Football matches are supposed to last 90 minutes but East Stirlingshire’s Scottish Cup second round game at Highland League Formartine United on Saturday was over after barely quarter of an hour.
John Sludden’s men were simply swept aside by their hosts in an onslaught of attacking football from the first whistle that was so one-sided Shire were thankful to have emerged from their 15-minute ordeal not more than two goals down.
Liam Burnett missed an easy chance, an astonishing one-handed save from Jamie Barclay kept out a Scott Barbour header, Paul Lawson shaved the post with a free-kick, Barclay saved brilliantly from Scott Ferries and Graeme Rodger headed over an open goal - all in the first eight minutes.
Eventually, after 13 minutes, a Ferries shot from six yards was deflected past Barclay and two minutes later Barbour knocked home a second.
Shire were already as good as out of the competition and, as the home side eased off the gas the rest of the game, had the feel almost of an afterthought.
However their lead was extended after 79 minutes when Ferris shot home from six yards and the scoring was completed by McPhee’s shot from inside the box two minutes later.
Shire’s miserable day was completed with a red card for Jamie McCormack.
“We just weren’t at the races,” admitted Sludden. “We started too slowly and didn’t do the things we talked about doing before the game.
“It was essential we got off to a good start and not stand off them but that didn’t happen and we allowed them to boss the game.
“They got two goals early and if it hadn’t been for Jamie Barclay it might have been more.”
But even at two goals down Sludden had not lost faith in his players. A week earlier they had fought back from an early deficit to beat Cumbernauld Colts but he admitted this time was different:
He said:“We started to dominate but in the second half our decision making let us down and then we started chasing the game.”