Barry Robson was able to add to his regular under 18s side with Jack Milne, Evan Towler, Kevin Hanratty and Ryan Duncan, who added some senior football experience to the young side. The hosts, who are in the middle of a strong Highland League campaign, lined up with a selection of former Dons youth talents, including Jonathan Crawford, Stuart Smith, Aaron Norris and more recently Mark Gallagher and Jack McIver.
The cup clash saw minimal clear-cut chances for either side in the opening stages. Cole Anderson, son of recent Aberdeen Hall of fame inductee and Dons legend Russell had a shot saved by Oluyemi in the visitor's goal. It was Duncan with the first Aberdeen chance of the encounter, his shot sailing comfortably over the bar.
Aberdeen grew into the match as it went on. Looking energetic going forward, their dynamism in the attacking areas was a struggle to contain on the sodden surface, Hanratty put his first chance of the game wide.
Just after the half hour mark the Dons had the lead in the tie. Hanratty and Ryan Duncan were able to link up superbly well as they both drove towards the Formartine box, Hanratty tried his luck from the edge of the area, his effort could only be palmed back out into the middle of the goal and just like he was on Friday night against Rangers, it was Alfie Bavidge who was waiting to push the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0 Aberdeen.
Buoyed by the goal, Milne found himself in a good bit of space and unleashed an effort from the best part of 30 yards, his attempt off the mark and behind for a goal kick. Ryan Duncan soon followed up with a high effort of his own, and that was to be it for the first half.
HT. Formartine 0-1 Aberdeen.
The second half was dominated by the Highland League hosts.
Playing down the hill, Daniel Park forced a good save out of Oluyemi early in proceedings. Minutes later the young keeper was called into action again, this time producing an even better stop after a period of Formartine pressure that the young Dons team just about managed to escape from unscathed.
On the hour mark Anderson, who had a fine game, had one of the best chances yet for Formartine after finding himself alone at the back post, but the forward couldn't quite adjust his body in time and the chance went abegging.
The one-way traffic continued into the half; Evan Towler managed to clear a goal-bound effort off the line. The on-loan Cove defender's stoppage was in vain as soon after Julian Wade finally and deservedly brought Formartine level, as the 44-time capped Dominica striker blasted the ball past Oluyemi and into the roof of the net.
Soon after Aberdeen found themselves behind.
Recently introduced substitute Aidan Combe produced a piece of individual brilliance, refusing to get knocked off the ball despite several challenges, and curling a great shot into the top right corner of the goal. With less than 15 to play, Formartine had the lead, 2-1.
The young Dons, who had rarely threatened in the second half looked down and out.
But Aberdeen responded very positively to the threat of defeat and elimination from the competition, and eventually they were rewarded with the equaliser. Findlay Marshall, who had an outstanding game in the middle of the park, jinked his way into the Formartine penalty box and was able to tee up Bavidge at the back post who made no mistake, bundling the ball over the line for the leveller.
With a penalty shoot-out looming, Aberdeen pushed forward with the hope of winning the highly competitive tie in regulation time. Hanratty passed up the pick of the chances after failing to flick a Bavidge cross past Ewen MacDonald. Bavidge then did well to create room for a shot which went inches over, and the striker went very close again when he charged down a MacDonald kick, the ball spinning just wide.
The last chance of the game fell to Duncan with a shot from distance, his effort was goal bound but not enough to sneak the win without having to endure a penalty shootout.
With both teams converting both their first two penalties, Duncan and Hanratty scoring for Aberdeen, Findlay Marshall stepped up and confidently converted. It was the first Formartine goal scorer Wade who blinked first at the crucial moment soon after, his penalty was a good height for Oluyemi but it was still a great save by the keeper who had a great game, diving to his right. Advantage Aberdeen.
Adam Emslie made no mistake with the Dons 4th, putting the ball low and to the right of Macdonald, much like the previous Aberdeen penalties. Substitute Scott Lisle scored for Formartine, but it was too little too late, and Alfie Bavidge stepped up to win the shoutout for Aberdeen. The man who simply can't stop putting the ball in the back of the net done it once more for Barry Robson's side, after an intense 90 minutes and a nerve-jangling penalty shoot-out Aberdeen had eventually won the tie.
It was an exciting cup game on a bitterly chilly night, and ultimately one that the young Dons team will look back on with great satisfaction after digging deep to get the better of an experienced senior team - this competition allows the youngsters to be exposed to a tougher environment and Barry Robson will be delighted with the way his young players coped. Aberdeen will now meet Buckie Thistle in January. Credit to Formartine as well, who look a side who have been very well coached by Stuart Anderson and Martin Skinner.
FT: Formartine 2-2 Aberdeen (Aberdeen win 5-3 on penalties)