Fraserburgh United’s recent good form continued as they swept aside league leaders Glentanar by five goals to two at a windy Woodside Park, Aberdeen, on Saturday.
In an entertaining game United were worth their win but they were certainly aided by the dismissal of Glens defender Gray in the opening half.
The day undoubtedly belonged to United’s midfield maestro Andrew Ritchie as his brilliant hat trick secured an excellent victory for the Broch.
United’s first game since their derby victory against Hearties three weeks previously saw only one change to the side as Heatherwick came in for the work committed Hay at left back and Matty Gordon came back into the squad.
Despite the layoff United started brightly, against the wind, but Glentanar soon began to take control. Glens’ sharp passing game saw them pressure the United team, whilst United looked dangerous on the break.
With no real incidents of note in the opening exchanges the game burst into life on 13mins. Glens’ Dawson drifted in from the right unopposed and his shot was superbly stopped by Dunbar, but Adams reacted quickest as a statuesque United backline looked on and he sent the rebound under the exposed Dunbar.
Glens continued to press, but it was the Broch who fashioned an equaliser on 21mins. Clark’s superb tackle on the right broke up a Glentanar attack and he quickly sent West scampering away down the wing. The youngster’s cutback found the onrushing Ritchie 14yards out and he guided a right foot shot into the corner of the net.
The home side immediately pressed again and Noble’s indecision almost cost his team as his he allowed a long clearance to bounce and Adams nipped in ahead of him but Dunbar rushed out to block the strikers attempted lob away for a corner.
The turning point of the game came on 31mins. Bisset and Gray challenged for a loose ball in the middle of the park, but the Glens’ defender recklessly dove in two footed with the Broch striker lucky to escape serious injury. Referee Johnson correctly issued a red card to Gray and a yellow card to Bisset, much to the consternation of the home dugout who felt it should also have been red for the Broch forward.
The game continued to ebb and flow, though clear cut chances were at a premium. Long distance strikes from Clark and Patterson were all the Broch had to offer as the game reached half time.
United started the second period in a more determined mood and took the lead on 53mins. Heatherwick and Lawrence combined to send Bisset through on goal his effort crashed off the bar and broke to Ritchie at the edge of the box. The gifted midfielder faked to shoot before turning Dines inside and curled a lovely left foot shot into the far corner.
Typically of late, United let the home side straight back into the game. Morrison’s corner was missed by the Broch defence at the front post and the ball flew across the 6yard line where sub Ewen shrugged off Noble to score easily from 4yards.
Despite the setback United continued to pass the ball and their numerical advantage was beginning to tell as gaps appeared in the Glens’ backline. West and then Forbes spurned good chances, whilst at the other end Glentanar were showing great heart and only inches prevented them taking the lead as a deflected Morrison free kick spun just wide with Dunbar rooted to the spot.
United’s strikers of late have been in tremendous form with Lawrence in particular catching the eye. Therefore it was no surprise to see the diminutive bag of tricks pull out another stunning goal to put his team in front. On 67mins Clark, Forbes and Patterson created space for Bisset and his deep cross from the right found Lawrence 12yards out, without looking up he chipped a sublime effort over Mcaskill to put United 3-2 up.
United were now looking dangerous on every attack and Ritchie capped a great display with a stunning hat trick goal on 75mins. Taking a Lawrence’s left wing pass on his knee 18yards out, in one movement he knocked the ball high into the air before spinning and hooking a volley into the corner of the net beyond the despairing dive of Mcaskill.
Despite their man disadvantage, Glentanar continued to make a game of it and Dunbar again looked lively to push a goal bound Dawson effort away to ensure the two goal lead.
United sent on Cowie, Reid and L. Lawrence as they sought to finish the game in style and on 83mins Bisset grabbed a deserved goal.
Patterson broke up a Glentanar attack and fed Lawrence who flicked the ball wide to Bisset on the right and he sped past Morrison before blasting the ball past a beleaguered Mcaskill to seal the points.
United fashioned one last chance when Lawrence played in Reid on the right and the Peterhead youth player showed great skill and pace to turn past Morrison and then Dines but Mcaskill saved well at the near post.
After the game The Herald caught up with free scoring Andrew Ritchie, ‘The sending off definitely put the game in our favour. We were struggling a bit with ring rust but it seemed to ease off in the second half and we got going. (On his third goal) I thought it was reminiscent of Zidane’s at Hampden in the European Cup final a few years ago, though the lads are saying it was a shinner! It was a great win against a very good Glentanar side, we’ve now just got to keep the momentum going.’
Utd: Dunbar, Clark, Heatherwick, Patterson, Ross, Noble, Forbes, Ritchie, West, Bisset, Lawrence.
Subs: Taylor, L. Lawrence, Cowie, Gordon, Reid