Evening Express

Lawson hails Gethins for crucial Irn-Bru Cup strike

United's Conor Gethins and Locos' Connor Rennie Picture by Darrell Benns

Player-manager Paul Lawson had praise for matchwinner Conor Gethins after his goal sent Formartine United through to the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup second round.

The Pitmedden side edged past Inverurie Locos 1-0 at Harlaw Park thanks to Gethins’ second-half strike.

United will find out who they face in round two tomorrow afternoon.

The win was Formartine’s second in four days over Inverurie after a 4-2 Highland League victory on Saturday.

Lawson said: “I’m delighted with the result in the end.

“I thought our patience and performance deserved it.

“They were sitting in a bit and we had to find ways to break them down and, credit to them, they made it difficult.”

However, he said that after the goal he was confident his side would get over the line.

“Conor does what Conor does: he’s a penalty box striker, he was there for the rebound and it’s a good finish.

“We speak about the squad we’ve got and the depth, and Conor has scored hundreds of goals at this level and he’s proven again what he’s all about.

“I thought the service to him in the first half wasn’t the best but Andy Greig and Ryan Stott did well in the wide areas as well.”

Lawson was also pleased to see his side keep a first clean sheet of the season, and praised keeper Ewen Macdonald for a great injury time save from Jordan Leyden’s deflected free-kick.

He added: “We’ve been losing some silly goals of late so it’s about cutting out individual errors.

“The two centre-halves were excellent, and Archie Macphee was brilliant.

“Ewen pulled that one off late on and it’s great for him.

“His performances have been good and he deserved that.

“It’s a great boost for him because he’s a good goalie and he proved it.”

On 20 minutes Locos missed a great chance. Neil Gauld got free on the right and crossed low for Chris Angus, who somehow tapped wide from six yards with the goal gaping.

At the other end Stott had a lob hooked off the line just before half-time.

In the second period Gethins struck the right post on the hour with a 25-yard free-kick.

But a minute later GETHINS had his goal when Andy Reid parried Greig’s low shot and the striker tapped in the rebound from close range.

Graeme Rodger hit the left post late on when he could have sealed victory, before goalie Macdonald kept out Leyden’s last-gasp free-kick to ensure Formartine progressed.

Locos boss Neil Cooper said: “We had six players unavailable, but I couldn’t fault my players.

“I thought we had the better chances but didn’t take them.”