FORMARTINE took the bragging rights in this local derby but the 2-1 win over Turriff United was a far from convincing performance at North Lodge.
Two first half goals put United in a commanding position, however the home side failed to capitalise and Turriff pulled one back near the end to make victory much harder than it should have been.
After a brisk opening flurry by the visitors, Formartine began to impose their game. However during that opening spell, Turriff showed that they carried significant menace when a burst of slick passing between Harris and Gauld set up McKenzie who made a well-timed, late run to head not too far over the top left corner.
Formartine countered with a slick breakaway down the right with a good overlap between Munro and the energetic Dan Park that produced a corner. Both Formartine’s big centre backs, Rusty Smith and Craig McKeown, came up for it and ex-Dundee pivot, McKeown made a prodigious leap to produce a thundering header that was only slightly high of target.
United were beginning to settle down and the first signs of this were that their attacks were sustained for longer periods and went through more phases than those of the visitors. They were shading possession in midfield where Tommy Wilson was running the show.
And it was Wilson who grabbed the opener in the 36th minute with a piece of sheer class.
After another multi-phase home onslaught on the Turra rearguard, the ball broke out to the old maestro who had quietly moved into the gap outside the box around 20 yards from goal.
The ball broke from a ruck of defenders straight to him. The ball flew from his right foot at such a rate that Coutts could do nothing beyond admiring its net-bound progress.
This was the goal the home side both needed and deserved and the growth in confidence was palpable and they began to really dominate proceedings.
Passes were played quick and crisp and the ball was moved around with pace and precision.
In the 40th minute Dan Park was on to a well-timed through ball from Wilson, jinked past Davidson and cutting in from the left fired in a vicious low curler that had the keeper well beaten but shaved the wrong side of the back post.
Two minutes later he was in on the act again, but this time, on the supply side as he shook off the attentions of Anderson, got in one-on-one with the keeper but rather than driving the ball home from a tightish angle, slipped it a few feet to his left for Callum Dingwall to have simplest of finishes which he achieved by simply side-footing the ball gently into the unguarded net.
The two nil half-time lead did not exactly put Formartine on easy street but had they scored another early in the second spell that surely would have been the case.
They really should have achieved this after Stephen Jeffrey, who looks more impressive with every game, pushed forward down the right to play in Park. He slipped the ball forward into the path of striking partner Ewen who was then clear in on goal with only Coutts to beat. Uncharacteristically the normally lethal striker got his head back and thumped the ball over the top.
Turriff kept going and in the 83rd minute they gained the consolation of a fine headed goal through Dave McKenzie from a deep cross from substitute Allan.
That provided a warning which Formartine, to their credit, were able to respond by tightening their marking throughout and for all that their visitors had scented the possibility of snatching some sort of result, the home side were in enough control to retain their lead fairly comfortably until the end.
Teams: Formrtine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, S.Smith, McKeown, M.Smith, Wilson, Munro, McVittie, Park, Dingwall, Ewen. Subs. Davidson, Soane, Bagshaw, McKibben, McCaffrey
Turriff United:Coutts, Davidson, Bowden,Anderson, Simpson, Young, Gauld, MacKenzie, Harris, Davidson, Muirhead. Subs: Chalmers, Allan, Campbell, Fraser, Reid,