Single-minded Formartine remain in title hunt

Calum Dingwall’s first-half strike gave Formartine their third single-goal victory in eight days, keeping their four-month unbeaten Highland League run intact and their slender title hopes alive.

Formartine coach Jerry O’Driscoll praised the team’s growing ability to close out games.

He said: “That’s three games on the spin we’ve won 1-0 and it’s a good habit to be in. We were not at our best but I think we deserved the win.

“Deveronvale did have a couple of chances and we were never totally comfortable at 1-0 because there is always a chance you can concede. When it is only 1-0 you never think you have done enough and there’s no margin for error.

“However, we have experienced this situation a few times recently and are getting used to seeing out the game. We defended well as a team.”

A close and hard-fought opening half saw few clear-cut chances, with James McLaren having a goal disallowed for Vale and Conor Gethins and Neil Gauld missing chances for the home side.

United made the breakthrough seven minutes before the break when Gethins and Gauld combined to have efforts at goal blocked, before Dingwall rifled the ball high past Grant Pennet from 15 yards.

A mistake from Jonny Crawford allowed Callum Murray through on goal after 60 minutes but he could only lob his effort beyond Andy Reid and on to the roof of the net.

Gethins had a blistering strike from 30 yards which Pennet diverted on to the bar and out for a corner. Vale missed a late chance to grab a point when Pennet’s long free kick landed at the feet of defender Steven Davidson but he screwed his shot wide from 12 yards. The win keeps Formartine 11 points behind leaders Buckie with two games in hand.