Banks O'Dee 2 Formartine United 1

November 18, 2023

Breedon Scottish Highland Football League

Saturday 18th November 2023

Banks O'Dee 2 Formartine United 1

Match Report by Colin Keenan

There were a number of relevant sub-texts to this game none of which aided United’s cause. The first is that Banks are currently managed by United’s last manager, Paul Lawson and the second [by no means unrelated] is that a couple of months back a ten man United side experienced their biggest tonking in recent memory in the form of a 5-0 defeat by Banks at North Lodge in the Aberdeenshire Shield. Unrelated to that is the fact that United’s next game is away to former winners of the Scottish Cup, Falkirk, in round three of the competition and for many United players arguably the biggest game in their careers to date.

Whether any or all of the above crossed the minds of the United players on this cold, dreich and dark afternoon, their overall performance lacked the fizz, sparkle and exuberance to which their fans have grown accustomed. The gloom of the afternoon was intensified by the fact that this defeat removes United from top slot in the table in favour of the currently managerless Brechin who now sit two points above them with three games in hand one place and a single point better than Buckie who likewise have three games in hand.

The game started in Stygian gloom that was relieved well before half time by the use of the Spain park floodlights. Banks were out of the traps a tad faster than their visitors and forced a couple of corners on the right. Neither produced anything significantly threatening for United but it took the visitors a minute or two longer than they would have wished to apply any pressure in the counter direction.

The game evolved into a pattern of probing for weaknesses by both sides but also where, initially at least, defences were on top. Both sides could and did break from defence into the opposition territory with pace and there were half chances at each end. Emslie made a couple of telling runs down the left for United before being blocked by Davidson and Kelly but United hadn’t really settled into their normal pattern of getting the ball up to Wade as early and directly as possible before Banks hit them with an early opening goal. GOLDING had already demonstrated the extent of his “tannerba’” skills before his 16th minute opener. Picking up a throw in from his left to the left centre of the United box he twisted and turned enough to create the space to get the ball over to the far post whence it was returned to him and he was able to thump the ball low across the goalmouth and into the net at the base of the back post.

There was little to pick between the two sides over the next fifteen minutes; possession was fairly evenly divided and each side showed the ability to break at pace and get numbers up in support when needed. Perhaps at this point the home side were able to sustain pressure in opposition territory for slightly longer at a time than United but there was little in it. In the 37thminute Lobban took a free kick in the centre about 35 yards out from goal. He swung it to group of United players on the left side of the box and Smith whanged a dipper to the back stick where under cover of darkness it was only partly cleared and fell for LAWRENCE who despatched it well beyond Hobban’s reach to equalise.

United started the second half with a bit of a push but it was contained comfortably enough. However it took Banks only 6 minutes to regain the lead. it as a goal that United should have prevented as the result of a fairly routine set piece deriving from a full back being left clear a bit right of centre and about 35 yards out. Wilson slung the ball over to the left side of the area where MACLEOD with a fair whiff of offside, rose with very little challenge to head the ball past Macdonald from about 12 yards out. It was a decent enough header but he was given too much latitude in delivering it and the defender who played the ball in had a lot of time in which to do it.

The single goal victory was fairly just for this game. Formartine probably had more of the pressure and territory over the remaining 40 minutes or so but they were chasing the game and trying to hold onto numero uno slot in the league and you wouldn’t expect anything less. However you wouldn’t expect anything less than the opportunities for a few dramatic counter attacks from the home side either and these came too. The closest to success amongst them was in the 80th minute from a break down the left that fed Macleod who reached the left corner of the United box to let fly a vicious drive that rebounded from the inside of the far post along the goal line before being hoofed away to safety.

The season is not yet at its mid point and United have home games to come against all their major rivals so there is a lot to look forward to.

Banks O’Dee Team: Hoban. Davidson, Emmett, Stark, Kelly, Winton, Phillipson, Gilmour, ,L. Macleod (Alexander 70), Golding, H. Macleod. Subs: Antoniazi, Anderson, Lewecki, Young, Irvine.

Formartine United Team: Macdonald, Wilson (Thomas 82), S. Smith (Lisle 82), Loban, Maclean. Lawrence (Crawford 74), Wade, Rodger, Campbell (Stewart 70)] Norris, Emslie. Unused Subs: Spink, Combe, Alberts, L. Smith, Mackay.