After a closely contested tie last week at North Lodge Park, both sides made the trip to Harlaw Park with Motherwell waiting in the wings for the winning team of this Scottish Cup third round replay.
Cove took the lead early on after poor defending from the Formartine defence allowed Jamie Watt to smash the ball home. Cove doubled their lead going into the break thanks to Daniel Park. Formartine came out a slightly improved side and got a goal back through Neil Gauld taking advantage of a poor Eric Watson pass back.
However, Cove regained their two-goal advantage mid-way through the second half through Blair Yule and killed the game off within the last 10 minutes courtesy of a goal from Harry Milne, to set-up a glamour tie with Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday 9th January.
This game always looked like it was going to be a cagey affair. Both teams started very cautiously at the back, with the front three of both sides getting some joy, but they couldn’t find the net.
Cove thought they had taken the lead as early as the 15th minute as Yule’s effort from 22 yards hit the upright and then rebounded off goalkeeper Andy Reid’s back, which sent the ball into the net. But the linesman flagged for offside as Yule's shot travelled through a Cove player’s legs, which meant he was interfering with play.
Only two minutes after the offside incident the home side took the lead as the Formartine defence failed to clear the ball, which landed straight at Watt’s feet and from 12 yards the forward was never going to miss as he struck a shot high into the net.
Formartine then had a flurry of corners which nearly found the net. The first was swung in by Scott Barbour and the ball almost ended up creeping in at the back post, but was cleared for another corner. The next corner was nearly identical, but from Jamie Masson and was cleared off the line.
Park nearly doubled Cove’s lead in the 37th minute. Connor Scully’s perfectly-weighted cross was just missed by Park at the back post and any contact most likely would have seen the ball hit the back of the net.
Cove doubled their lead not long before half-time. Park received the ball around 25 yards out and took one touch, before directing a lovely effort into the top-right corner, which gave Reid no chance and put the home side 2-0 up going into the break.
Formartine came out in the early stages of the second half a lot stronger and nearly got a goal back just three minutes into the second period, as Cammy Keith headed the ball back into the danger area and on to the head of Gauld, who from all of five yards out put his effort wide.
The visitors did soon get a goal back and it came from Gauld getting on the end of Watson’s poor back pass back to stand-in keeper John McCafferty. Gauld took the ball around McCafferty and from a reasonably tight angle put it in to the net to get Formartine right back into this game.
Formartine felt they should have had a penalty when Barbour’s cross appeared to hit the hand of a sliding Cove defender, however referee Alan Newlands wasn’t having any of it and waved play on.
The away side nearly found an equaliser when Stuart Smith got on the end of Masson’s delivery, but from only a couple of yards out he put his effort over the bar and Cove breathed a sigh of relief.
Formartine were slightly on top in the early stages of the half but it was Cove that extended their lead in the tie. Daryl Nicol led the breakaway from a Formartine corner and he picked out Watt on the right-hand side. The forward put in a delightful low cross into the path of Yule, who slotted in a shot, sending the Cove fans and their management team absolutely berserk.
Cove extended their lead even further as Park played a lovely cross into the path of substitute Milne, who from 10 yards volleyed a shot into the bottom right corner and wrapped up the tie for the Aberdeen side.
Keith had a good opportunity to pull one goal back, but McCafferty read his effort all the way and turned the ball over for a corner which led to nothing.