Football Times Cup holders St. Duthus were dealt an early exit from this year's competition on Saturday, following a horrendous first half at the hands of free scoring Halkirk United.
With several key players missing, including captain Ben Bruce, Billy Cairns, Finn As-Chainey, Adam Allan and Ross Tokely, Saints named a new look eleven, with John Allan returning for Ryan Renwick in goal, Gary Millard coming back in at left back and trialist Daniel Christie taking up a midfield berth.
St. Duthus had the first shot on goal with just a couple of minutes on the clock, Adrian Voigt shooting from a tight angle. Just a minute later, good work down the left wing from Gary Millard allowed the full back to swing a ball across the face of goal, but Alan Geegan at the far post could only hook a shot into the hands of Gordon Clark.
It was the Anglers though who opened the scoring on five minutes. Finding space on the left wing, Jonah Martens played the ball across the eighteen yard line and after taking a touch, Grant Macnab found the far corner with a well placed shot.
Disaster struck on 20 minutes when Halkirk doubled their lead, Johnny Allan left unsighted in the Saints goal when Kyle Henderson hit the ball along the ground into the net after good work again from Martens to play the ball into the box.
With ten minutes of the half left, misfortune struck again when a Macnab free kick was deflected onto the upright, and the rebound fell to Martens for the easiest of tap ins to make it 3-0.
A miserable first 45 were rounded off with a fourth goal for the visitors, when Andrew Mackay lashed a loose ball into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Saints shuffled the pack and emerged a better side in the second half, albeit too little, too late. Trialist Daniel Christie offered the first shot on goal getting on the end of the Kyle Mackenzie pass, but his shot flew wide of the post.
The St. Duthus back line were showing greater resolve and kept Halkirk at bay for the early stages of the second half, Macnab and Martens both thwarted as they searched for a fifth.
Jake Lockett was unlucky not to pull a goal back on the hour mark when he cut along the byline and fired at goal from an angle, the ball curling into the side netting. Lockett was continuing to be a pest for the Anglers, and he stung the palm of Clark on 70 minutes with a low, hard shot after breaking clear of the back line.
There was a second half return for James MacKay as a substitute, who makes a comeback following a length injury. At the other end, Kyle Henderson came the closest to extending the Halkirk lead with a shot on goal that Allan had to be alert to, sending the ball out for a corner, from which James Mackintosh shot over.
A late flurry for the visitors heralded no further success as the final whistle arrived, bringing to an end one of the most torrid afternoons seen at Grant Park since its reopening.