A second round South Challenge Cup tie between the University of Stirling First XI and Hawick RA has thrown up a 13-1 score line in a fixture less competitive than a Russian election.
In a tie that saw the champions of the East of Scotland Premier League meet a side struggling in the division below, it was certainly a mismatch of David and Goliath proportions. In this scenario though, David had lost his slingshot and his hands and feet were tied together.
In short, the travelling side never had a chance, and the students dominated from the offset.
The first goal came after ten minutes, when Craig Mason flicked the ball over his head to beat a stalling Hawick defence and send Paul Sludden through on goal. The forward player would finish his one-on-one opportunity with aplomb, and the University had opened the floodgates for a tidal wave of domination to take over.
The main issue with the Hawick defence was their persistent determination to attempt the off-side trap. In a fixture that had all the atmosphere and tempo of a training match for the students, the away side attempted to play a high defensive line against a side that outpaced them all over the pitch. While this tactic did see the side win the occasional free-kick, the majority of the time a Stirling attacker would simply step up with the Hawick defence before setting off after a through ball that would see them go one on one with the goalkeeper.
In this template, the University ended up 5-0 to the good at the break, with Sludden netting a surreal four times and former Wrexham man Robert Pearson also getting in on the action.
The massacre continued after the break, and despite some stern words from their angered manager, the Hawick side had less chance of surviving a mauling than an unclaimed can of beer has of surviving in student halls.
Liam Corr was the first to add to the goal tally, netting in the previously discussed manner to send his side into a six goal lead. Blair McWhirter would quickly follow with a four minute double through a combination of cut backs and neat finishing.
Substitute Chris Geddes came on to add to the travelling team’s defensive issues, and the prolific striker managed to get a hat-trick in his short time on the pitch, whilst also setting up many times assistee Craig Mason for his only goal of the day.
When Mason was removed from the pitch with a minor injury after all three subs had been made, the farcical game reached a stage of anguish for the away side, with the Stirling men continuing to bang them in despite boasting only ten men on the park.
An effort from Callum Burns was the other successful strike to split up Geddes triumphant triplet, and whilst Hawick man Declan Hogg had made the score 9-1 with a cross turned shot, the biggest consolation his team will have received was in the comfort of a final whistle which was blown promptly on the 90 minute mark.
A careless run-out rather than a competitive tie for the first team then, and a day that the men from the First Division will want to quickly release from their memories.
University of Stirling: Walker, Nixon, Sheridan, Atkins, Robertson, Pearson, McWhirter, Nichol, Mason, Sludden, Corr
Subs: Marshall, Sutherland, Dick, Burns, Geddes