VALENTINE'S day ended with a 7-1 defeat to Strathspey during a friendly run out on Aviemore Community Centre's stunning 4G surface tonight thanks to a clinical second half performance from the Highland Football League side.
The Saints started well, defending well against a Thistle forward line content to try their luck from distance. Craig Sutherland and Liam Mcleod both did well to test the Strathspey keeper before Steven Martin at the other end was stood still as his crossbar was rattled from 15 yards. St Duthus enjoyed a good share of the possession and were playing with a great deal of determination during the opening stages, Jon Campbell in midfield a particular highlight with some clever footwork.
The sharpness of Strathspey up front ultimately led to the opener, and it came after 25 minutes when a loose ball was pounced upon in the box. Six minutes later it was 2-0 after a quick turn saw Strathspey's net bound effort tucked to the side of Martin. A speculative effort from Will Ross with five minutes to go had to be saved well before Jon Campbell tested the Thistle keeper and Jamie Skinner finally pulled a goal back for the Saints just before half time when he jumped on a defensive lapsed and went round the keeper before slotting home.
The second half started in miserable fashion as Strathspey immediately extended their lead. A through ball was collected down the middle and slotted underneath Martin with ease to make it 3-1. The game was fought doggedly for the next fifteen minutes as the Saints looked to get back into the game, and shortly before the hour mark it looked as though they had reduce the deficit to one when John Mackay found himself clean through on goal, but his effort was saved and from the counter, Strathspey immediately extended their lead to 4-1.
Now hitting their stride, the Jags added a fifth arrived moments later and with fifteen minutes remaining, they were awarded a penalty. Former Strathspey man Steven Martin saved the spot kick, although it escaped his grasp and the HFL men pounced on the loose ball to cut it back across goal for their sixth of the evening.
To compound the Saints' misery, a seventh goal was scored on 80 minutes. The late introduction of Scott Miller and Louis Webster injected some new attacking options towards the end of the game, and chances were missed for both, Miller in particular forcing a save from six yards.
No starting lineup named.
No substitutes named.
No goals scored.
Steven Martin, Joe Sutherland, Sam Beeston, Barry Kenny, John Skinner, Liam Mcleod (Louis Webster 80), Ken Morrison, Will Ross, Jon Campbell, Jamie Skinner (Andrew Dornoch 85), Craig Sutherland (John Mackay 30)
Andrew Dornoch, Louis Webster, John Mackay, Scott Miller
Jamie Skinner (45)
Referee: Paul Philips