This was Formartine United’s third successive single goal win. The victory against a doughty Nairn County side showed both the Jekyll and Hide aspects of United and overall, their performance was about as inconsistent as it gets.
After a first half where they seemed to be quite comfortably in control and had established a single goal interval lead, they began to fade as fast as stonewashed denim. After Nairn got back on level terms midway through the second half, they rallied strongly enough and scraped home with Jonathan Smith’s third goal of the Season in the very last minute. With Garry Wood on the bench, it fell to Smith to lead the line although the rest of the line-up was on conventional lines.
There is a settled look to the back four of Crawford, Smith, McKeown and Kelly with captain Stuart Anderson operating a deep midfield role just ahead of them the link to a midfield where there is a degree of competition for the roles not occupied by Rodger. Cole Anderson is one of the contenders for these roles and did his chances of a more regular start no harm with a strong first half performance and a well taken goal.
United’s start was quite impressive. They quickly showed a good shape and maintaining a decent tempo of pass and move football and soon established a clear dominance in terms of possession and territory from which they mounted successive waves of attack on the visitor’s goal at the Village End.
Nairn absorbed the pressure quite well but there was variety to the attacks that Formartine mounted with Daniel Park displaying some pace and power out right, Smith foraging up top and full backs Stuart Smith and Jonathan Crawford alternating in support down the flanks. Nairn were not shy about getting bodies behind the ball and a lot of play was conducted around more than in their box. Despite that United managed a few shots on or close to target with a neat 12th minute shot on the turn by Rodger that Maclean just pushed past his left stick, the pick of the bunch.
Pressure continued with Nairn activity confined to infrequent breakaways although just before United opened their account in 32nd minute Main did well to smother a Maclean effort low to his left.
The opener followed with a well-timed and accurately delivered back stick header when COLE ANDERSON buried a ball from his right after. This level of pressure was largely sustained until the interval however what happened thereafter was not in the script. Whatever was said in the Nairn dressing room appeared to have energised the side who raised their tempo and without any apparent change of personnel or positioning they swiftly forced their hosts on to the back foot. Given the sustained level of Nairn pressure, their 71st minute equaliser was less than a surprise.
It was a scrappy affair in the aftermath of a corner on the left. Main seemed to have gathered the ball and to have it in his possession on the deck but when surrounded by players of both persuasions, it suddenly appeared in the back of the net. CALLUM MACLEAN seemed to claim the strike but how the ball got from Main to the big defender and to the back of net is surrounded by some mystery.
United then resumed their Dr Jekyll persona and with a spirited, determined and gutsy attempt to force the win. This was enough to rock the visitors back on their heels and just as the previous week in Haddington, they achieved victory right at the death when JONATHAN SMITH beat Ramsay inside the right side of the box before slamming the ball past the left hand of keeper Maclean from 10 yards.