St. Duthus returned to winning ways in the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League with an emphatic 5-1 win over mid-table Halkirk United. Saints edged a stuffy first half by the odd goal in three before running rampant during a much better second half.
It was clear that the wind was going to play a part from the outset, with the ball spinning in all directions in the air - but it took just three minutes for the first two goals of the game to be scored. Halkirk were first off the mark on 100 seconds with a goal from Aidan Reid, the Anglers' defender finding space on the edge of the box to turn and steer the ball beyond Danny McCarthy. Almost immediately though, Ben Bruce broke down the left wing before cutting inside and firing the ball across goal for Cammy Mackintosh to fire the ball home to make it 1-1.
Chances went abegging for Mackintosh and Stefan MacRitchie as the game looked to be turning in Saints' favour but it took until 23rd minute for St. Duthus to go in front - and Bruce was involved again, finding the target with a fierce shot which stung the palms of Sean Milligan before Jon Campbell broke onto the loose ball and placed it into the bottom corner.
Halkirk weren't without opportunity to get back in it though, looking continually threatening on the counter, ensuring the Saints back line had to be on top of their game.
Saints made a half time tactical switch and reaped the rewards during a more dominant second half. On 62 minutes, Ben Bruce made it 3-1, finishing well after Robbie Murray had forced the ball into the striker's path. Thirteen minutes later Bruce scored again, finding the far corner with a neatly taken strike after Scott Miller had laid the ball into his feet. The goal was his 21st of the season.
Saints had plenty of chances to extend the lead in final stages, but the last goal fell to Charlie Macdonald in the 90th minute of the match, who side footed home from 5 yards after Aiden Stainke had forced a block from the defender.
Danny McCarthy, Adam Allan (Robbie Murray 46), John Skinner, Charlie MacDonald, Ross Tokely, Jon Campbell, Stefan MacRitchie (Scott Miller 71), Cammy Mackintosh, Ben Bruce (bkd) (Scott Maclean 78), Craig Munro (Aiden Stainke 81), Will Ross (Paul Beaton 81)
Sean Milligan, Jordan Howden, Ian Ross (Louis Webster 64), Aidan Reid, Ryan Sutherland (bkd) (Ben Gordon 29), Mark Webster, Bryan Reid (Ross Macleod 70), James Mackintosh, Korbyn Cameron (bkd), Kuba Koziol (Alan Davis 81), Kyle Henderson
Sub not used: Steven Sutherland
Referee: Molly Alexander
Assistant referees: Andy Grant and David Ross