A MISERABLE first half saw St Duthus stutter at Golspie on Saturday as they fell to their first defeat of the new season. Despite their efforts to reduce the deficit during a game of many chances, there was to be no way back for the Saints and the affair ended 3-0 in the home side's favour.
There were a number of changes made to the Saints starting eleven, with Miller Mackay and Adam MacDonald missing out through injury and Lewis Ross unavailable due to work commitments. Jon Campbell, Cammy Mackintosh, Scott Miller and Andreas Broomfield were the returnees, taking places in the first eleven, while Will Ross dropped to the bench.
Golspie earned the first corner of the match and it was Evan Murray who offered the first chance on goal, heading over after good delivery into the box. At the other end, St Duthus should have got off to perfect start four minutes in when Rory Patience did well to send a low cross into the six yard box, but Joe Sutherland's effort flew just wide of the far post.
The big frontman for Golspie, Lukasz Geruzel will have been disappointed with his effort a minute later, shooting wide of the Saints' goal, and just three minutes later, Patience was the creator for St Duthus once more, sending a through ball to Scott Miller, but the striker was flagged offside. The Saints hit straight back and Cammy Mackintosh did well provide an excellent cross at the second time of asking which just evaded the head of Andreas Broomfield.
The action continued in the early stages and Golspie fired wide once again on 12 minutes courtesy of Ally Macleod, leading to a corner - despite protests from the St Duthus back line. On the quarter hour, Golspie began to screw the nut and a header off the crossbar left the Saints reeling. Four minutes later, the home side had opened the scoring. A scrappy exchange in midfield led to a neat through ball to Macleod, who carried the ball forward and slotted the ball under Martin to make it 1-0.
Were it not for a goal line clearance and block from Martin, Golspie would have quickly extended their lead two minutes later, as Sandy Sutherland's goal bound effort was ultimately deflected wide for a corner. From the resultant corner, Geruzel headed off the far post, leaving the Saints breathing a sigh of relief.
Undeterred, St Duthus were still working hard to attack and after good work from Liam Rostock it looked as though the leveller was a certainty when Scott Miller was left with the task of tapping into an empty net after rounding Graeme Williamson -- but Evan Murray cleared Miller's effort on the line. Just a minute later, Williamson was all at sea again, but neither Broomfield or Miller could connect with the necessary finish.
As quickly as the equaliser could have come, Golspie made it 2-0. Breaking well on the counter, a neat through ball reached the feet of Geruzel who powered his effort through the grasp of Martin.
From the restart, St Duthus looked to try to get back into the game and Rostock found space inside the box to curl an effort over the bar. Just after half hour mark, Rory Patience came very close to reducing the deficit with a curling shot which flew wide of the top corner. Two minutes later, Geruzel had the ball in the net again after a ball into the box from Sandy Sutherland, but the Polish striker's goal was disallowed for offside.
Jon Campbell battled well to advance and lay the ball off to Miller with 9 minutes of the half remaining, but the resultant effort from the Saints man forward was under hit and easily handled by Williamson.
As the half drew to a close, Cammy Sutherland shot just wide for Golspie before a Rostock effort was sent high into the clutches of Williamson. Just before the whistle though, the killer blow came from Ally Macleod, as Golspie went 3-0 ahead. Capitalising on a catalogue of errors, Macleod had the easy job of adding the final touch to tap into an empty net.
Half time: Golspie Sutherland 3 St Duthus 0
Having played the route one game to perfection during the first half, Golspie expectedly sat back on their sizeable lead. Naturally, the Saints began the half as the main attacking force. Just two minutes after the restart it seemed as though the Saints may have had a penalty claim when Garry Macleod was floored in the box after a flurry of goal line chances for St Duthus were cleared to safety. From the corner that followed, Jon Campbell found space to force an athletic save from Williamson.
A free kick for Saints after 53 minutes offered Scott Miller the chance to initiate a comeback for his side, but his effort -- albeit on target -- trundled low and easily into the arms of Williamson.
On the hour mark, St Duthus began to play some great football, and a well timed ball from Campbell played Liam Rostock in behind the defence, but the striker opted to strike high against Williamson who guessed well and forced the shot wide. From a quick counter, Jake Lockett thought he had made it four for Golspie when he fired wide, but alert on line was Ken Morrison who cleared to safety. A busy 60 seconds for Morrison ended with a clash of heads between he and Cammy Mackintosh, as both then received treatment.
Campbell was at the heart of it again on 63 minutes when he played another great through ball to Rostock after great interplay with Broomfield, but Williamson was up to the task again. End to end action continued though as Geruzel laid the ball to Lockett before the winger fired miles over the Saints bar. Shortly after, Martin was tested by a Geruzel free kick which he did well to palm away for a corner.
A chance for Cammy Mackintosh on 72 minutes after good work from Rostock saw the midfield man in a one on one with Williamson, but his failed to find the target. It was starting to become clear that it wasn't to be the Saints day!
St Duthus did have the ball in the net with a quarter hour remaining though. A through ball from Campbell was tapped home by Broomfield but just as the ball hit the net, the flag of assistant referee Neil Grant called a halt to proceedings, and his effort was called offside.
Sandy Sutherland made his final offering of the afternoon before his substitution when he hit a first time volley into the arms of Martin, and just moments later he looped a shot over Martin which bounced off the crossbar and just over.
In the final ten minutes of a game with plenty of chances, Ken Morrison shot wide after receiving the ball from Broomfield before Geruzel denied himself a brace when he shot wide. A confusing finale to the game saw referee Stephen McDade and Neil Grant go into conference regarding an off the ball incident - but after checking the back's of several shirts - play was resumed without action.
Full time: Golspie Sutherland 3 St Duthus 0