This was one of those games where each side got the least they could reasonably have expected from it yet neither got as much as they had hoped.
Despite the slender margin of victory recorded in this scoreline, there was still a clearly identifiable difference in class between the two sides.
However, you can’t take it away from them: the Grantown side is definitely an improving one.
Predictably, Formartine were the first to show with an attacking run down the right flank by wing back Michie.
Skipping neatly past Cairns he made space from which to clip across a tempting ball towards the penalty spot where Roger got an attacking boot to it at the same time as McShane got a defensive one and the ball spun away to safety.
On the other side, a move started by Smith and Dingwall brought Barbour into play near the left corner of the penalty area and although he did the hard work in wrong footing Finnis to get a sight of goal, the finish was snatched and not cleanly struck before bobbling its way past McCallum’s right upright.
Formartine had by far the bulk of possession and the ball was confined to Thistle territory for sustained periods.
In the 18 th minute Anderson who generally patrolled a beat just outside the visiting area picking up balls from defence and recycling them back into the mix in more dangerous areas, latched onto a hemipygic clearance by Fraser and chipped it over to Barbour who was denied a neat opener when the ball was nudged onto the base of the left post and eventually to safety.
A quick exchange of passes with Anderson set him up for a chance in a less crowded penalty area.
From just off the left corner of the box he cracked a thumping low drive that McCallum parried but could not hold down at the base of his right upright.
Following up on his initial effort, DINGWALL was onto the rebound in a flash and lashed the ball into the net for the goal the game in general, and his team in particular, sorely needed.
It had taken them 35 minutes to get there but the effect of the goal was to release a lot of the frustration that had been building in Formartine ranks and their play now seemed to look more confident.
After a 10 minute period of banging about in and around an over-crowded penalty box the canny Anderson, prised open the defensive lock with a decisive second.
A corner on the right was played deep by Masson and from a point beyond the back post and only a step or two short of the goal line, Gauld pinged a perfectly judged low ball across the goal face to ANDERSON who had nipped in at the back stick to force it home from close range.
It looked briefly that Thistle would fade rapidly after this reverse and a minute later United had the ball in the net again.
A foul on Gauld a couple of yards short of the box yielded a free kick that Anderson elegantly struck beyond the wall.
It looked goal bound all the way until Gauld, over- anxious tae “mak siccar” interfered with play to assist the ball’s passage to the net.
All this yielded was an off -side decision whereas inaction from his initial position might very well have left the goal to stand.
Thus relieved, Thistle resumed their deeply defensive posture and United frustration grew commensurately.
Things continued this way until with three minutes left, SCOTT got on the end of a sudden big clearance and broke through the middle. As Macdonald was about to meet him a few yards out of the box, the forward tried a shot.
The keeper was close enough to block the ball which rebounded off him and then back off the forward and, agonisingly for the keeper, into the net.
Scott will doubtless claim the goal - it wasn’t an own goal by the keeper either- but in situations like that, the ball generally spins away to anywhere other than the goal.
With all the other title chasing teams recording wins at the weekend Formartine remain in Fourth spot .
United’s matches against Nairn County at home on December 24 and Forres Mechanics away on December 31 have been moved to 1:00pm kick offs.