Wick Academy 3 Formartine United 1

March 2, 2024

Breedon Scottish Highland Football League.  Saturday 2nd March 2024, Harmsworth Park.

Wick Academy 3

Scorers: Kyle Henderson (55), Jack Halliday (71), Mark Macadie (77).

Formartine United 1

Scorers: O.G. (Owen Rendall 34).

Match Report by Colin Keenan

Formartine United, their faithful and adherents undertook the 4 or 5 hour drive due north in bleak wintery conditions to arrive at Harmsworth Park and find it a hive of activity as a squad of Wickers did everything in their power to free a squelchy pitch of an inundation of surface water, the product they were told of a lunch time “monsoon” The match ref had thought the pitch unplayable an hour before kick off but was prepared to reconsider that decision to allow the game to start at 4p.m.

In the event the game kicked off with underfoot conditions perfectly reasonable and the ball bouncing and running predictably and reliably over most of the pitch. United took the field with a line up that through choice, circumstance or both had at least three significant changes to what most would consider the normal starting eleven: Keeper Macdonald dropped to the bench along with talismanic forward Julian Wade and the uber versatile Aaron Norris. Aaron Reid was preferred over Paul Campbell in the centre forward role.

Inevitably United started carefully with players adjusting to colleagues in different roles, perhaps the most radical change goalies apart was the lack of Wade who is often the target for the first phase of attack in transition from defence, Either way United began with the slope in their favour and generally playing neat possession stuff. New comer Duncan was quick to impress with fast feet and a busy midfield presence and with quarter of a hour gone Formartine were knocking the ball about fairly fluently and looked like they were gaining an edge in possession. Attacks were mostly down the flanks particularly the right but by and large the home defence did enough to protect the area within the box and their keeper was barely occupied.

This changed in the 37th minute when United gained a free a couple of yards in from the left touch line and twenty yards or so from the goal line. Lewis DUNCAN struck it curling and dipping to the back stick where keeper Williamson and Rendall got themselves in a fankle as the ball entered the net via a deflection of the latter.

From then until the interval Formartine had the better of possession and played more of the game in Wick territory than in their own although in the 40th minute debutant keeper Middleton had to get smartly off his line to grab the ball before Gunn could pull the trigger. By the interval it could be fairly said that United were worth their single goal lead. However the Harmsworth slope is notorious and Wick know how to use it to their advantage and it didn’t take long until the home side clawed their way back into the game. Whereas United had dominance of territory and possession in the first half Wick were now getting at least their fair share. In the 55th minute under little immediate pressure Crawford and new keeper Middleton clearly miscommunicated and let an initially innocuous loose ball trundle untouched by either on to the unmarked HENDERSON who simply clipped it into the open goal from 12 yards out.

This had its effect on the confidence of each side. positive for Wick negative for Formartine, and was enough to turn the game Wick’s way. In the 70th minute the Formartine defence parted like the Red Sea for Moses when no one picked up the run of HALLIDAY onto a through ball from Henderson that left him starkly one on one with the keeper to slot home the second.

Wick were gung ho by now and the third goal came as no surprise and again it featured Henderson. A quick break down the left took him almost to the corner where yards ahead of the United defenders but nonetheless onside, he crossed to MACADIE in lots of space at the centre of the 18 yard line to drill the ball home through a straggled defence into the bottom right corner of the net.

This was not United’s finest hour and constitutes a major blow to their aspirations for the remainder of the season. Confidence is low and they are leaking goals from schoolboy errors, They sorely need a decent win to restore confidence.

Wick Academy: 1. Graeme Williamson, 14. Marc Coghill, 27. Ryan Campbell, 29. Owen Rendall, 26. Robert McLean, 8. Jack Halliday © (5. Matthew Robertson 85), 24. Gary Pullen, 7. Ross Gunn, 9. Marc Macgregor, 17. Mark Macadie (12. Sean Campbell 80 min) (16. Conor Farquhar 85 min), 15. Kyle Henderson, Unused Subs: 18. Owen Bain, 19. Scott Durrand, 25. James More (GK).

Formartine United: 1. Cameron Middleton, 2. Johnny Crawford, 3. Stuart Smith, 4. Lewis Wilson, 5. Matthew McLean, 6. Lewis Duncan (12. Julian Wade 65 min), 7. Marc Lawrence, 8. Graeme Rodger ©, 9. Aaron Reid (14. Paul Campbell 70 min), 10. Adam Emslie, 11. Aiden Combe (15. Kevin Hanratty 70 min). Unused Subs: 16. Kieran Adams, 17. Aaron Norris, 18. Scott Lisle, 21. Ewen MacDonald (GK).