French treble polishes off Jags

Formartine United's Sam French who scored a hat-trick against Strathspey Thistle.
Formartine United's Sam French who scored a hat-trick against Strathspey Thistle.
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New signing Sam French grabbed a hat-trick as Formartine United won 5-1 at Strathspey Thistle on Saturday.

The Pitmedden side were two up in the first twenty minutes and cruised to a comfortable victory.

Formartine set out their stall in blustery conditions in an attacking 3-5-2 formation and had pace out wide in the form of Napier and Duguid.

It was pretty much one-way traffic from the outset and Formartine went ahead in the sixth minute through captain Craig McKeown. He gathered a clearance and sent a powerful drive past Martin.

Formartine were breaking down the flanks to great effect and with McVitie and Napier playing well off each other, a number of dangerous balls found their way close to the home goal.

A move involving the pair and Jeffrey saw the ball taken almost to the bye-line before arriving at Napier who squeezed his shot home from an acute angle.

Despite the pressure, Thistle maintained some shape to defend in depth enough to hold out until half-time without conceding again.

The second period began with a flurry of goals.

Napier was having a fair degree of success on the right flank giving McKernie and Groat, neither of whom could match his pace, an increasingly torrid time.

He swung over a cross in the 46th minute which was headed strongly over the line by French, despite Martin’s efforts to keep it out.

Seconds later Strathspey opened their account when MacLeod netted after his first attempt was cleared by Hay.

Any thoughts of a revival were dashed for home fans a short time later when French again took advantage of a Napier cross to score from close range.

At 4-1 after 51 minutes, there was no way that Formartine were in danger of losing this - the real danger was of their taking their foot off the gas and starting to coast.

Substitutes Madle and Dingwall replaced Napier and McVitie respectively but still Thistle refused to buckle despite United having the lion’s share of the possession.

A glancing Madle header from a Smith cross went inches over and Hay’s header from a Bagshaw corner wasn’t far away either.

United added a fifth near the end. French claimed his hat-trick when he finished superbly after making space for himself.

This was Formartine’s best performance this season. They still lack the presence of playmaker Anderson to add fluency and perhaps the midfield bite of Clark who appeared on, but not from, the bench.

With more composure in the finishing department they could be looking towards a fruitful season ahead but with Brora, Locos, Fraserburgh and others firing on all cylinders, nothing winnable is going to come easily.

Teams:

Strathspey Thistle: Martin, McShane, McKernie, Davidson, Groat, MacLeod, Peters, McAuley, Smith, McKie [T], Patience [T]. Substitutes: MacRae, Aubrey, Campbell, Reilly, Tynan [T], Matheson [T].

Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, S Smith, McKeown, Hay, Munro, Napier, McVitie, Keith, French, Duguid. Substitutes: Dingwall, Madle, M Smith, Bagshaw, McKay, Clark, Calder.