Formartine United 7 : Keith 1
Colin Keenan viewed the action:
Every once in a while a football team brings off just about everything it tries and all the disparate parts of the team suddenly come together to produce a memorable performance where everything clicks sublimely into place. It was Keith’s misfortune to meet Formartine on such a night. They are a young side, fairly well organised and on the limited number of occasions that they were allowed the space in which to do so, they put the ball about with some shape and decent enough purpose. Formartine however set and maintained a blistering pace that left Keith trailing in their wake and unable apart from a wee spell in the first half and the odd moment in the second, to contain.
Before a minute had elapsed, Formartine were in their faces; before ten had gone they had them by the short and curlies and were a goal to the good. In the first minute a very crisp break down the right side, initiated by Munro saw Dingwall and Madle piling in at the back post as the ball whizzed past an inch ahead of them. The move was good but the timing just a tad out. It was clear that the timing and rhythm were improving with every wave of attack – and there were plenty of them. Three minutes later Madle bursting through the inside right channel was brought down by Milne a yard or two shy of the right corner of the box. A thunderous free kick by McKeown was smothered by keeper Bell who managed just to get the sting off the ball before flopping onto it. Although Keith made the occasional foray into Formartine territory, even this early in the game, it was clear that Formartine were both in the mood and on song and that goals would come.
The first arrived in the 8th minute in the form of a very assured finish from Marek Madle. The North Lodgers maintained their pressure knocking the ball around at pace and with devastating accuracy. McKay, preferred to Keith, and making his first Formartine start in 3 years was a joy to behold – he has shed weight and his old pace and vigour have returned to allow him to play an outstanding role up front – holding the ball and bringing other forwards into play, leading the line with aplomb. A spell of Formartine pressure down the right driven largely by McKeown and Napier produced a throw- in about level with the front of the box. McKeown hefted it into the mix for the ball to be played by McVitie across to Madel who spun round to drive the ball home from near the back post.
The second goal came from Callum Dingwall who normally comes off the bench to play up front in the latter stages of games. On from the start he revelled in his deeper lying position and because of MacKay’s capacity to hold the ball and orchestrate things up front he got the service he needed to emerge as a significant predator. In the 14th minute, Hay started the move from the back and Munro and McVitie developed it by moving the ball slickly down the inside left channel before feeding it in to the young local loon who turned slickly to make himself the space to clip the ball neatly past the keeper for number two.
Keith were clinging on rather desperately to the super slick and blisteringly fast Formartine passing game and gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 19th minute. Collinson had a go from twenty yards but the ball was beaten away by Shearer. Keith maintained their impetus and MacDonald swung the ball left to right across the goal face where it bobbled about off a couple of heads on its way to somewhere near the back post where Massie managed to force himself between the keeper and his left upright to bundle the ball into the net.
Formartine’s response was to resume normal service and return to their rampage. McKeown powered his way from his own half through the middle scattering midfielders on the way until he set up McVitie with one on one from the edge of the box. The midfielders powerful low drive couldn’t have been more than an inch wide of the keeper’s right post. Formartine pressure was more than any team at this level could be reasonably expected to resist for any length of time and it took only ten more minutes for their next, a slice of vintage Kaiser. Anderson and Dingwall had combined to play in McKAY through the inside left route. In a flash he was in on the keeper who was out super-smart to close him down. The astute striker chipped the ball over the keeper jinked round him collected it at the other side then slipped it as cool as you like into the net.
Four more minutes of Formartine precision passing later, Dingwall doubled his tally. A minute after being denied by an excellent save at the back from Daniel Bell, he latched onto a beautifully delivered deep right to left cross from Napier with an immaculately timed late run that flummoxed defenders and banged the ball in at the back stick to set the half time tally at 4-1.
Straight from the 2nd period kick off, the ball was played out wide left to Dingwall who set off at blistering pace down the wing, turned right just before the corner to slip the ball across to meet the run through the centre of Madle who was onto it in a flash and banged the ball past the keeper for number 5. Clean, simple, vicious.
Formartine’s tendency to fade when ahead did not materialise: the rearrangement of personnel – partly but by no means wholly, injury induced showed what competition for places can do to a squad. They sustained their blitzkrieg throughout and despite Keith battening down the hatches by flooding their own penalty area they, or to be more precise, Marek Madle managed two more goals at roughly twenty minute intervals. Keith managed to slow down the flow but were unable to fully thwart it. The Formartine defence of Munro, Smith, McKeown, and Hay moved forward and took turns in supporting the attacking efforts and each in their way contributed to the process in different ways at different times.
The pace and determined trickery of the persistent Napier allied to the bite of McVitie and the silkier skills of Anderson provided quality supply for what at times became almost a three man forward line with Dingwall and Madle playing off McKay. Whatever the format, it was devastatingly effective. Marek’s next goal – in the 67th minute came from an Anderson/ McVitie build up that saw the former whip the ball across the goal as Marek thundered in at the far post to bang it home.
With five minutes to go he profited from a new Formartine weapon as sub Duguid unleashed a phenomenal throw in right into the goal mouth. Madle expected what Keith defenders simply didn’t [Dewchie’s throw ins are utterly exceptional in the distance he gets on them] and got his head to the ball just enough to nudge it beyond the reach of the dumfounded keeper.
The game was watched by Colin Cameron, manager of Berwick Rangers who Formartine face in the next round of the Scottish Cup. What he saw would have given him little cause for comfort.
Formartine United: Shearer, Munro, Smith, McKeown, Hay, Dingwall, Napier, McVitie, McKay, Anderson, Madle Subs: Keith, Clark, Duguid, Booth, Watson.
Keith: Bell, Hutcheon, Smith, Milne, Stewart, Strachan, Cormack, Collinson, Ewen, Massie, McDonald. Subs: Keith, Ritchie, Henderson, Flaherty, McInnes, Griffiths, Dey.