Mind the gap – Keith manager Craig Ewen fears the Highland League top six clubs are proving too strong for the rest after a high-scoring weekend of north football
Keith manager Craig Ewen fears the gap between the Highland League’s top six and the rest is growing after his side’s latest heavy loss.
Keith’s manager Craig Ewen is trying to close the gap on the Highland League’s top six – an increasingly difficult job. Photo: Beth Taylor.
Beaten 6-1 by Brora Rangers in their first game of the year, the Maroons conceded six for a second game in a row when they lost 6-0 to a powerful Formartine United side on Saturday.
Ewen admitted he had fears ahead of kick-off when he saw the sheer physique of United’s lineout compared to his own young XI.
Those fears were confirmed when Formartine scored four times in the first half, including a late-half volley to seal victory on the half-time whistle.
“We lost a goal after 15 minutes, then we settled,” Ewen said. “Every goal is probably preventable, but Formartine was good on the day.
“Unfortunately we lost two in the space of two minutes, we were screaming for the third goal for offside, but I’m told there is a photo that shows he was only on and no more.
“Not that we were in the game at that stage, but if we could have gone in at 2-0 it might have saved some of the damage.
“It could have been worse in the end.”
“I was a bit worried physically that their starting line-up looked very athletic and powerful and we might not have that about us on the day.
“They were just too strong for us everywhere on the pitch.”
Keith weren’t the only bottom-half side on the receiving end on Saturday as their manager highlighted the gulf that has emerged in the league between the best and the rest.
“Formartine has bought quite a lot recently. When the top six teams in a game are busy, and the other teams are not, there is a big gulf.
“We’ve had some good performances where we’ve taken points against the top six this year, but that’s when we’ve been right too.
“You look at the scoreboard on Saturday when there were four six-nils. Banks O’Dee led Wick 6-0 at half-time. Even Locos are beaten 4-0 at home.
“Trying to bridge that gap is not easy, the only way we can do that is by signing a better quality player. This is the most difficult aspect because at the moment all the teams would like to do it, but generally the top six teams sign anyone who leaves their clubs.
“So we want to improve, but it doesn’t happen overnight.”
Ewen is investigating the loan market to see if he can add to his pool.
He recently signed striker Joey Wilson from Formartine and stopper Ethan Smith from Turriff, and will have Formartine loan defender Murray Addison available for Saturday’s home game against Deveronvale.
“We would both prefer to be further up the table and enjoy more success. This feels like a big game for both as recent results have not gone our way.
“Whoever can get three points on Saturday can give everyone in their clubs a big lift.”
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