GFR ahead twice, but must face replay
Gala Fairydean Rovers live to fight another day in the William Hill Scottish Cup, following a thrilling 2-2 draw in Aberdeenshire.
Hosts Formartine United were the strong favourites to progress into the third round but a draw was the fair outcome, with chances aplenty at both ends.
Torrential rain had put the tie in major doubt, with the pitch North Lodge Park in Pitmidden covered in water on Friday night.
Gala FR travelled north in the knowledge that the game could be postponed – however, the rain eased off overnight and the pitch was in immaculate condition for the game.
As expected, Formartine started strongly and pinned Gala back without creating any clear-cut chances.
Indeed, the best fell to Gala on the half-hour mark, when Marc Berry jinked past the full back and cut the ball back to Zander Murray, who was just inches wide with his effort.
But the visitors eventually took the lead in the 38th minute when Scott-Taylor MacKenzie burst through the middle and fired a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.
It could easily have been 2-0 at the interval but Murray was unfortunate to see his pile driver cannon back off the inside of the post.
Shortly after the re-start, there was another glorious opportunity for a second goal when Murray’s fierce shot was parried by the keeper and skipper Danny Galbraith, following up, just failed to connect for the rebound.
Formartine got back on level terms in the 49th minute when Garry Wood shrugged off his markers and steered the ball into the far corner of the net.
The home side took a strong grip of the game and looked the more likely to score but they were caught on the break in the 68th minute.
Niall Kelly slipped a delightful pass into the path of the strong-running Jacob Campbell and he drilled a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Gala looked comfortable at this stage and coped with anything the home side could throw at them.
But a momentarily lapse in concentration, after the home side had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty, allowed Daniel Park to pounce in the 78th minute and drill the ball into the net.
After that, there were chances at both ends for a winning goal. Formartine nearly snatched it late on but Park was foiled by a great save by Gala ‘keeper Fraser Morton.
And, right at the death, Gala could have won it when Murray’s head flick from a Galbraith corner clipped the crossbar.
With a home tie against East Kilbride awaiting the winners in the third round, the incentives are massive for both teams and an intriguing replay is at stake this Saturday at the Netherdale 3G Arena, kick off 3pm.