GOAL-hungry Formartine striker Michael Ewen hit five past his former club as United trounced Huntly 6-0 at North Lodge Park on Saturday.
The haul brought Ewen’s tally for the season to 15 and moved United into third place in the table.
It was not a case of cashing in on opponents having a bad day at the office, but a stunning and exhilarating display by the home side of pass and move football conducted with poise and flair at a blistering pace against a team that started the game ahead of them in the league table. By any measure this was Formartine’s best SHFL performance.
The match started cannily enough with each side probing away at the other and Huntly arguably shading the opening exchanges.
Five minutes in and a slick one-two between Huntly’s Polish strike force was capped by an accurate volley from Kleczkowski that the alert Shearer was well-positioned to hold comfortably.
For their part, Formartine were showing some threat at the other end as Webster swung over an out-swinging cross that very narrowly eluded both Bagshaw and Dingwall who were attacking the back post.
In the 18th minute, Webster scorched past Clark and after moving a little to the right delivered a cunning, dipping ball straight to Ewen at the back post to net from about five yards out.
Five minutes later following some superbly conducted pass and move stuff that was repeatedly pulling Huntly defenders out of position, Ewen consolidated the lead after Bagshaw and Webster had again disrupted the remaining tatters of composure in the visiting rearguard with a slick cross over move that gave the former the space to play in the pacy striker for number two.
Huntly were trying grimly to hang on and managed the occasional long-range effort. A Dorrat free from the front left of the centre circle was sent into the area where Kleczkowski managed to get in a header that carried enough menace to bring a diving response from Shearer as he tipped the ball away to safety.
This was, however, a brief interlude in what was mostly one-way traffic as Formartine increasingly dominated. The only surprise about their next goal was not how or when it came about, but who put the ball in the net.
Again it was the result of a series of quick, crisp passes starting with the terrier like McVitie in his own half and working the ball through Munro, Bagshaw and Webster before McKibben, pressing forward from defensive duties picked up the ball on the edge of the box and hammered it well beyond the reach of the beleaguered Hastie in the 31st minute.
Ewen completed his hat-trick just before half time.
This time it was more of a solo effort, bursting through the inside right channel he went past Clark to get in one- on-one with the keeper before delivering a fierce, low measured drive across the line of the advancing keeper into the far corner.
In some ways Formartine’s second half performance, although yielding only two further goals, was more impressive as they absorbed, neutralised and effectively countered all that a team of decent professionals, whose pride was wounded, threw at them.
In the 77th minute, Ewen’s pace and fitness contributed to the team’s fifth and his own fourth of the game.
It was the result of a long off-the-ball run to pick it up slightly left of centre, continue into the area before slotting it low past the keeper.
The game as contest was well over but neither Ewen nor the scoring was finished.
In the last minute Callum Bagshaw beat four defenders in succession before slipping it diagonally forward for Ewen to send home.
It is far too early to entertain title aspirations, but this win promotes Formartine into third place in SHFL with enough games in hand over both the teams above them to go top if they can win them.
Teams: Formartine United: Shearer, Bagshaw, S.Smith McKeown, M.Smith, McKibben, Munro, McVittie Ewen, Dingwall, Webster.
Subs: Park, Campbell, McGinlay, Robertson, Donald
Huntly: Hastie, Campbell, Davidson, Gray, Clark, McKenzie, Guild, Dorrat, Kleczkowski, Stariac, Stewart. Subs: Coyle, Skinner, Barney, McCarthy, Davidson.