It has been a season of highs and lows for Formartine United Youth 2002’s. However they have ended on the high that they hoped for, securing promotion to the A League for next season. Head coach, David Hay, spoke exclusively to YFS to reflect on their season and share their aims for the season ahead.
Hay said his team went into the season with confidence following a strong pre-season of hard work in training and impressive results. However they suffered a heavy defeat to Paul Lawrie Foundation in their first game, the team who would eventually go on to win the league. He said, “The season started with an 11-1 loss against the eventual champions. This made the players and the coaches realise that this season was going to be a challenge, wondering if the rest of the B league were at the same standard or better than the Paul Lawrie Foundation.”
However, the team came bouncing back with a 6-4 win against Longside in their second game to start an eight-game winning streak which saw them sitting at the top of the league at Christmas and restored the side’s confidence.
Formartine made a strong start in the New Year and belief was high that finishing at the top of the league was achievable. However Hay felt that his team seemed to lose their way in March. He said, “We weren’t playing our usual passing game and an increasing injury list resulted in us losing two games and drawing in one. Confidence was low.”
The side faced further difficulties with the loss of three players throughout the season, with two moving to A league teams and the team’s Captain relocating to Devon. Hay said, “Despite the loss of these players, the squad really pulled together and reacted well under the circumstances. It was nice to see a clear strong bond within the team and coaches. The thirteen boys all showed a determined and positive attitude to training and games. Commitment from all of the boys was key to upholding the usual team standards required for the league.”
He added, “The standard of the football that the boys have shown this season has been fantastic and, at times, breath-taking. It has been great to see the hard work and training paying off.”
With three games left to play, Formartine sat third in the league but knew that a minimum of three points across their last three games would secure second place and, with it, promotion to the A league.
The first of their three games saw them lose 2-3 to Kintore United. The team turned all of their attention to the next game against Colony Colts, and their focus paid off as they won 4-1 and secured second place and promotion. However the team still had one game left against Paul Lawrie Foundation, and Formartine held their rivals to a 1-1 draw to end their season.
After reflecting on the season, Hay said that the coaching team are delighted at having met their aims for the season: to play a good standard of football and to gain promotion to the A league. He added, “Every one of the boys should look back on the season and be very proud of their efforts. In particular, the achievement of finishing second in a very competitive league resulting in promotion to A league.”
Hay also wanted to recognise the efforts of not just the players and the coaches but everyone who has been involved with the club. He said, “I want to say a huge thank you to all the parents who have a special role to play in the team including canteen duties, putting up the nets and the mundane chores to standing on the side-lines cheering the boys on in all weathers.”
He added, “Another huge thank you to George Heatherwick who looks after the pitch at New Deer and for giving us the facilities. George inspects the pitches every Sunday morning well in advance of kick off and gives us plenty of warning if the game cannot be played. George’s dedication and assistance is very much appreciated by all.”
Looking ahead to next season, Hay acknowledge the challenges ahead but looks forward to facing them head on. He said, “I think I speak for all parties in that we are all excited for next season already. Improvements, as always, can be made and more commitment and dedication will be asked from all parties as we face the new challenge of the A league. I am confident that next season’s training will result in a competent skill set to compete in the league.”
YFS offer their congratulations to Formartine United Youth on their promotion to the A league and wish them all the best for next season.