Kiss of Geth hands Formartine a point
by Colin Keenan
NEITHER side could be faulted for the amount of effort put into the struggle to lift all three of the available points.
Although there was something of an overall sense that the home side had attacked their way to their share of the points, while the visitors' reward was achieved on the back of persistent and dogged defending (particularly in the first half), the real beneficiaries of their respective efforts are Brora Rangers.
Fraserburgh started as one of table-topping Brora's closest and most credible rivals, while United - currently inhabiting mid-table terrain albeit with games in hand - were desperately in need of a performance to lift them from a run of disappointments stretching back to defeat (by the Broch, no less) in the Aberdeenshire Cup Final at the start of October.
On the basis that the Broch's title challenge was in a much stronger place than United's and they were the home side, Formartine are likely to have been marginally the more content of the pair at taking a point from the game.
They started brightly enough with a foray down the left by Stuart Smith to feed Dan Park at the edge of the box.
He laid the ball back for Garry Wood whose thumping shot slid just wide.
After this early wee flurry from United, Mark Cowie's side began to impose themselves gradually ramping up the pressure until they could largely promote the rear four of their 4-3-3 formation to the edge of United territory and squeeze them from there.
However with keeper Kevin Main in outstanding form and the back four of Johnny Crawford, Smith, Craig McKeown and Darryl Kelly giving precious little away Fraserburgh, for all their territorial advantage, never really achieved a level of persistent or sustained threat to the visitors who, although not entirely comfortable with the pattern of play, coped well with the defensive side of the challenge.
Scott Barbour set off down the left to swing a cross over to Ross Willox whose neat head flick to Paul Campbell was even more neatly plucked from the striker's head by Main in the 13th minute.
Over the next four or five minutes longer range efforts by Paul Young and Jamie Beagrie were calmly dealt with by the keeper.
With United defending capably, Fraserburgh stepped up the pressure but still struggled to unpick United's defensive lock.
With Formartine's defence on song, the home forwards needed to be at their sharpest; they weren't.
Slick inter-passing between Barbour, Paul Campbell and Willox in the 28th ended with the last named shooting over the fence and onto the roof of the nearby garage from six yards.
A rather tamely struck Paul Campbell shot was easy meat for Main and five minutes later, just before the interval the same playerheaded the product of a Barbour corner over the top from the penalty spot.
The second half continued with the Broch pressing hard.
Full-back Owen Cairns was becoming increasingly influential and in the 56th minute he clipped in a vicious ball to the base of Main's near post.
He smothered it before any further danger developed.
But just three minutes later Cairns was again the danger, sprinting down the right to collect a Ryan Cowie pass near the far post before skelping an unsaveable drive past Main.
The pressure was on and another tricky Cairns effort to the near post had to be smothered byMain.
However United were showing, albeit intermittently that they could offer more than just resistance and proved that on the breakaway they were a goal threat.
Conor Gethins on as a 70th minute sub, proved the point.
A Park attack delivered the ball to Garry Wood on the edge of the box who cleverly played it on wide to Gethins.
The wee Irish striker left keeper Paul Leask stranded with a shotthat was in the far corner of the net before he could do anything about it.
That was enough to get a point.
It was a bit more even after that but neither side had what it took to break the deadlock, with Barbour sprawling a shot wide of the far post after being sent clear with only Main left in his way.
Fraserburgh:Leask, Cowie, Beagrie, Hay, Cairns, G Campbell, Willox, Young, West (Butcher 80), P Campbell, S Barbour.
Unused subs: J Barbour, G Buchan, Simpson, Combe, Watt, Butcher.
Formartine United:Main, Crawford, Smith,Anderson, McKeown,Kelly, Rodger (Lisle 78),Norris (Gethins 70), Wood, Park, Strachan.
Unused subs: Clark,Lawrence,Mackintosh, Lawson, Watson.