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Jags boss Brown laments bad start against Formartine

By Niall Harkiss

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It was a case of back to the drawing board for Charlie Brown and his new look Strathspey Thistle side as they were hit for six at North Lodge Park on Saturday.

A relentless performance from home side Formartine United saw veteran forward Jonny Smith net a hat-trick during a clinical second half.

Manager Charlie Brown was left disappointed with the start his side made on Saturday, albeit against difficult opposition.

He said: "It was a tough game for the lads. We asked them to try and work hard to stay in the game for as long as possible, so I was disappointed that we lost a goal after just three minutes.

"We defended well and rode our luck a bit against a pacey back to front team. When we got the equaliser I thought we’d hold on until the interval, but we conceded again in stoppage time from a long deep cross that was headed back across goal and looped in.

"I felt in the second half they were awarded two soft penalties and had two well worked goals. We did create a few half chances in the second half but just couldn’t take them."

Julian Wade scored two goals in Formatine's win against Strathspey Thistle. Picture: Phil Harman
Julian Wade scored two goals in Formatine's win against Strathspey Thistle. Picture: Phil Harman

The Jags' efforts to contain their hosts were undone after just three minutes when former Brechin City striker Julian Wade found the net.

From then on though, Thistle did well to defend under persistent first half pressure from Formartine.

They gradually began to settle into the game and without gaining any sustained traction showed signs of doing something on the breakaway.

With 24 minutes gone, Calum Grant and Ben Cullen combined well down the right, forcing the keeper to tip the ball over the crossbar from the former’s shot.

The Jags gained their first of only two corners in the game soon after, grabbing an unlikely equaliser from a counter attack down the right hand side. Debutant Cullen was the man to take the plaudits as he got on the end of a cross from Owen Loveland.

United continued on the offence though and restored their advantage shortly before the interval when Mark Gallagher got on the end of a Norris cross to head home.

The floodgates opened in the second half with Smith notching two goals in just two minutes.

The first was the product of a bit of trickery that wrong footed Liam McDade and Liam Taylor right of goal before clipping the ball neatly past the keeper.

The second was a penalty kick sent low to Mark MacCallum's left hand side.

The game was over a contest by this point, and in the final half hour Wade grabbed a second and Smith completed his treble with another from the spot.

Brown remains optimistic though, and has taken positives from the 6–1 defeat – citing the introduction of players from local side Boat of Garten Ospreys.

He said: "We had local lad Liam Grant making his debut and I felt he had a great game. Connor Macleod also made his debut coming on as sub and did well. And of course, Ben Cullen, getting a goal on his debut was really pleasing."

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