Mistakes cost St Duthus dearly against an organised and clinical Alness United last night, as they slumped to a disappointing 5-1 defeat at Dalmore Park.
Missin John Allan, and with William Godding still absent through injury, 18-year-old Charlie Eaglesham, formerly of Saints under-18s, was called in to the goalkeeper spot for the rearranged match. Also absent was Finn As-Chainey missing out due to work commitments, who was replaced by new signing Jack Kerr.
Saints were rocked after just two minutes when a ball across the face of goal was fired home from close range by Luke Mackay to make it 1-0.
All at sea, St Duthus were caught napping again on ten minutes when a slack passback allowed Joel Burnett to lob the ball beyond the reach of Eaglesham for United's second.
Ben Bruce offered the Tain side's only reply during what was becoming a frantic first half, netting with a sublime free kick 20 minutes into the game.
Almost immediately though, scrappy play in the middle of the park led to Chris Graham finding space to fire past Eaglesham from the edge of the box.
A frustrating first half was compounded by a controversal free kick award just before the break. Euan Henderson's curling shot from the edge of the area was palmed away by Eaglesham, but Burnett was the quickest to react to make it 4-1.
A chance to reduce the deficit from the penalty spot early in the second half came to nothing when Bruce fired wide, and ten minutes later Alness extended their lead with their own spot kick to round off a horrible evening.
On 61 minutes, the evening was well and truly over when a foul inside the box saw a penalty awarded to Alness, which Euan Henderson duly despatched.
Late substitutions opened the game up slightly as the half wore on, but with the damage done there was little Saints could do to change the inevitable.
Team – Eaglesham, Mackay (Mackenzie), Taylor, JW Skinner, J Skinner, Loughlin (Voigt), Wardrop, A Skinner (Maclellan), Bruce, Macdonald (Lewis), Kerr (Marshall)
Pic: Alan Cruickshank