Match Report - By John Hoey
Match report by John Hoey
City’s poor start to the New Year continued at North Lodge Park with the home side winning by a solitary goal.
City’s last visit to Pitmedden saw them thrash United by five goals to nil but there was never going to be a repeat of that score-line this time round. To be frank, City’s performance was completely lack-lustre.
Admittedly they were without a number of key players due to a combination of covid, injury and suspension but even allowing for that, the City supporters would have been expecting their team to put up a much better showing than they did and the gloom on the faces of the visiting support at the final whistle said it all.
The opening twenty minutes saw very little goalmouth opportunities for either side with most of the action confined to the midfield area of the park.
The first half-chance of the match came City’s way in the 22nd minute when Julian Wade headed a Murray Mackintosh past the post and a minute later a Jamie Bain cross fell for Garry Wood who scooped the ball over the bar.
United’s response was immediate when Daniel Park collected the ball at the edge of the box with a clear sight of goal but he was too slow in getting a shot in and the visitors defence managed to clear the ball away.
United continued to press and they scored what ultimately proved to be the winner in the 32nd minute when GRAEME RODGER turned his man just within the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
It should have been 2-0 for United a minute before the break when Johnny Smith picked up a short pass from Scott Lisle and looked set to score but the outstretched leg of Jack Wills in the City goal denied the striker.
City hit back straight away and a net bound drive from Cammy Ross on the stroke of half-time was turned away for a corner by home keeper Ewen Macdonald.
The second-half followed the same pattern of the opening 45 minutes with both sides finding it difficult to create anything clear-cut in front of goal. It wasn’t until the 71st minute that the first real chance was created when Smith was clean through on goal and looked set to double his side’s advantage, but again Wills came to City’s rescue and was quickly off his line to deflect the striker’s shot for a corner.
The home side threatened again just four minutes later when substitute Kevin Hanratty pushed forward into the City box and only a timely challenge from Kevin McHattie prevented what looked like a certain goal.
City’s best opportunity of the match fell with just ten minutes remaining when McHattie delivered a good cross into the box for Wood but the striker steered his shot just wide of the post with Formartine holding on in the last few minutes to secure victory.
The result sees City remain at fifth position in the Highland League table, six points behind leaders Fraserburgh having played one game more.