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Jonny Smith scored a hat-trick as Cove cruised through to the Aberdeenshire Shield final where they will play Fraserburgh at a venue to be confirmed.

John Sheran was “really impressed with the team performance” and stating he felt like Smith is “really hitting form” and was over the moon with the win.

Kris Hunter was obviously really frustrated, with him questioning the willingness to win of his current lot of players and hinting at new signings at the end of the season.

Cove opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half when Nicol’s shot was saved by Andy Reid and Smith was there to power home the rebound. Only 60 seconds later the visitors doubled their lead as Smith slotted the ball under the on-rushing keeper.

Formartine had a glimmer of hope mid-way through the second half when Neil Gauld’s ball across goal was turned into his own net by Eric Watson. Cove regained their two goal cushion with 15 minutes to go as substitute Connor Scully found Smith at the back post to volley home his hat-trick. The visitors killed the game with seven minutes to go after Daryl Nicol capitalised on Scott Henry’s mistake to go round Reid and score.

Both teams started edgy with neither side creating anything and possession was being lost every few seconds. The first half chance didn’t come until 20 minutes in when Smith’s low drive from the right hand side was saved well by Reid and the follow up was cleared.

The home side thought they had taken the lead when Stuart Anderson’s shot from the edge of the box hit the crossbar and Stuart Smith’s headed effort from the rebound was headed off the line by Cove defender Harry Milne to keep the score goalless.

The visitors opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half when Nicol broke away and hit a low drive at Reid, whose save went only as far as Smith to smash home from close range and open the scoring.

Only 60 seconds later Smith doubled his and Cove’s tally when Nicol played him through and he struck the ball low under the on-rushing Reid from just inside the box.

Formartine had a glimmer of hope midway through the second half when Gauld went round Stuart Mackenzie and from a tight angle put the ball across goal, which led to Watson turning it into his own net.

Shortly after substitute Cammy Keith had a free header from Jamie Masson’s free kick to put the home side level, but his header from the penalty spot went just wide of the target.

The visitors regained their two-goal cushion with 15 minutes to go when substitute Scully crossed the ball from the left hand side to the back post, where Smith with volleyed it home to secure the match ball.

Cove killed off the game with eight minutes to go when Nicol capitalised on Henry’s mistake, took the ball round Reid and slotted home from just inside the box.

Scully nearly rubbed salt in the wounds when his right footed drive rebounded off the post and away to keep the score down to only four.

Reporter: Lewis Gordon

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Rank Teams Played GD Points
1 Buckie Thistle 34 94 82
2 Cove Rangers 34 79 82
3 Brora Rangers 34 80 81
4 Formartine United 34 35 73
5 Fraserburgh 34 29 63
6 Forres Mechanics 34 21 58
7 Turriff United 34 14 58
8 Wick Academy 34 23 53
9 Inverurie Locos 34 18 50
10 Keith 34 -14 47
11 Clachnacuddin 34 -24 41
12 Lossiemouth 34 -18 38
13 Nairn County 34 -17 34
14 Huntly 34 -43 34
15 Deveronvale 34 -24 30
16 Rothes 34 -69 26
17 Fort William 34 -92 11
18 Strathspey Thistle 34 -92 9

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