- Created: Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:43
- Published: Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:43
- Written by Lewis Gordon
Brora’s replacement keeper John McLeod stole the headlines as he saved Neil Gauld’s penalty in the shootout after a 10-goal thriller at North Lodge Park.
The visitors took the lead in the Highland League Cup quarter-final through Paul Brindle early on, but mid-way through the first half Formartine equalised after Scott Barbour put the ball on a plate for Graeme Rodger to head home the equaliser.
That leveller didn’t affect Brora and the visitors got two quick-fire goals through Colin Williamson and Martin Maclean to send them in two up at the break.
Formartine came out all guns blazing and scored three goals within five minutes to put them ahead, through strikes from Stuart Anderson, Garry Wood and Paul Lawson’s 25-yard screamer.
The home side extended their lead mid-way through the second half when Barbour got a deserved goal for his contribution on the day. But only a minute later, Andrew Greig curled a shot into the right corner of the net from the left-hand side to keep the game in the balance.
Brora then equalised in the last minute of normal time through defender Williamson, only for goalkeeper Joe Malin to get injured having ventured forward for the corner and as a result, striker McLeod went in goal.
Extra-time was a quiet affair which meant a shootout was required to decide the winner and it was McLeod who was the hero after he saved a penalty from Gauld to secure Brora’s place in the semi-finals at home to Cove on Saturday.
The visitors took the lead early on when Brindle curled a shot past keeper Andy Reid to set the reigning league champions off on the right track.
Formartine restored parity shortly afterwards as Stuart Smith sent the ball down the sideline on the left to Barbour. He then whipped in a left-footed cross to Rodger, who headed home the equaliser.
The home side’s goal didn’t seem to faze Brora and they took the lead again mid-way through the first half via an unlikely source in Williamson, who got on the end of a corner that wasn’t cleared and the defender stuck the ball past the unsighted Reid.
Only two minutes later the visitors extended their lead. Reid saved Maclean’s initial effort but the rebound only went as far as Zander Sutherland who played it again back to Maclean. This time the midfielder struck a shot under Reid to put the Cattachs 3-1 up at the break.
The hosts came out of the traps superbly and scored three goals within five minutes to turn the game on its head.
The first came three minutes into the second half when once again Barbour put the ball on a plate, this time for the arriving Anderson to score.
Shortly after that goal the home side got the equaliser. Anderson sent a delivery into the box and because of the sodden surface the ball didn’t bounce which gave Wood the opportunity to slot home the equaliser.
Two minutes later the ball dropped to Lawson, who from 25-yards struck a beautiful effort right into the top right corner, to give United the lead.
Mid-way through the second half Formartine extended their advantage after Cammy Keith crossed the ball into the back post area on to the head of the arriving Barbour. He nodded home his team’s fifth goal and looked to have put Formartine in a brilliant position to win the game.
However, within 60 seconds Brora cut the deficit to one when substitute Greig curled the ball from the left of the box into the right-hand corner of the net to once again put the game in the balance.
With five minutes to go Anderson directed a good whipped delivery on to the head of Wood who thought he had scored but was denied fantastically by Malin.
Late drama ensued as a corner in the last minute was swung in with keeper Malin up and the ball dropped to Williamson. Similar to his first goal, the defender took a touch and put a shot past the unsighted Reid to force extra-time.
However, it wasn’t all happy smiles for Brora as Malin appeared to twist his knee on the way back to his net which left him in severe pain.
The Cattachs had already used up all their subs so Malin continued to play the last couple of minutes of normal time and the opening stages of extra-time. He was then forced off and McLeod, the substitute striker, went in goals.
Extra-time had very little chances and surprisingly the home side didn’t hit speculative shots at the temporary keeper. McLeod only had to collect an easy high ball throughout the whole of extra-time.
Formartine seemed to be the only likely winners in the penalty shootout as they had an experienced keeper in Reid in goal.
However, McLeod saved Gauld’s spot-kick and then Dale Gilespie sent Reid the wrong way to put Brora through to the semi-finals, where they will play Cove Rangers next weekend.