United slumped to their second defeat in three games with a timid loss at the hands of Islavale at Simpson Park, Keith on Saturday.
Despite playing against nine men for a good chunk of the second half, United could not find a way through a resilient Islavale defence, where Keeper Moir had an outstanding game.
United were without a host of players through suspensions and injuries, but this is no excuse for the defeat, quite simply Islavale wanted it that little bit more.
United gave starts to Scott Ritchie, Fraser Davidson and Darren Ross as they kicked off into a light breeze and up the slight slope at Simpson Park.
Islavale immediately stepped up the pressure and on four minutes Broch keeper Dunbar had to look smart to tip a Collins free kick over his crossbar.
Collins came even closer in the 11th minute when a great move saw Henderson cut the ball back from the bye line and he was denied by a brilliant point blank stop from Dunbar.
Islavale did not have to wait long for the opener however as a minute later Collins cut in from the left and from just inside the 18-yard box drove the ball into the bottom corner.
The Broch fell further behind on 21minutes. Dunbar’s poor kick out saw Blackhall collect 30 yards out and he strode into the box unopposed and clipped the ball past the United goalkeeper to double the home team’s advantage.
Despite their atrocious start United slowly fought their way back into it.
On 24 minutes a goalmouth scramble resulted in Lawrence firing just wide.
United were not to be denied and on 30 minutes halved the deficit. Davidson collected Noble’s pass on the halfway line and chipped a lovely ball over the Islavale defence where Bisset raced in and lobbed Moir from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later McLeman picked up an injury and was replaced by Liam Rollo, this change coincided with an upsurge in United pressure and Watt was just wide with a sweet strike from 25 yards.
With half time approaching Islavale almost grabbed a third. Henderson picked up a loose ball 30yards out and his strike clipped the junction of post and bar with Dunbar well beaten.
United came out for the second half with manager Sim’s word’s ringing loudly in their ears and they pushed forward from the off.
A long clearance from Dunbar found Bisset through on goal but just as the striker looked to shoot he was bundled over just outside the box by Stewart.
The Islavale defender was shown a straight red. Davidson stepped up and blasted a great strike under the wall but keeper Moir managed to turn the ball wide.
Moir again kept the Broch at bay as he pushed held Noble’s seven-yard drive.
Islavale were reduced to nine men when Collins was shown a straight red for foul and abusive language.
The visitors now sensed blood and threw everything at the home side as they strived for an equaliser. Islavale however dug deep and time and time again held firm as the onslaught continued.
On 69 minutes Moir pulled off an incredible stop as Noble’s 20- yard free kick looked destined for the top corner but the stocky keeper got a finger tip to divert the ball onto the underside of the bar and the danger was cleared.
United’s pressure was incessant, but clear cut chances were not as Islavale packed the box much to the Broch’s frustration. This boiled over on 80 minutes when United’s Davidson was shown a straight red when he naively kicked the ball at the grounded Cruickshank after a strong tackle.
With United pushing everyone forward they nearly conceded at the other end when Cruickshank latched on to a through ball, calmly side stepped his marker and was unlucky to see his shot from ten yards brilliantly stopped by Dunbar.
United fashioned one more chance when the ball broke to Forbes five yards out but he skied his effort under pressure from Moir. In truth, it would have been harsh on Islavale as they more than merited their victory.
United manager Sim spoke afterward: “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I’m extremely angry at this point.
“Despite not playing well we had a great opportunity to get three points after they went down to nine men. But our attitude was just not acceptable today, to many players are turning up and going through the motions expecting things to happen instead of making it happen.”