“They got what they deserved – far too many players failed to deliver the standards they are capable of or what this club expects.”
Those were the first words of manager Kris Hunter’s post match analysis of his players.
lHe did go on to contextualise this early season under-performance by pointing out that United had “lost the second game last season - to Locos -and then went on a long unbeaten run”.
The game looked evenly balanced in the early stages and United were the first to mount a decent attack: Barbour made good headway down the left flank before whipping a hard low cross into the 6 yard box.
Wick struggled somewhat to deal with it, and both Rodger and Gauld tried to drive the ball into the net but dour defending blocked their attempts and eventually the ball was cleared upfield.
There was a distinct end to end character to the play at this point with Wick beginning to show a hint of dominance in midfield.
Wick found an early opening goal when Davy Allan clipped in a perfectly weighted ball over two retreating defenders to set up Gary WEIR with a one on one with Reid from about twenty yards.
Reid did well to block a powerful shot but was injured in the process as the ball returned to the striker who then despatched it over the prone keeper into the empty net.
During this middle of the first half period United twice threatened from set pieces –first when a Crawford header fizzed past McCarthy’s left upright and again when Smith got his head to the ball but it was a from below and the ball looped over the top.
Only one goal adrift at the interval is never an irretrievable situation but Formartine needed to raise their game to change their fortunes and signally failed to do so.
United were toiling for height up front where Gauld ploughed a rather lone furrow.
Surrounded by much taller and muscular defenders he needed far more service to feet than he got or someone with a bit of height and muscle to share the load.
The latter came near the hour mark when Young was withdrawn in favour of Dingwall prompting a redeployment of United resources that pushed WOOD up front.
United looked slightly more menacing thereafter but still the lack of ball winning and midfield spoiling did them no favours.
Wick doubled their lead in the 59 th minute when McAdie teased full back Michie with a ball chipped just over his head. The full back jumped for it but failed to reach it.
ANDERSON was cannier and making no attempt to reach the ball in the air, simply nipped in behind Michie, collected it when it landed, ran in a few yards towards goal and drove the ball firmly home from 15 yards out.
Gethins replaced Gauld alongside Wood up front and managed a goalward pop or two from distance as well as diving header from a Lawson cross that flew just the wrong side of McCarthy’s left stick, but it was all too little too late.
After a period of United pressure that continued into stoppage time, the ball was cleared to Anderson out on the left wing close to the halfway line. McVitie tried to dispossess him and missed.
The Wicker was off like a scalded cat, took a route to goal that minimised his exposure to the distant and retreating defenders seriously impeding his progress.
He shrugged off a challenge near the left corner flag before cutting back enough to make the angle from which he rattled the ball into the net from around twenty yards out.