Formartine have certainly played more fluently and won by less than they did in their 5-1 victory over a stuffy but generally less able Fort William side. With the tantalising prospect of their first cup final at this level lying a week away, it seems that some players were caught in the dilemma between performing well enough to ensure a starting berth, and carefully enough to avoid injury.
In the event it was Fort who forced the pace from the kick off with a break down the right flank with a sweeping overlapping move by Campbell and MacLellan who managed to clip the ball back to the quick feet of the veteran Gary Farquhar. The ex-St Johnstone, Caley and Brora man laid the ball off with consummate precision to Quigg whose fierce drive dipped just too late on its way over the top.
For the next ten minutes or so Fort largely gave as good as they got although they seemed to struggle with the direct running of “Squish” Munro and the trickery of Webster out wide, who started as he finished by delivering a series of splendidly varied balls into the box.
After missing an early penalty Formartine took the lead in the 27th minute. A corner on the left was taken in-swinging by Webster. The cunningly struck ball deceived forwards and defenders alike as it curled its way beyond them and the back-pedalling keeper into the far corner of the net.
Fort kept plugging away but Formartine were now in charge. Six minutes before half time United added to their lead. A forceful run down the right by Munro, a quick one two with the alert Park and the lanky midfielder was in a position about fifteen yards out to ruthlessly strike the ball beyond the reach of the diving Smith.
The second half belonged to Formartine and the only real issue was the scale of their inevitable victory. A rare Fort breakaway came in the 58th minute after a Martin fed Farquhar. A quick shuffle and a well-judged through ball and MacLellan was in one-on-one with keeper Shearer who dived to tip the powerfully-struck ball away.
Squish Munro was more than Fort could contain. In the 62nd minute he forced his way through the inside right channel almost to the bye line and flipped the ball straight onto the head of Mike Ewen who finished with a neat tidy header from close range.
Munro was far from finished and got his own second with a solo goal. Leaving at least four defenders floundering in his wake, he scorched through the home ranks before hammering the ball home from fifteen yards. The game as contest and to an extent a spectacle, was over and Formartine visibly eased off.
Fort did enough during this lapse to earn themselves a consolation goal in the 90th minute. Substitute Callum Dingwall grabbed a fifth from a couple of yards out. T
This was a competent rather than an impressive display by Formartine. With a cup final against Fraserburgh at Buckie looming they will certainly be asked more and harder questions than they were at Claggan Park.
Teams: Fort William: Smith, Trialist, Campbell, Foggo, Martin, Gillespie, Quigg, Farquhar, MacLellan, Corbett, Groat.
Subs: Barker, Hunter, Browett, McDonald, Trialist
Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, S.Smith, McKibben, M.Smith, Wilson, Munro, McVittie, Park, Ewen, Webster. Subs: Soane, Dingwall, Bagshaw, Davidson, McCaffrey