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GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup round-up: Buckie Thistle and Forres Mechanics claim derby wins while holders Brora Rangers and Fraserburgh crash out

By Craig Christie

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The first round of the GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup produced 33 goals, penalty drama, red cards and last minute thrills.

Formartine hit back from 2-0 down at Huntly to win 3-2. Photo: Derek Lowe
Formartine hit back from 2-0 down at Huntly to win 3-2. Photo: Derek Lowe

Banffshire hosted two derby ties with Deveronvale taking on coast rivals Buckie Thistle in the first of four meetings between the teams over the next seven weeks.

Highland League leaders Buckie were expected to go through but found their Banff hosts tough to break down and it took until just before the break when Jack Murray netted his ninth goal of the season for the visitors.

It stayed 1-0 until the closing 20 minutes when a Dane Ballard header brought joy to Vale with an equalising goal.

The threat of penalties stung Buckie into action and they were awarded a controversial penalty when Marcus Goodall collided with Jay Goldie in the box. Andy Macaskill netted to restore Buckie's lead with eight minutes to go.

With Vale pushing on they were hit on the counter by a third Buckie goal scored by Max Barry.

The quarter-final draw gave Buckie an away match at Formartine United, who staged a great comeback at Huntly.

Two Robbie Foster goals in the space of a minute had Huntly 2-0 up midway through the first half and seemingly on course to avenge two losses to United this season.

However the Pitmedden men had other ideas with Jonny Crawford quickly pulling a goal back.

New signing Aidan Combe neted his first Formartine goal since his move from Fraserburgh to level and on-form Crawford plundered a stoppage time winner for the visitors - the defender's seventh goal in his last nine outings.

Forres Mechanics won 2-0 at Keith in a Moray derby with a Connor Grant own goal and a Ben Barron spot kick settled the contest.

Forres now visit Banks O' Dee, who also came back from 2-0 down to defeat holders Brora Rangers on penalties on their own patch.

Two early goals by Gregor MacDonald and Ally MacDonald set the Cattachs up nicely before Mark Gilmour's penalty pulled one back.

Brora then had Mark Nicolson sent off with three quarters of the tie still to play.

A Lachie MacLeod strike got Dee level before half time but Dale Gillespie's header edged the ten men back in front.

Brora were hanging on for victory until MacLeod netted his second in stoppage time to force the shoot-out, which the Aberdonians won 4-3.

Rothes made title chasers Brechin City dig deep for their 4-2 victory at Glebe Park.

The Speysiders twice led in the first half through goals by Aidan Wilson and Greg Morrison but the home side were awarded two penalties, the first scored by Grady McGrath and the second one a last minute Botti Biabi comnversion to complete a hat-trick on the day for the recent signing.

Brechin now visit Nairn County, who avenged a 5-1 league defeat at Lossiemouth by turning over the Coasters 3-0 at Grant Park.

Two early Ciaran Young goals set the Wee County up nicely and sub Liam Shewan's second half effort sealed the win.

For the second time this season, league champions Fraserburgh were surprisingly beaten at home by Inverurie Locos.

A first half Nathan Meres goal and a Garry Wood penalty had Locos two ahead before Sean Butcher got one back, but Locos held on to earn a visit to Turriff in the last eight.

Turriff had striker Ewan Clark to thank for their 4-0 win at home to Clach in the early kick-off.

Clark scored all four goal Turriff goals including two penalty kicks - netting on the rebound with the second one - to overtake team-mate Aaron Reid at the top of the scoring charts with 16 goals for the season.

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