Despite Formartine’s pressure, it was City who clinched the victory with a third goal three minutes from time. Murray played a pass into the feet of substitute MARC SCOTT who brought the ball inside on his right foot before unleashing a fantastic dipping strike which looped over the head of MacDonald in the home goal.
The home side continued to battle right to the end, with Wade shooting straight at McCabe on the turn deep into stoppage time.
Overall, an encouraging win for City at a tough venue with a number of fringe players getting some valuable game time under their belts. We return to league action next weekend with a trip to face Rothes at Mackessack Park.
Other Results - Highland League Cup Round 1
Banks O' Dee 2 Forres Mechanics 4
Brora Rangers 7 Clachnacuddin 0
Buckie Thistle 4 Turriff United 0
Deveronvale 0 Fraserburgh 9
Keith 3 Nairn County 2
Lossiemouth 0 Strathspey Thistle 1
Rothes 2 Inverurie Locos 3