THE NEW season rebuild continues for St Duthus, as they turned in a "back to the drawing board" performance away to nearby rivals Invergordon in their Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League opening match yesterday.
Forced into a number of late changes and with a flurry of trialists on the teamsheet, manager Stuart Ross utilised full-back Andy Young at centre half alongside the deputising John Skinner, who made an unexpected return in a makeshift back line. Alan Geegan came in to the side to make his debut in midfield, while trialists Liam Mcleod and goalkeeper Ali Matheson were added to the bench for the first time this season.
It took just three minutes for the deadlock to be broken at the Recreation Grounds when Darran Goller broke clear to score his second goal of the season. The Saints continued as promisingly as their hosts though and played some good football going forward before Goller eventually doubled the advantage for the home side after 22 minutes.
They eventually found a way back into the game five minutes before half time when Ken Morrison committed a foul in the box and from the penalty spot, captain Cammy Mackintosh halved the deficit. Just moments later, Jake Lockett was unlucky not to level the scores with a chance at the far post - but any chances St Duthus had of ending the half on a high note were immediately nullified on the stroke of half time when Goller completed his hat-trick.
The misery continued in the second half as Alan Geegan was forced to withdraw due to injury after just ten minutes. The scoring continued two minutes later when on loan Brora Rangers man Ryan Patterson netted a fourth for Invergordon. The on-form Goller wasn't finished his count for the afternoon and made it 5-1 four minutes later.
A consolation goal arrived fifteen minutes from time courtesy of Jake Lockett, netting his first competitive goal for the Saints.
A day to forget for St Duthus -- but attentions will now turn to Alness United away next Saturday.
Grant Beattie, David Mackay, Arron Christie (c), Joe Sutherland, David Macgruer, Chris Mailley (bkd 83), Ryan Patterson, Kenneth Morrison, Billy Cairns (Donald Sutherland 88), Darran Goller, Rob MacCormack (bkd 19) (Jordan Knight 79)
Subs not used: Robert Ross, Paul Sangwin
Danny McCarthy, Robbie Murray, Andreas Broomfield, Andrew Young (bkd 83), John Skinner (bkd 76), Alan Geegan (Liam Hutchinson 55), Jack Lingard, Cammy Mackintosh (c), Jake Lockett, Kyle Stewart (Liam Mcleod 73), Finn As-Chainey
Subs not used: Ali Matheson, Scott Miller
Referee: Gordon Seago