Stenhousemuir 6 Real Kashmir 0: Joy of six for the Warriors

Ochilview hosted a historic first
Ochilview hosted a historic first

How often is history made in Stenhousemuir?

Saturday saw the historic first with a team from the Kashmir region of India playing abroad for the first time - on Gladstone Road at Ochilview.

Stenhousemuir v Real Kashmir

Stenhousemuir v Real Kashmir

It was always about the experience for the visitors, many of whom had never travelled outside the region, and play in the second tier of the Indian league system. But on evidence from this friendly - the last in the Warriors' warm-ups ahead of the Betfred Cup kick-off next Saturday, the upper echelons of Scotland's fourth tier is superior to that level.

Stenhousemuir were comfortable winners in this friendly which had a little more intrigue than your run-of-the-mill pre-season exercise.

Kashmir's journey to the UK had been beset by paperwork delays, and when the visas finally came through and allowed travel via Bahrain and London they had to cancel to earlier arranged games, leaving Ochilview to host what the clubs believe is an historic first.

The early signs were promising for the Warriors, particularly from Harry Paton who showed some neat touches alongside youngster Thomas Halleran in the middle of the park. And it was the young Forth Valley football academy graduate who had the first meaningful attempt on goal, after seven minutes, flashing a strike from 20 yards by Shamir Ahmad Sheikh's post.

Stenhousemuir FC

Stenhousemuir FC

Kashmir had pressed Stenhousemuir's back line, gently, from the start, calling new Warriors captain Mick Dunlop and returning goalkeeper Chris Smith into early action.

Martin Scott rounded the goalkeeper on ten minutes and shot from an angle, but Mohammad Hammad retreated and cleared off the line. The opener came shortly afterwards when Jamie Longworth thumped a vicious half-volley off the underside of the bar. The ball was destined to land over the line anyway, but struck the unwitting Amer Rehman on the line.

Longworth doubled his tally a matter of minutes later on the 18th from the edge of the area, much to goalkeeper Shiekh's frustration.

Boss David Robertson was keen to see his side play higher up the field early on but they were being forced back by an unrelentless Stenhousemuir who had found their confidence. Kashmir's main outlet was a long ball from defence flicked on by Asrar Rebar for Prem Kumar's run.

Ross Meechan swings in a cross

Ross Meechan swings in a cross

But the Warriors went three up on 26 minutes when Longworth turned creator and clipped a ball fro the right side of the penalty box for Martin Scott in the centre. The midfielder had been deployed wide on the left by Brown Ferguson and was free to leap and nod in.

Mark McGuigan stroked in a penalty when Longworth was impeded in the box on the half hour by Liyaqat Gul and he was substituted shortly after for Basalat Javaid.

Halleran was showing up really well for the Warriors having joined the Ochilview outfit from the affiliated Forth Valley football academy. Not afraid to hassle and harry, he took the ball in tight areas and more often than than not retained possession.

The Warriors saw out the opening half with a series of corners, frantically cleared by the visitors. They were a,most punished at the penultimate set-piece of the first period when Scott stroked a side-foot effort off the inside of the post and Longworth was unable to force the rebound in and it was ushered out for another corner.

HALF-TIME 4-0 STENHOUSEMUIR

Kashmir burst out in the second half and had a real go at their hosts early on, conceding several free kicks. But their fight was retaliated with goals by the Warriors and Mark McGuigan gave the Warriors their fifth with his second of the afternoon from close range,

A moment later a great run and low cross from Ross Meechan found Martin Scott free but he was foiled from his own brace by the chest of goalkeeper Sheikh making a good block.

Chris Smith, Stenhousemuir's returning stopper, had been untroubled, and was replaced by Lewis McMinn the Warriors' new signing from Falkirk on the hour mark. It was about as much activity as the west end of the Ochilview pitch saw as the Warriors camped out ion their attacking half.

With around 15 minutes remaining the Stenhousemuir goalkeeper finally had some work to do and McMinn was alert to grab the ball and maintain the Warriors' clean sheet despite long concentration-sapping spells of idleness.

McGuigan completed a hat-trick by rounding Shiekh who had rushed out of his box with five minutes to go. The goalkeeper swiped at the forward who went down but still managed to clip the sixth into the empty net before being replaced by Eddie Ferns.

Other than those two changes, Brown Ferguson had resisted temptation to cycle through all his replacements on the bench, and this selection is both strong enough and impressive enough to hold its own as a potential team for next term. There re rough edges but Halleran in the middle with Paton and McGuigan up front will cause League Two sides problems. Add in the experience of Martin Scott, Mark Ferry, the Dunlop duo and Jamie Longworth as well as existing talent in Ross Meechan should give cause for optimism at Ochilview.

It may not have gone anything to plan for the visitors from the Srinagar region of Indian-controlled Kashmir, but it was always billed as a learning experience for the team - many of whom had never experienced life outside the region. Training with Rangers and a closed-door game with Albion Rovers is also on their itinerary and Ibrox director Paul Murray watched ex-Rangers defender Robertson's side in action.

For Stenhousemuir, they may have a similarly regal name, but Queen of the South next Saturday, in the Warriors' first competitive game of the season will be a distinctly different operation.

FULL-TIME 6-0 STENHOUSEMUIR

Stenhousemuir: Smith (McMinn 60) Meechan, Dunlop, M.Dunlop, Paton, Halleran, Longworth, Ferry, Donaldson, McGuigan (Ferns 85).

Real Kashmir: Ahmed Sheikh, Hammad, S.Ahmad, Gul (Javaid 30), Nazir (I.Ahmad 60), Rehman, Farooq, Haroon (Fayaz 60), Rehbar (Ayub 75), Rasool (Mir 46), Kumar.