United made the short trip along the coast to Banff where they faced face local rivals Deveronside in their third Grill League Cup fixture.
With Maud winning their opening three games United could no longer reach the knockout stages, however their hosts could with a victory against the Broch and then a winner takes all final game against Maud.
Instead the Broch threw a spanner in the works of Deveronside’s cup campaign by running out 3 –1 winners.
In a superb opening thirty minutes United found themselves three goals up and had numerous other opportunities to put the game out of sight, however, as is United’s want they did it the hard way.
Seconds before half-time Deveronside scored to pull themselves back into it, even more incredibly United found themselves playing the whole of the second half after Alan Reid saw red for hand ball on the line, United held on with trialist keeper Martin Sinclair impressing considerably.
United kicked off against the breeze and immediately asserted their authority, Bisset received the ball wide right and cut in before slamming his shot just wide of Tait’s far post.
In fact Tait pulled off a number of good early stops as United poured forward.
On 15 minutes, Falconer thought he had opened the scoring when a Lawrence through ball saw him flick the ball past Tait but Gray got back in time to clear off the line.
United were not to be thwarted, on 17 minutess a lovely move involving Rollo, Lawrence and Bisset saw the striker clip the ball onto the chest of his strike partner Falconer whose turn and volley just inside the penalty area was executed to perfection and the ball flew past Tait for the opener.
Almost straight from the kick off United fashioned another chance, a goalmouth scramble saw the ball break to Taylor but his shot bounced back off the inside of the post and Murdo scrambled the ball out for a corner.
From Taylor’s corner Innes caused havoc with Deveronside clearing only as far as McLeman 20yards out and his left foot volley seemed destined for the net only for a great clearance by Thompson off the line.
Deveronside created a decent opportunity on 27 minutess when Gray leapt highest for a corner but Sinclair in the Broch goal held on well.
United replied with gusto, Rollo forced a corner off Legge and Taylor swept the ball over from the left where Innes rose to head the ball back across goal where Falconer gleefully stabbed home at the second attempt.
Despite the game entering a bit of a lull United managed to grab a third.
Noble’s quick free-kick found Reid and his flick, just inside the 18 yard box, to Lawrence was brilliantly nodded down to the lurking Falconer who quickly fired in a drive that Tait did well to parry out but Bisset was waiting 16 yards out and he lashed the ball into the top corner for a third Broch goal.
United seemed to relax somewhat and Deveronside forced their way back into the game.
A Mcleay grasscutter was well held by Sinclair on 39 minutes, but Deveronside got themselves back into it right on the stroke of half-time.
Noble gave away a careless corner and Thompson whipped in a great ball to the back post where McLeay crashed home a header from three yards.
Worse was to follow for United as the teams began the second half.
Deveronside piled forward from the kick off and Kinghorn split the Broch defence and Cogan ran in Sinclair blocked his first effort but the ball broke to Cogan again and he thudded the ball goalward where Reid naively blocked a certain goal with his hand.
The referee had no option but to send him off and award a penalty.
McLeay saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Sinclair to maintain his sides two goal advantage.
Two goal Falconer was sacrificed for midfielder David Ross and the injured Lawrence made way for Craig Ritchie as United looked to keep their shape and discipline.
Deveronside were undoubtedly on top now and wave after wave of attacks broke on the United defence, which was being superbly marshalled by David Innes and Darren Ross.
Deveronside were dictating possession, however it was United who looked like scoring as on 59mins Bisset ran clear only to be denied by a great stop by Tait.
Minutes later Bisset again ran clear only for Tait to again stand firm.
Deveronside created a good chance on 68mins when Thompson’s cross was headed wide by the unmarked McLeay, while Noble was lucky to see his clearance from Thompson’s wicked cross fly inches over his own bar.
Deveronside kept possession very well but could not muster much in the way of gilt edged chances, whilst United threw on Fraser Watt for the tireless Iain Bisset and the substitute found himself in a good position only to drag his effort wide from 20 yards.
The game eventually reached its climax without much more action and United can be happy with a hard earned win against a good Deveronside outfit.
Manager Gary Sim spoke to The Herald afterwards: “It was a good performance for two reasons.
“The first half we played well and took our chances, we’ve been drumming into the lads to take more shots and it certainly paid off. The 2nd half was a great team display as we kept our shape well and although we undoubtedly concede possession we still looked dangerous on the break.”
United travel to Dufftown for their final Grill League Cup game on Saturday August 20.