Formartine bounce back from Broch defeat with impressive win in Wick
Formartine have played remarkably well in winning three of their first four games of this season, which makes the defeat against Fraserburgh a bit of a mystery.
Every team has the odd blip but in the Highland League those who have serious title aspirations can afford precious few of them.
However the way this side went about its business against a team who claimed all three points the last time they met sent out a clear statement about United’s ability to impose themselves on a decent side with enough force and conviction to all but overwhelm them and to show in the process that their appetite for honours remains undiminished.
Wick are one of those teams who on their day pick up points against top end sides with their own brand of slick, quick pass-and-move football, and few teams go to Harmsworth Park without a degree of apprehension.
Formartine showed none of that as they set out from the opening whistle to run them ragged.
Setting out their stall in effectively a 4-1-4-1 formation they mounted a succession of slick attacks down each flank.
Almost straight away they had Wick in trouble. A move down the right started by Mackintosh brought in McGowan and Greig and concluded with a rather desperate last-ditch challenge on the wide man that produced an unrewarded corner.
The pressure was sustained and another couple of corners quickly followed.
In the ninth minute and in response to an attack from the left, Rodger, weaving his way into the box, was tripped from behind barely a yard in from the left corner.
Lisle sunk the spot kick, blasting the ball hard, low and to the keeper’s left.
United had tasted blood and, liking it, mounted wave upon wave of attack in the quest for more.
Wood was the spearhead who held up the ball while aggressive midfielders flooded forward to feed off the spoils.
Rodger and Lisle did it from the left while McGowan and Greig completed them on the right.
Ten minutes later Greig, having created mischief with a mazy run in from the right flank, got on the end of a blocked drive from Wood that rebounded to him before he lashed the ball past McCarthy from little more than 10 yards out.
The home side were in deep trouble and had only limited influence on the course of events.
They could and did occasionally break at pace but most of that was from Gunn and without colleagues to match that pace he was reduced largely to speculative efforts from relatively long range.
Holding up the ball was not his forte and McKeown and Clark weren’t in any mood to let him try anyway.
On 33 minutes Lisle doubled his tally with a fierce 20-yard effort that put the result beyond the slightest doubt, as Formartine took a 3-0 lead.
United sustained the same level of pressure with repeated waves of attack and were a tad unfortunate not to extend their lead by the interval.
Wick made no personnel changes to start the second half and suffered accordingly as United simply continued to boss them all over the park.
It took them little more than ten minutes to elevate a victory to a bit of a thrashing.
In the 55th minute, McGowan astutely drifted off Steven, who was trying to mark him in a densely populated box, and rifled home the ball from 15 yards out.
Three minutes later Lisle clipped one home from near the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick. It could have been more but Wick went into damage limitation mode and Wood, ironically, was twice denied by the woodwork.
A 5-0 win at Wick is not a scoreline that many teams will achieve, but the difference between the teams was that great.