SAINTS 0 Hall Russell United 6
This was probably one of the worst performances witnessed for some time at Milton Park. Two early goals and a total capitulation in the second half made it grim watching for the home support. There was no time in this game when we looked like scoring, with ability to pass and control almost non-existent.
Captain Josh Robertson was not fit so Ryan Whelan partnered Jack Mitchell in the heart of the defence, otherwise it was the same team that started the game against Hermes the previous week.
The calamities started after on 4 minutes when a dreadful mix up between Jack Mitchel and keeper Nico Berton at the edge of the box, presented Hall Russell with an easy chance to open the scoring. Two minutes later it was 2-0 to the visitors when a speculative high through ball was latched onto by the number 9 who slid the ball past the onrushing Berton.
A Jack Presly shot was deflected for a corner after 15 minutes which was about Saints only real effort in the first half. Another big punt down the park caused more havoc in the Saints defence with Jack Mitchell coming to the rescue by clearing off the line.
On the half hour, the Halls centre forced Berton to block his angled shot when a third goal looked on the cards. At this point Saints were lacking concentration and composure, giving the ball away as soon as they won it.
Into the second half and within three minutes another terrible pass out of defence fell at Halls Whitfield’s feet and his curling shot had to be pushed round the post by Berton. At this point we were camped in our own half and struggling.
On 50 minutes the injured Kieran Davidson was replaced by Grant Munro. A chance for saints to pull one back when a begging when Presly’s free kick was missed by everyone in the 6 yard box.
On 61 minutes it was 3-0 when a move down the left and cross to the right found the striker in loads of space to knock the ball in and first time the ball into the net. Two minutes later it was 4-0 when Taylor Christie needlessly fouled inside the box with the penalty hammered into the roof of the Saints net.
Presly and Christie were replaced by Mike Bruce and Callum Wilson at this point but this did not stem the tide as Halls produced flowing move that ended with a volleyed strike to make it 5-0 with 20 minutes still to play.
Embarrassing as this was it was even more so on 73 minutes when a pass back saw Berton attempt to clear only to completely miss the ball and could only watch in despair as the ball trickled across the line.
Thankfully that was the end of the scoring as the changes made with Bruce and Wilson coming on, did spark some effort resulting a series of four corners in quick succession.
No player was exempt from such an inept performance. There was not one player you could say could come away with any pass marks on a day that everyone was off form. So there will have to be a big improvement next week when we travel to North Ayrshire to take on Kilbirnie Ladeside in the Scottish Junior Cup 1st Round.
Team: Nico Berton, Kieran Davidson (Grant Munro), Craig Simpson, Jack Mitchell, Ryan Whelan, Steve Travers, Tylor Christie (Callum Wilson), Jack Presly (Mike Bruce), Jamie Buglass, Seamus Croll, Sam Smith. Subs: Conran Wilson, Andrew Shepherd.