Evening Express

Irn-Bru Cup: Formartine pride despite 2-1 defeat on penalties to Coleraine

Formartine met the League of Ireland's Coleraine away.

Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson was proud of his side after their agonising Irn-Bru Challenge Cup defeat.

The Pitmedden team were beaten 2-1 on penalties by Coleraine on Saturday evening after a 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds.

The Highland League side took the lead in the second-round tie against the team top of the Northern Irish Premiership.

On 20 minutes Ryan Stott won the ball high up the pitch and crossed for Archie Macphee to tap home.

The Bannsiders equalised just after the half hour thanks to Josh Carson’s volley.

On 35 minutes United keeper Kevin Main saved Eoin Bradley’s penalty.

With four minutes left, Formartine had Graeme Rodger sent off for a second booking, but the match finished 1-1 and went to penalties.

Stuart Anderson saw his spot-kick saved by Chris Johns and Gary Fraser hit a post with United’s first two, but Ian Parkhill and Carson were denied by Main.

Macphee chipped over the bar before Gareth McConaghie scored for the hosts. Andrew Greig made it 1-1 before Bradley netted and Conor Gethins missed to send Coleraine through.

Lawson said: “We’re absolutely gutted. I’m very proud of the boys and the performance they put in – they were excellent.

“We were a bit shaky for the first 10 minutes.

“We maybe gave Coleraine more respect than we should have early on, but we played our way into the game and scored a good goal.

“We lost a very soft penalty, that Kevin Main saved, but that was the way the officials went all night.

“The boys dug in and didn’t let it affect them and I’m really gutted for them.

“The players deserve massive credit. The last couple of results we’ve had have been very poor by the standards we’ve set.

“But on Saturday the boys raised the bar and it sets down the challenge to continue that.

“I said to them after the game that penalties are a lottery, but if you miss four penalties you can’t expect to progress.

“But up until that point I couldn’t have been prouder of the boys.”

On the missed penalties Lawson added: “The only complaint I have is that we’ve missed a lot over the last year, not just on Saturday.

“That is disappointing, I don’t know if it’s a mental thing – it seems to be.”

The trip was a challenging one to organise for Formartine and Lawson said: “Credit to the people at the club who organised the trip. And credit has to go to the supporters who came over as well.

“It wasn’t easy for them and it was great that a team like Formartine could take some fans away to a game like this.

“And the boys gave them a performance that warranted all the effort to get to the game.”