Scarva Rangers were anticipating a tough start to their new league campaign, but not as tough as this.
A trip to Portadown to play Ambassadors was always going to test the village side’s mettle.
Since last season Scarva have lost the services of some key players, not least their influential captain Neil Anderson, goalkeeper Richard McGivern, centre half Rod Douglas and leading goalscorer Dean McCammon but there remains ample quality within the squad.
The challenge for the players who remain, players with an abundance of talent, is to raise the level of their performances and fill the void that has been left.
The visitors made a bright and purposeful start to the game but by the time the half-time whistle sounded, they were 4-0 behind and the game appeared over as a contest.
To their enormous credit, they were revitalised in the early stages of the second half and scored twice to at least cast some doubt on a home victory that had seem so assured at the interval.
An incisive pass from Greg Douglas released Andrew Boyce on the right wing and an Ambassadors defender was forced to concede a corner.
Greg Douglas’ delivery from the corner was exceptional and Ryan Dodds sent an unstoppable header screeching into the net.
Shortly afterwards, the arrears were reduced to 4-2. A scintillating pass from Andrew Boyce, majestically clipped over the home defence, sent Stephen Hendron haring towards goal and he unleashed a venomous shot that hurtled past the advancing keeper into the back of the net.
Lamentable dithering in the Scarva defence gifted the home side a fifth goal and in the process snuffed out any lingering hope of the visitors salvaging something from the game.
Scarva created some further attacking opportunities, including two terrific strikes from Adam Maginnis, but the home side scored three more goals to compound a miserable afternoon for Rangers.
They were well beaten by a superior side, whose finishing was ruthless, but there were times when Scarva produced moments of genuine quality.
That quality, though, needs to be produced in much more than fleeting moments.
Best for Scarva Rangers: Wes Baird, Ryan Dodds and Greg Douglas.