Glenrothes Strollers strolled to victory this afternoon against AM Soccer at the Elmwood Sports Centre in Cupar. Declan Nugent grabbed four goals, and there were hat-tricks for JonJay Reid and Liam Fraser; a brace each for Kieran Dall and Michael Wylie; as well as goals for Andrew Fleming, Fraser Binnie, Morgan Coull, Jack Kinninmount and Steven Adair as the visitors recorded their biggest win of the season.
As well as three points in the league, the win also booked Glenrothes a spot in the next round of the League Cup.
Glenrothes went into the game in fine form, having won all seven of their league games this season, and they got off to the perfect start against their hosts in what would turn out to be a devastating first ten minutes.
There were early warning signs for the home side as Nugents’ cross was cleared by Andrew Doyle, and within minutes Glenrothes had the lead as Fleming rose to head home from a corner.
Dall almost made it two when he shot from distance, but his right footed effort was dragged wide of the left hand post.
Glenrothes continued to press early on, and Nugents’ through ball almost found Binnie, but instead ran through to Kris Keanie to collect in the AM Soccer goal.
Binnie was close to doubling the lead shortly afterwards, attempting to chip the ‘keeper after winning the ball from a short goal kick, but Keanie was alert to the danger and recovered well to make the save.
Glenrothes were not to be denied for much longer, however, as a flurry of goals followed.
First, after Fleming beat two players down the right wing he delivered an inch perfect cross for Reid to tap in from close range. Nugent then headed home his first, before grabbing his second moments later after Binnies’ cross from the left was only half cleared, allowing him to fire right footed into the bottom corner to make it four nil.
It could have been worse for AM Soccer but for the woodwork, when Fleming met a cross from Dall but could only direct his header onto the post. Liam Fraser then attempted a chip from the edge of the area, but he saw his effort bounce agonisingly off the bar.
Glenrothes were relentless in their search for goals, and they were soon at it again when Dall latched onto a through ball to slot right footed under Keanie, before Reid scored his sides sixth with a left footed finish into the bottom corner, after being picked out by a pass from Nugent.
The woodwork again played a part in keeping the score to a minimum, after Wylie was denied by a fine save from Keanie, Fraser skimmed the bar with an effort from distance. Keanie was playing his part too however, and again produced a fine save to deny Fleming who had been picked out by a cross from Binnie delivered from the right.
At six nil, AM Soccer could have been forgiven for giving up, but that was the last thing on the home side minds. Having faced a ferocious opening from the visitors, the home side set about trying to claw a way back into the game.
Cameron Gourlay looked dangerous whenever he got the ball, and was unlucky to see his cross collected by Glenrothes ‘keeper Jamie Mack.
That chance signalled a much better spell for AM Soccer, but it did not stop Glenrothes from extending their lead further before the break.
First, in a moment of pure inspiration, Nugent collected the ball on the edge of the area before beating two defenders with an exceptional turn, and firing into the bottom corner to score the games stand out goal, and complete his hat-trick.
Despite now trailing by seven goals, AM Soccer were determined to leave their mark on the game, and Jake Reader was unlucky to get crowded out after attempting a mazy run into opposition territory, while Gourlay was also unlucky when trying to run onto a long through ball. Doyle was having a fine individual game despite the score line, and more than played his part in the heart of the home sides defence with some important tackles and interceptions when Glenrothes threatened to counter attack.
It wasn’t long before the away side were back amongst the goals, however, and Binnie was next on the scoresheet, heading home from a corner to make it eight; having moments earlier watched another header bounce not once, but twice along the cross bar and out for a goal kick.
Fleming then tested Keanie from distance, but was unable to find the net, and a run towards goal from Lewis Brearley for the home side was stopped by a tackle from ‘Strollers defender Harry Macdonald.
AM Soccer were still trying to attack the visitors, and Ethan Grant tried to find Brearley with a through ball, but Mack was able to collect. There was then some neat play between Grant and Mikkel Kristensen, but they were crowded out by the Glenrothes defence and unable to make the chance count.
As the first half drew to a close, there was just enough time for Glenrothes to put the shine on their first half display. First, Fraser drifted in unmarked at a corner to head home, before Coull latched onto a Kinninmount pass to slot home. Fleming almost made it through on goal moments before the whistle, but his run was stopped by a tackle from Kieran Gray.