Fraserburgh 1 Formartine United 2

October 4, 2023

Scottish Highland Football League.  Wednesday 4th October 2023, Bellslea Park.

Fraserburgh 1 Formartine United 2

Fraserburgh Scorer: Connor Wood (78).

Formartine Utd Scorers: Julian Wade (5), Scott Lisle (29).

Match Report by Colin Keenan

If this wasn’t an out and out “must win” for either side it was still definitely one not to lose if they harboured serious aspirations for lifting the title at the end of the season. The result keeps United still in the mix at the top of the table, albeit trailing Buckie on goal difference, but leaves Fraserburgh back in 7th albeit with a game or two in hand. With the season roughly 25% complete, 9 of the 18 teams in the league are all still in decent contention for the title which demonstrates the extraordinary level of competitiveness this season.

This floodlit midweek game was brought about by Broch’s continued progress in the Highland League Cup after beating Brechin to reach the final. The win is of special significance for Formartine after losing out to Broch in last season’s cup Final and gets a huge monkey off their back in ending a run of 5 years without beating the Bellslea outfit.

As anticipated this was very closely contested every inch of the way and worked its way up to a nail biting final few minutes where the result seemed precariously in the balance as the home side threw everything but the kitchen sink forward in pursuit of an equaliser and left gaps in their rear guard through which United made a number of major incursions and came close to extending their slender lead.

It started as games between the pair regularly do with both sides trying to get forward at every opportunity and play displaying a clear end to end characteristic It took but five minutes of this before the visitors opened the scoring following a major error by home keeper Joe Barbour. Under pressure from Rodger while attempting to clear a pass back he succeeded only in scuffing the ball less than 25 yards forward invitingly close to the predatory WADE who was on to it like an electrified ferret, advanced towards the keeper and whacked the ball low past his left hand into the corner of the net.

Broch kept cool heads and began to apply some pressure without pressing the panic button. Within ten minutes they had carved out a good chance when Sargent set up former United forward, Scott Barbour with a pass across the 6 yard box that he failed to connect with only a couple of yards out.

At this point the teams looked evenly matched and United were certainly giving as good as they got. A shot by Campbell from a Wade cross flew just over the junction of post and bar and the pace of both Lisle and Norris threatened the home side enough for them to win a number of free kicks, It was no major surprise that Formartine extended their lead just shy of the half hour when LISLE cashed in on a dithering Simpson who failed to clear his lines on the right edge of the box a couple of yards in from the bye line, and rifled a low fizzing drive from the tightest of angles that squeezed into the net at the base of the far post for number two.

The final 15 minutes of the half saw the home side ramping up pressure on United but despite a couple of hairy moments their defence stood firm. The most hirsute of the hairy moments was when keeper Macdonald elected to go for Butcher cross from his left and failed to reach it necessitating a goal line clearance by Wilson.

The second half saw the Broch ramping up pressure and they sustained a fair advantage in terms of territory and possession over the opening ten minutes before United began to show their teeth again. There was no doubt that Fraserburgh were committed to attack but United’s back four of Wilson, Smith, Thomas and Maclean showed no sign of buckling and with Broch pressing in increasing numbers there were gaps through which United were able to make a number of quick and highly threatening counter attacks and both centre back MacLean and Centre forward Campbell went close to nicking a third.

Fraserburgh did pull one back with ten minutes to go when WOOD slotted home a cross from Simpson from left of centre of the United box about 10 yards out.. This prompted a final flurry from the home side but it all had an air of desperation about it and United looked just as likely to get a third as Fraserburgh did to score. Lobban was felled just short and left of the Broch box by a thuggish tackle by Young which earned himself a red for a second booking . It was a case of his taking one for the team because otherwise the United forward had only the keeper to beat .

The last few minutes saw United dealing capably with home side pressure as they held out determinedly for a notable win.

Fraserburgh: 1. Joe Barbour, 2. Lewis Davidson, 4. Ryan Cowie, 5. Kieran Simpson, 6. Paul Young ©, 7. Jamie Beagrie, 8. Willie West (14. Logan Watt 67 min), 10. Ryan Sargent, 11. Scott Barbour, 16. Greg Buchan, 17. Sean Butcher (12. Connor Wood 67 min). Unused Subs: 3. Bryan Hay, 15. Josh Bolton, 19. Zane Laird, 22. Ross Aitken, 23. Edward Flinn

Formartine United: 1. Ewen MacDonald, 2. Lewis Wilson, 3. Stuart Smith, 4. Rhys Thomas, 5. Matthew McLean,6. Marc Lawrence (14. Ryan Spink 85 min), 7. Julian Wade, 8. Graeme Rodger ©, 9. Paul Campbell, 10. Aaron Norris (16. Dylan Lobban 76 min), 11. Scott Lisle (15. Adam Emslie 90+4 min). Unused Subs: 12. Jake Stewart, 17. Lucas Smith, 21. Archie Mackay (GK).