Maud 1 - 7 Formartine United
Both the nature and the margin of this victory against a competent, stuffy Junior side can be seen as a basis for a decent degree of optimism about Formartine’s chances in the season ahead.
As expected they dominated throughout to finish very comfortable winners, producing a number of outstanding individual, performances in the process. Newcomer Soane, who has been signed by manager Patterson at most of the many clubs he has managed not only dominated his midfield beat, but rattled in four goals to boot. Central defender Campbell was a rock at the back and displayed superb reading of the game and utter dominance in the air. Big “Rusty” Smith was back to his battling best and capped a commanding performance with a superbly headed goal, while captain McKay led by example putting in a phenomenal shift that ran defenders ragged from first minute to last and was perhaps a tad unlucky to come away with only two goals to his credit.
This was by no means the full first eleven but a composite of developing players and those considered likely to be first team regulars organised in a roughly 50-50 mix. A similar mix of different players was occupied at Hall Russells at the same time showing the breadth and depth of the squad that Formartine have assembled. Competition for places seems assured.
It took Formartine seven minutes to open their account: a slick move initiated by Davidson set up Mackay for a shot that was parried by Gatt for a corner. The ball bobbled about in the box before being partially cleared as far as the predatory Soane who snuck away from his marker and drove the ball home low past the keeper’s left hand. It took another ten minutes to extend the lead. Smith, Davidson and Mackay linked well, passing their way smartly through the home midfield and defence, but gaining only a corner for their troubles. With the manager urging him forward, Knight down the flank to offer the triangle, received the ball and swung it over towards the back stick for McKay to bundle it into the net.
In the 26th minute, with rain teeming down, the game as a competition was effectively ended when Formartine went three ahead. Slick passing using the wide areas set up McKay at the edge of the area. With superb accuracy, he rifled the ball through the gap between Arthur and MacDonald and past a despairing keeper.
It was to Maud’s credit that they kept plugging away and pulled one back two minutes later. A bit of flair by Davidson saw him spin off Knight and wrong foot Peck to squeeze in a vicious drive that left McKinnon with little chance. This enlivened Maud for a minute or two and they managed to sustain enough pressure to gain a couple of corners and hold out until the interval.
Maud started the second half with a brief flurry of pressure, but Formartine were by far the slicker outfit with another well worked move finished by Soane in the 50th minute. Rusty was in rampaging form in the middle, effortlessly brushing off challengers and working a one-two with the busy Davidson, before knocking the ball into the path of Soane who made no mistake from fifteen yards. This seemed to deflate Maud and from then on in it was increasingly one way traffic.
It would have been a travesty if Rusty Smith’s contribution had not been rewarded by a goal. A free kick about thirty yards out was played into the area by Coyle. Rusty out-jumped the defenders to slam a fierce downward header into the net. Number 6 - which completed a hat-trick for Soane - was a straightforward affair, but the 7th was something else: a spectacular half-volley from twenty yards that screamed past defenders and the shell-shocked keeper. Such was the pace of the ball, that only the net prevented the ball from up-rooting one of the trees on the perimeter of the ground. The finish was fitting but the foraging of Mackay had created the opportunity.
Subs from both sides came on and the game drifted to a rather desultory conclusion. Formartine were in complete control but the substitutions, geared as much towards giving the young subs a run out as increasing the stranglehold on a game that was already well won, spoiled the shape and pattern just enough to prevent an absolute rout.
Maud JFC: Scott, Davidson, Reid, Arthur, Simpson, MacDonald, Scott, Ligertwood, Martin, Davidson, Hall.Subs: Geddes, Walker, Barbour, Leslie, Jamieson, Simpson
Formartine United: McKinnon, Knight, Quinn, Campbell, Peck, Davidson, Soane, Smith, McKay, Forbes, Coyle. Subs: MacDonald, Mathers, Smith, Grant, Milne, McTavish.