They eased off a bit until the interval but still dominated enough to stretch their lead to four.
The game was well won by then and it looked like they knew that, but considered it achievement enough to justify taking things much easier in the second half.
With one or two exceptions United gave every impression of doing little more than going through the motions.
Playing into a fresh wind at the start and towards the Meldrum end, United went straight for the jugular, breaking at pace through McGowan in the inside left channel to whip a fierce knee height ball across the six yard box. The advancing Wood was within a hair’s breadth of making the connection needed to divert it past Pennet.
Pressure was sustained as Mackintosh advanced down the right flank to curl a ball that hung over the penalty spot while McGowan and Pennet challenged each other for it. The keeper got a paw to it but it took a fair wee stramash within the box before it was eventually cleared.
Vale were on the rack and were forced into having eight in the box most of the time as United pummelled them.
On eight minutes United made the breakthrough when Garry Wood opened the scoring.
Three minutes later with United’s pace and movement almost mesmerising the visitors, persistence paid off for Lisle with the second goal.
A powerful run through the inside left channel took him past Aitken and Gauld before he was crowded out at the left corner of the six yard box.
He had the nous to hang on in the area and seconds later the ball found its way back to him in a slightly more central position from which he drove it home past Pennet.
Still the United onslaught persisted and Formartine forced a number of corners each of which caused a measure of consternation in the Vale ranks.
In the 13th minute, one from the left by McGowan was met powerfully by the head of Clark who virtually unchallenged, banged the ball into the net.
That was probably enough to win most home games and with that pressure reduced United’s tempo dropped. It was so high that it probably had to anyway.
Vale had the odd break into United territory through Archibald and Charlesworth but got no joy from the home rearguard.
In the 42nd minute the game as a spectacle and a contest ended when Clark again capitalised on slack defending to head home a cross by Greig after Pennet had flapped at it enough to almost place the ball on the big centre back’s head.
The second half produced little test to either side. United’s tempo dropped but they still had the lion’s share of possession and Wood went close a couple of times.
So too, did Vale’s Archibald on a break with Charlesworth before hooking his finish a yard wide.
Another break by Charlesworth and Scott earned a 76th minute consolation via the latter for Vale.
Formartine: Main, Mackintosh, Lawrence, S. Anderson [Strachan 52], McKeown [Smith 45], Clark, Rodger, Lisle [Leyden 64], Wood, McGowan, Greig. Subs not used: C.Anderson, Lawson, Gethins, Watson.