Formartine ease past Clachnacuddin to top Highland League

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Clachnacuddin FC 0 Formartine United 5

Formartine reached top place in the Highland League for the first time in several years showing superb form in another display of ruthless dominance.

They scored five goals without reply in successive games and again four of them were scored in the second half.

Julian Wade scored a brace against Clachnacuddin. Picture: Kyle Ritchie
Julian Wade scored a brace against Clachnacuddin. Picture: Kyle Ritchie

Almost perversely the home side came close to opening the scoring when a long ball out of defence by Morrison reached Macphee out wide left.

He broke towards the front left corner of the box and delivered a fizzing ball across the goal that had Macdonald fully stretched to push round the back post for an unrewarded corner.

However, any notion that the Lillywhites were going to prove a significant threat to United was almost instantly demolished with chilling efficiency less than a minute later when Thomas dispossessed Bunce in centre midfield and fed the ball forward right to Lawrence who played it long and drooping into the home box. Stewart challenged the keeper forcing him into push the ball forward left into free space about 10 yards forward left. The predatory Rodger read the situation and in a flash was onto the ball to slam it past Maclennan for the opener before four minutes had elapsed.

It takes more than a quick cheeky opener to demoralise any team at this level but it certainly spurred the buoyant visitors to begin to boss proceedings and impose their pattern on the play. They went for a high press approach and soon had most of the action located in Clach territory.

Emslie, Lobban, Lawrence and Rodger began to control shape and tempo in midfield and Clach struggled to do anything significant in the visitors’ half.

Occasionally Ferguson and/or Bunce showed some intent to take things to United but for the most part their efforts looked sporadic, random and uncoordinated.

They never developed things to the point of posing any threat to a United back four that looked comfortably in control and where McLean in particular was adept at turning defence into attack.

United had the lion’s share of territory and possession and were unlucky not to have gone further ahead around the half hour mark when twice within a minute shots rebounded from the Clach crossbar denying both Stewart and Campbell.

The second half showed even more dominance from Formartine who attacked incessantly. The front pair of Stewart and Campbell, were big, strong and quick and repeatedly caused panic in the home final third.

Completely consistent with this Stewart harried Morrison until he got the ball but was heading right with it until with a cunning back heel he reversed its direction into the path of Campbell 15 yards out and central. He slipped it left into the path of Emslie who ripped a fierce shot well clear of the keeper for United’s second.

United pressure continued after this decisive 60th minute goal and three minutes later captain Rodger completed his double with the one that irretrievably sealed Clach’s fate.

A throw-in from a step shy of the right corner flag by McLean (every bit as valuable as corner a kick) was hurled into the goalmouth in front of the back post causing a lot of confusion. Rodger knew what to do, nipped in and netted number three.

It was sub time for United and to complete Clach’s woes they brought on Lisle, the fastest man on the park and Dominica international striker Julian Wade whose quick fire brace completed the final score line.

The first of the pair in the 75th minute followed a lofted volley on the turn from Lawrence at the left side of the halfway line. Wade was after it in a flash, slipped his marker and crashed an 18-yard drive past the keeper .

A wave of United attack following a free kick saw United’s forwards making runs in different directions as the ball was played long and left.

Wade was onto it and split Cormack and Morrison before driving the ball low past the left hand of the keeper to complete the scoreline with five minutes left.

A Clach breakaway during a United press saw a penalty awarded to them a minute before the end but Ferguson hit it high and wide to complete their misery.

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