Coldstream 5, Kelso United 2: On what was a perfect day, Coldstream crushed local rivals Kelso United in this Borders derby to get their league campaign off to a flying start.
Other results in the East of Scotland Qualifying League also went their way, meaning they join Spartans from their group as qualifiers for the League Cup.
With this weekend’s Scottish Cup trip to Fraserburgh looming, there was no sign of distraction from the task in hand. Indeed, even though manager Andrew Gibson missed it all due a wedding, this result and performance was the ideal preparation.
Streamers were so far ahead in the first half-hour, they were even able to take their foot off the gas and conserve energy.
After Kieran Ainslie’s header put the Streamers in front, doubles soon followed from Jonny Simpson and captain John Crawford to put the home side 5-0 up inside 30 minutes.
Kelso gained a measure of respectability in the second half by two pulling two goals back, but there was never any doubt three points.
Anyone arriving at Home Park 20 minutes late would have missed four goals in quick succession.
The home side came flying out of the blocks to quickly demolish Kelso.
Former Coldstream managers Tam Blaikie and Peter McNulty were present on the opposition bench, with several past players also in the visitors’ line-up. They all had to endure an afternoon to forget.
After Simpson struck the post early on with just a minute on the clock, it was the next part of the game that was to ultimately cost Blaikie’s men, whose defence was square and flat as the red headed winger continually broke free down the right, causing problem after problem.
After a Michael Allan effort was deflected over the crossbar, summer signing Kieran Ainslie powered a header home from the resulting corner to open his Streamers account and the scoring in this Borders derby.
Moments later Simpson hit a cross that fortunately found its way into the top corner to double the lead before Crawford latched on to Josh Hebdon’s neatly threaded through-ball to take aim and then fire in his first goal of the season. It was a weight lifted off the shoulders of last season’s First Division top scorer.
The lead was then increased further when Simpson slotted home a fourth, this after less than a quarter of the game had been played.
Kelso then began to play some decent football, with Streamers goalkeeper Mark Walters called upon to first save a Des Burnett header and then tip another effort over his crossbar.
Further pressure followed, but a long-range shot found ended on the bowling green rather than troubling the goal.
On the break, Crawford found himself in the clear once more, effortlessly slotting home for a fifth with half-time still 15 minutes away. The striker was looking like a different player now that the three-game goal drought was over.
It was always going to be difficult to maintain such a high standard after the break, and so it proved. Burnett pulled one back for Kelso shooting low past Walters before a second Kelso goal came in a similar manner.
Opportunities then fell for the Coldstream forwards, with Crawford heading just wide as he tried his hardest to bag a hat-trick.
All in all it was an even second half, however, with the visitors looking a different team after the restart.
Further half chances came from corners for both sides, but substitute Lee Lambert could not convert for Coldstream.
Burnett lashed his shot over the bar at the other end when it looked like he had done the hard part.
Coldstream: M Walters, J Ainslie, M Simpson, K Ainslie, M Allan, M Tait, J Hebdon, C Heugh, S Simpson, J Simpson, J Crawford. Subs: D Cornish, M Cornish, G Wales, G McCrudden, L Lambert.