Last season’s runners-up Formartine came from two goals behind to gain a point at home to Forres Mechanics.
The visitors scored twice in the opening half, through a stunning free-kick from Scott Graham and a powerful finish from Martin Groat.
United fought back and got a goal back in the opening minutes of the second half through Scott Barbour. Midfielder Graeme Rodger then got the equalising goal, however neither team could grab the winner.
Forres boss Charlie Rowley thought his side got what they deserved. Charlie added to come to: “North Lodge Park to a team like Formartine who has only been once this season is a step in the right direction for us.”
He added: “Being under the cosh at 2-2, it’s certainly a point gained.”
Formartine Boss Kris Hunter felt his side dominated possession in the first half, though his side were flat in the final third.
Hunter felt when he changed his system to four up top: “It put them on the back foot and was a totally different game in the second half with it being one-way traffic.”
He added: “You can’t question the desire shown by the players in the second half”.
Hunter also revealed that Jamie Masson had signed a three-year deal. He said: “Jamie will give us a boost and I need players like him to play in my team; players with energy, ability and speed that I feel like we are just lacking in certain areas.”
The Can-Cans took the lead early on in the first half after Graham’s 30-yard free-kick dipped over keeper Andy Reid.
Forres doubled their lead after the home side failed to clear their lines and Groat rifled an effort from just inside the box into the top of the net.
United came more into the game had a few good chances, with the best falling to Barbour, but he couldn’t quite dink an effort over keeper Stuart Knight from close range, after good link-up play with Gary Wood.
Formartine started the second half like they finished the first and took only seven minutes to open their tally for the day. Substitute Max Berton beat his man before playing a pass to Barbour, who beat Knight with a low shot from 10 yards out.
The home side were well in the driving seat now and were unlucky not to draw level after Berton squared a pass to Wood, but the striker could only fire his shot from close range over the bar.
United’s pressure paid off when they got their equaliser through midfielder Rodger. Wood cut the ball back into the danger area from the bye-line into the path of Barbour. The former Fraserburgh forward fluffed his effort which set it up perfectly on the volley for Rodger to tie up the match.
Late on it was the visiting side with the best chance to win the game however goalkeeper Reid was quick to get down to save an effort from Lee Fraser.
Looking forward to playing Clach on Saturday, Mechanics boss Rowley said it “will be a tight affair”, however he is concerned with the amount of players carrying knocks, while midfielder Craig McGovern is out for six weeks with a knee injury.
Next up for Formartine is the champions Cove and on that match Hunter said: “The bad record we have against them needs to change.” United failed to beat their rivals in any of the matches between the teams last season.