FORmArtine United put several weeks of inactivity behind them to secure a 3-1 derby victory over Inverurie Locos at Harlaw Park on Saturday.
Three goals in a 15-minute spell, including a double from Kevin Webster, in the first half proved decisive in a match which was switched from a waterlogged North Lodge Park.
United were out of the traps smartly and took the game straight to their hosts.
Dave Donald forced his way down the right flank and worked the ball diagonally across the box to predator Mike Ewen attacking the back post. He was at full stretch to reach the driven ball and hit it over the top, but even so it was clear that Formartine knew how to get in behind the home defence.
The game continued in similar vein with Formartine on the front foot and making headway mostly, but not entirely, down the right before Locos went ahead against the run of play.
Neil Maclean took a corner on the left in the eleventh minute and flipped the ball into what initially looked like no-man’s land. Begg collected the ball and placed it low past the advancing Shearer into the far corner of the net.
Formartine continued as before and created a high level of pressure and kept the ball predominantly in Locos territory.
Dan Park was leading the line well and generally creating havoc whenever he ran near the box.
In the 16th minute, such was his persistence that their determination to deny his progress to the box ended in his being manhandled off the ball and onto the ground. He had little hesitation in going down but the means of impeding him were nonetheless illegal and a free kick, barely a yard out of the box was immediately given.
Webster hit the ball with precision, spinning it above and around the wall before it dipped at the very last moment to squeeze in at the junction of bar and upright.
This was a clear statement not just of Formartine’s determination but also of their superiority in technique and from that point on it was clear that Locos had an uphill journey ahead of them.
Munro, McVittie and Bagshaw were stronger and sharper in the middle than Scott, Ross and Begg and produced a good supply of strongly-won and intelligently delivered balls to Park and Ewen whose movement and interplay regularly stretched the home rearguard who at this stage looked increasingly beleaguered.
There was little doubt about Formartine’s domination and even less that they would soon take the lead.
Following another five minutes of sustained pressure and some of the silkiest football of the game Formartine won a series of corners. In such circumstances their big centre backs, Craig McKeown and Rusty Smith move into the box to mix it up with defenders.
Trying to get to a corner taken on the right by Webster, McKeown was impeded by Adams and the penalty awarded. Webster struck the ball low and hard to the right of Reid who had guessed left.
Now Formartine were not only still in control but in the lead and still Locos had no answer to the repeated waves of pressure.
It took no more than a further five minutes for Formartine to establish a two-goal cushion.
In the 22nd minute some superbly orchestrated play down the right saw Donald finding Bagshaw who beat Bain and Maclean to feed Ewen who had made a blistering run through the centre.
The ball was released with perfect time and weight and Ewen simply drew the keeper and slid the ball past him for number three.
Locos started in more determined looking vein with what seemed to be a tighter midfield formation and Formartine found it much more difficult to work the ball through to their strikers than they had earlier.
Around the fiftieth minute they mounted their first sustained barrage on the Formartine area. A McKeown clearance went as far as Low at the edge of the box who got in a decent drive that fizzed past Shearer’s right upright.
A minute later and they were back again, this time a Bain drive rebounded off the base of the same upright but Gauld could not quite control the ball as came towards him. For the next minute or two Formartine were clearly struggling to contain the resurgent Locos.
However, they are made of stern stuff and did contain the best the hosts had to offer and then continued to hold their shape, work their way back into the game and regain control.
Inverurie Locos: Reid Young, Maclean, Bain, Adams, Scott, Ross, Begg, Gauld, Mackay, Low. Subs: Gordon Souter, Coull, Maitland, Gray.
Formartine United: Shearer, Donald, S.Smith, McKeown, M.Smith, Bagshaw, Munro, McVittie, Park, Ewen, Webster. Subs: Dingwall, McKibben, McGinlay, Davidson, Wilson.