The history books were rewritten once again last night as Tain Thistle recorded their biggest ever win, handing the underachieving Invergordon Social Club a 15-2 humping at Grant Park in the first round of the Coronation Cup. The win tops the club's previous record of 11-1 against Tain United in 2002.
The tie started in disjointed fashion as the Social Club goalkeeper, Jamie Murphy, failed to appear, forcing defender Daniel Cormack to take his place between the sticks again as he had done on the opening day of the season against Thistle. Referee Gary McCarthy, having delayed kick off to allow Social extra time to produce an eleventh player eventually blew the whistle to start the game off at 3.17pm.
Thistle were without Michael Brand, Brian Cameron and Daniel Christie, but manager Arron Christie was able to reintroduce himself and Craig Nimmons, with Ryan Cowie back in the first team fold.
With only ten men to begin, a Social side countered their uphill struggle by playing with an element of determination at the start of the game, quickly finding the net through Scott Stirling, as the Invergordon man headed home a James McKidd cross to cancel out Erich Golabek's calamitous own goal opener for Tain moments earlier.
At 1-1, the game was beginning to look like a goalfeast, however the superior attacking prowess of Thistle quickly shone through; Darran Goller breezing past the Social defence to slot home a second after only ten minutes. Robbie Ross was next to capitalize, with a mis-hit strike in the six yard box sent trundling beyond Cormack to make it 3-1 on the quarter hour mark.
Neil Stephens was able to pull a goal back for Social a few minutes later, but as quickly as they scored, any semblance of winning hope immediately flew out of the window.
Stepping up a gear, Thistle began to play the flowing football that has eluded them for most of the season and soon found a fourth goal through Liam Rostock, before Colin Burry watched his effort deflected into the net to make it 5-2. In his final game of the season before his return to the United States, Garry Perks netted the sixth, placing a shot beyond Cormack after dribbling with ease past a near static Social back line.
Christie introduced Ryan Johnston for Robbie Ross as the second half began, with the tie already all but over. 16 year old John Maclellan reopened the floodgates at the start of the second period, shamelessly robbing Martyn Farquhar of the final touch on a clever piece of play in the 18 yard box, to score his third of the season. Shortly after Perks added his second to make it 8-2, Farquhar indeed got on the scoresheet, drilling a shot past Cormack for Thistle's ninth.
A defensive calamity led to Thistle's tenth, as Perks netted his hat-trick by simply walking the ball into the net, and only moments after taking his place as a second half substitute, player-boss Christie netted a beautiful long range shot from 30 yards, directly into the top corner to make it 11-2.
Rostock added Thistle's twelvth goal with a rifled shot underneath Cormack, before Perks netted his fourth. With ten minutes remaining, it was up to Darran Goller to wrap up proceedings. After a flurry of missed efforts by Rostock, substitute Craig Nimmons and his cousin Dave, Goller netted to end an eight minute barren spell, thumping a shot in at the near post to make it fourteen. Goller achieved a personal best two minutes later at the end of time by netting his first competitive hat-trick for Thistle, having done the same only a week prior in the Macrae/MacAngus testimonial.
The emphatic win sends Thistle into the semi final of the Coronation Cup, when they will meet Cromarty at Victoria Park. The tie will be played on Saturday, August 7th with a 3pm kick off at Cromarty.
Matheson, D Nimmons, Cowie, Sutherland (A Christie), Ross (Johnston), Farquhar, Burry (C Nimmons), Goller, Rostock, Maclellan, Perks
Galabrci o.g. 3, Goller 10, 88, 90, Ross 15, Rostock 23, 79, Burry 28, Perks 32, 62, 71, 80, Maclellan 48, Farquhar 65, A Christie 73
Man of the Match:
Team Pld GD Pts Tain Thistle 10 30 27 Golspie Stafford 10 15 19 Helmsdale Utd 10 2 14 Brora Wandrs 10 -3 13 Lochinver 10 -18 11 Melvich 10 -26 3