AT HELMSDALE, St Duthus suffered a fourth consecutive league defeat this afternoon, losing by the odd goal in five to hosts Bunillidh Thistle.
With several absences to contend with, manager Stuart Ross recalled Will Ross, Scott Miller and Finn As-Chainey to the starting lineup. Paul Cowie, Lewis Ross and Louis Webster took places on the bench.
St Duthus started the game well and had a number of good chances to take the lead, most notably for Miller MacKay and Ken Morrison who sent shots over the bar.
On the 25 minute mark, Finn As-Chainey put a shot wide and it looked as though the Saints were in control. Just five minutes later though, calamity struck as Billy Cairns got on the end of a long ball counter to beat his man and score, giving Bunillidh a surprise 1-0 lead.
Bunillidh goalkeeper Alan Bokas had to be at his best to keep the Saints from equalising as the first half drew to a close, saving shots from Ewan Ross and Scott Miller before preventing a Miller MacKay free kick from finding the net.
Half time: Bunillidh Thistle 1 St Duthus 0
The second half began with a moment of madness which led to the home side taking a 3-0 lead. Michael Smith scored Thistle’s second five minutes after the restart, and notching his second of the match just minutes later, Billy Cairns stunned the Saints with a third for his side.
A Saints goal finally arrived soon after the hour mark. A Lewis Ross header from a corner did the necessary as the score was reduced to 3-1.
Just five minutes later, St Duthus pulled another goal back. Connecting with a well taken corner, Ewan Ross made no mistake with his finish to reduce the deficit to one goal.
Despite their best efforts, St Duthus couldn’t notch the leveller, even after the Helmsdale men were reduced to ten following a second bookable offence.
Saints’ chances of securing an equaliser were dealt the final blow five minutes from time when Martyn Farquhar was issued a straight red card.
Full time: Bunillidh Thistle 3 St Duthus 2
Alan Bokas, Colin Macrae, Dean Cowie, Alan Sinclair, Garrick Taylor, David Cowie, Liam Mcleod, Paul Gordon, Michael Smith, Billy Cairns, Ethan Bews
Subs: Euan Sutherland, Craig Sutherland, James Griffiths, Ross Mackay, Cameron Yuill
Steven Martin, Ewan Ross, Will Ross, Garry MacLeod, John Skinner, Rory Patience, Finn As-Chainey, Cammy Mackintosh, Scott Miller, Miller MacKay, Ken Morrison
Subs: Martyn Farquhar, Praul Cowie, Lewis Ross, Louis Webster, Joe Sutherland
Referee: Molly Alexander
Assistant referees: Alexander Mcdonald & George Mcphee