Extra time penalty denies Turriff a share of the spoils with Formartine
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Turriff United 1 Formartine United 2
There was a bunch of reasons why Turriff and their adherents would have been fancying their chances of taking some or all of the points from this game.
Last time the pair met Turriff emerged victorious and promptly embarked on a good run of form right up to the game preceeding this where they took points off fancied Fraserburgh.
United too, were on a great run of form that had carried them to third place in the league strongly positioned for a tilt at the title.
In the end it was as close run a game as any would have wished with United forced to dig deep before coming up with an odd goal in three winner after a dramatic penalty 9 minutes into time added on.
You don’t get much closer than that but it was a deserved win and showed that United are at present playing with all the guts, guile and never say die attitude that is often associated with champions.
The season still has a long way to go but this team with its mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads is in as good a position as it has been for a number of years,
Almost inevitably the game started with all the gusto of a cup tie and the initial thrust came from Formartine who were playing towards the riverside end.
Their first real push came with a mazy run through the inside left channel by captain graeme Rodger who managed to get the better of Watt and Foster into the front left corner of the box to feed the closely marked Reid whose shot rebounded of the nether parts of a defender to yield the game’s first corner.
The first fifteen minutes showed the pattern of the whole game which was of the visitors having slightly the better of possession and territory and Turriff responding with a fairly swift breakaway or two, usually wide and often left and involving McKenzie and Cormack. These served to let Turra get the ball up the park now and again but did little to trouble a well organised United defence.
The most threatening move came after a home corner on the right was partially cleared into space about 25 yards out atracting late arrival MacKenzie who ripped a low drive that Macdonald took comfortably at the base of his right upright.
United’s response was two attacks in a minute the second of which yielded the opener. Reid broke through the inside left path and found his shot blocked. The ball spun away into United territory and Into Turriff possession before a crunching Crawford tackle retrieved it and fed it onward left to Norris who blasted forward before releasing a superb cross to the left corner of the 6 yard box straight into the path of REID who absolutely buried the ball in the back of the Turriff net in the 22nd minute.
The game continued with United getting marginally more traction before a Turra break down the right initiated by a long punt down the right by McKeown . This was chased down by Clark who continued his run to five or ten yards shy of the corner before feeding the ball through to meet the run of ALLAN who turned it into the net from about 10 yards to level in the 29th minute.
More than an hour of stalemate ensued.
The quality was decent enough and Formartine were generally on the front foot throughout this phase.Both sets of players gave their all, half time came and went and both sides made substitutions and the scoreline persisted
However ,In as far as the tactical competition betwen managers contributed to the final result ,this aspect of the game did something to swing it in United’s favour. In the later part of the second half the pace of sub Lisle against Turra legs that were tiring in the heavy underfoot conditions began to show there to be more and increasing vulnerability in the home ranks than in those of the visitors.United were looking more and more like winners but as the clock ran down without the deadlock being broken it seemed increasingly that the homeside might well hold onto a point.United were producing recurrent waves of attack that Turriff struggled to contain.
Shots from Lyall. , Campbell and Rodger all went close or were deflected, blocked or otherwise denied passage to the net until fortune finally smiled. A break at pace down the inside right route by Campbell took him into the box where he was illegally brought down by Foster who was summarily dismissed.
CRAWFORD executed a very cool, precisely measured, classical penalty kick that entered the net inches above ground and inches inside the keepers left upright. Sheer perfection from the veteran defender.