Formartine 1 Rothes 2: Speysiders into the Highland League Cup final after dramatic extra time win at North Lodge Park
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ROTHES have reached the Highland League Cup final for just the second time in their history after a dramatic extra time win over Formartine United at North Lodge Park.
Rothes found themselves a goal down with time running out but strikes from Ali Sutherland at the end of the 90 minutes and Craig Cormack at the start of extra time sealed a 2-1 victory for the Speysiders.
Hosts Formartine went into the match as favourites, with Rothes, who had never previously won at North Lodge Park, only able to name five substitutes.
But it was the visitors who started the brighter – with Ali Sutherland's well-struck effort turned behind by Formartine keeper Kevin Main after five minutes.
The second chance also went the way of Rothes as Fraser Robertson fired just over on the rebound after Gary Kerr had been denied by Main.
Formartine's only chance of a quiet first half saw Conor Gethins poke wide at the near post after left-back Stuart Smith's ball in.
The hosts were much-improved in the second period and dominated the majority of the half.
United broke through a resilient Speysiders rearguard on 70 minutes, with a fine strike from Daniel Park finding the bottom left-hand corner from 20 yards.
Rothes keeper Sean McCarthy made a vital save with just five minutes to go, denying Andy Greig at close range after a free kick from Park.
And that gave the Speysiders the opportunity to equalise just moments later – with their first effort of the second period – as Ali Sutherland drilled a low shot from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner.
Both sides had the chance to win the game in the dying stages of the 90 minutes. First, Sutherland was played through by Cormack only to be denied well by Main.
That led to a quick Formartine counter-attack, with keeper McCarthy once again doing well to deny Andy Greig.
Into extra time the game went and Rothes grabbed a 2-1 lead within two minutes. Craig Cormack finished delicately with the outside of his right boot after being slotted through by impressive substitute Ross Gunn.
There were a few nervy moments for Ross Jack's side from there on in – notably when Graeme Rodger poked wide and when Scott Lisle's header dropped wide late on.
However, the Speysiders defended brilliantly to see out the come-from-behind victory and even had the best chance to add the fourth goal – with Main denying Cormack well right at the death.
The final will take place next weekend, with Rothes taking on the winner of tomorrow's tie between Brora Rangers and Buckie Thistle at Dudgeon Park. The venue is still to be confirmed.