St. Duthus recorded another three points on Saturday, going joint top of the North Caledonian League following a comfortable 4-0 win away to Bonar Bridge at Migdale Playing Fields.
Will Ross and Cammy Mackintosh were the noted absentees from last week's win at home to Invergordon, but coming back in to fill the spaces left were Craig Munro, having recovered from a groin injury, and Charlie MacDonald.
From the word go, Bonar keeper Ryan Renwick had to be on his toes to gather the ball as Ben Bruce nearly got on the end of a flicked through ball from Stefan MacRitchie. It took just three minutes though for Ben Bruce to put the ball in the net with a lobbed effort, but the far side linesman deemed him to be offside.
Renwick proved he was up to the task on ten minutes with a good one on one stop to prevent Bruce who fired at goal from 15 yards. Bruce was unlucky again moments later when Mikey Rae sent a neat cross into the box but the striker's acrobatic bicycle effort was easily collected by Renwick.
The home custodian could do nothing to prevent the eventual opener two minutes later, though. Collecting a free kick, Johnny Allan launched a long clearance which found Bruce, and opting to go round Renwick, he left himself with the easy task of tapping into the empty net to make it 1-0.
The first half continued to be a slog for Saints as they were met with dogged defending and resilience from a Bonar back line determined not to let the game turn into a rout.
They enjoyed a more fruitful time of it in the second half - especially in the opening couple of minutes - as they went 2-0 up. A through ball from Reece Paterson was cut off by Dean Munro but his pass to Renwick was short and Ben Bruce made no mistake rounding the keeper and tapping home for his second.
There were more goals to come, but not before another "disallowed" effort on 50 minutes. A curling cross from Craig Munro was met at the far post by Charlie Macdonald who appeared to head off the upright and knock home the rebound from an angle. The linesmen and referee though waved the goal off, rightly spotting that his effort had in fact hit the outside of the stansion!
Saints had the ball in the net again five minutes later, this time through Mikey Rae who did well to steer the ball home from a return ball into the box - but once more it was chalked off, this time for offside.
Renwick did well to prevent a Liam Rostock header on 57 minutes from a Craig Munro corner - but the reprieve was only temporary as the ball was sent back into a packed area for Ben Bruce to turn the ball low into the far corner for his hat-trick.
It was 4-0 on 80 minutes and the goal came from the penalty spot after Bruce was brought to the ground by the outstretched leg of Renwick. Liam Rostock, netting his second of the season, slotted home from 12 yards to round off the scoring.
Ryan Renwick (bkd 79), Adam Mackay, Karl Mackay (bkd 29), Dean Munro (bkd 59), Andy Murray, Liam Flett, Dean Fraser (Ryan Maclean 82), Isaac Sayers (Mark Dorrian 59), Robbie Murray, Gordy Mackay (Cameron Munro 65), Ruben Aitchison (bkd 83)
Johnny Allan, Adam Allan (Alan Geegan 65), Mikey Rae (bkd 30), John Skinner, Reece Paterson (bkd 50) (Jude Fraser 65), Jon Campbell, Stefan MacRitchie (Liam Rostock 52), Craig Munro (bkd 53), Ben Bruce, Charlie MacDonald, Robbie Murray (Finn As-Chainey 52)
Referee: Molly Alexander
Assistants: Colin MacDonald and Andy Grant
Pic credit: Scott MacDonald