Buckie Thistle Match Report

August 22, 2023

Formartine came within the merest whisker of pulling off the victory that would serve notice of their being in serious contention for the top dog spot in this season’s Highland League Championship. They are clearly a team that are capable of slugging it out with the very best that this league can produce. Buckie are almost always there or thereabouts when the title race reaches its final stages and United made it abundantly clear in this game that they are every bit as good as Buckie.

It was a high stakes, hard fought, bruising encounter between two sides that fought for every ball for the full ninety minutes and where a superbly taken opener by Julian Wade in the 27th minute was ultimately neutralised in the 90th letting Buckie depart North Lodge with a share of the points that had for so long looked to be exclusively Formartine’s. That Houdini-like escape is however one of the characteristics of potential champions.

The game started much like a cup tie with both sides going at it full throttle with no quarter given or asked and time on the ball was fleeting in the face of the determination of each to dominate possession. Barely a couple of minutes had gone when United’s Wade showed his mettle with a twenty yard charge to dispossess McHardy a yard or two forward of the right corner of his box. The Dominica international got in a well-placed shot that exercised but didn’t beat keeper Knight who got down smartly to his left to make the save.

Most of the action was contained within the area between the boxes and it was fast and feisty. Tackles were not for the faint of heart and although each side showed in flashes that they could move the ball around quite slickly the tempo of the game was such that little advantage accrued to either side.

This persisted until the 27th minute when a rather rearward tackle by Barry on Norris yielded a free for Formartine about ten yards short of halfway and a step or two in from the right. Kieran Adams flighted the ball forward to the edge of the Buckie box where WADE outsmarted his marker, McKay to deliver a cunning loopy header that took the ball away from him, beyond the reach of the keeper into the left corner of the net.

United were well prepared for a quick countering press from Buckie and capably neutralised their attempts to do so by keeping the tempo high and refusing to allow them any unchallenged time on the ball. As far as the first half was concerned they made a good fist of it and it was clear that if Buckie wanted anything from the game it wasn’t going to come easily to them.  In fact United came close to extending their lead almost on the stroke of half time when another Adams free kick, this time wide left about twenty five yards out, was played to the head of Campbell who’s powerful header looked goal bound until an acrobatic leap from keeper Knight allowed him to just touch the ball over the top for an unrewarded corner.

The second half saw little variation from this finely balanced, high tempo, very physical game. It was full blooded more than dirty as United clung grimly to their slender lead. Buckie battled every inch of the way.  In the 80th a long range effort by Pugh from twenty plus yards out wide left, dipped late in its flight and grazed the crossbar on its way over the top.  In the 90th minute of elapsed time Buckie gained their point.  Keeper Macdonald sprinted from his line to the edge of the box to clear a ball being pursued by McHardy but failed to reach it before the Buckie man played it forward right to ADAM who simply side footed the ball into the unguarded net to equalise.


Formartine United: Macdonald, Crawford, Spink, Adams,Maclean, Lobban (M. Lawrence 67), Wade (Stewart 76), Rodger, Campbell (Park 55),Norris, Emslie (Combe 55). Unused Subs, Wilson, Smith, Lisle, Watson.

Buckie Thistle. Knight, McHardy, Murray, Peters, MacAskill, Murray, McCabe, Pugh, Barry, MacIver, Wood, Subs: MacKinnon , MacLeod, Fyffe, Munro, Goodall, Keir, Adams, Storrier.