Banchory St Ternan manager Sandy Carrol described his side’s defeat to Hermes as “a bad day at the office” after they were hammered 5-0 by the Superleague leaders.
Hermes were out to avenge their only league defeat earlier in the season when Banchory triumphed 3-2 at Milton Park and it was their prolific striker Marek Madle who made the most of some poor defending to hit home four goals.
Saints had five players missing for their visit to Lochside Park but it was Banchory who had the first chance after five minutes when Campbell Watt burst through the middle but did not have the pace to get a strike on goal.
Hermes then had a half chance but Gairns’ angled shot was blocked by Grant Sim in the Saints goal.
Scott Garrett’s pace found him clear on the right and into the penalty area but his low hard cross was smartly saved by Hermes keeper Sweeney.
Gairns went close with a volley that sliced past the post before Madle started to have his influence on the game.
A misplaced Richard Stainer lay off was picked up by Madle and evaded two tackles before Sim closed him down to block his attempt.
Then on 15 minutes Adam Morrison did well to block the hitman at the edge of the box. But two minutes later the big striker beat Sim to a through ball to slot the ball into the empty net.
Saints tried to hit back and Watt charged down a clearance, but his cross was held up in the wind and easily gathered by Sweeney.
The best chance to equalise came on 25 minutes. Garrett ran onto a through ball and unleashed an angled shot from 15 yards which Sweeney palmed away at full stretch. Stainer picked up the loose ball laid off to Jake Strachan but the midfielder fired high over the bar from 18 yards.
This miss was punished three minutes later. From a harmless 40 yard free kick out on the right Madle drifted past the static Banchory defence to shoot past the helpless Sim for 2-0.
Ten minutes later Madle got his hat trick. Saints lost possession on the right and when the ball was squared into the six yard box Madle was on hand to flick the ball into the net.
Into the second half and things didn’t get any better for Banchory, with Hermes increasing their lead within four minutes.
A free kick from the left was headed onto Saints’ crossbar and as the defence stood still Madle nipped into lash the ball into the roof of the net for his and his team’s fourth. That was Madle’s magic done for the day as he was substituted five minutes later.
Sweeney had to look sharp to block a Saints effort at the edge of the box but that was all they could muster.
Garrett was replaced by Kevin Robertson after 62 minutes and within two minutes it was 5-0 to Hermes.
A long through ball down the middle found no Banchory takers in defence with Hermes Hamilton left all alone to round Sim to score with ease.
Scott Burke came on for the injured Morrison with 20 minutes left.
Probably the best Banchory effort came from substitute Kevin Robertson whose curling low shot was creeping into the bottom left hand corner before Sweeney dived full length to touch round the post.
Wyness then shot straight at Sim when it was perhaps easier to score the sixth, but it was Banchory who had the last say when Stainer headed into the net from a corner but the goal was chalked off.
Speaking after the match, Saints boss Carrol said: “We got beat from a far better team on the day, and it is a little reminder to us all that we have still got a bit of work to do and I am sure we will learn from this.
“We entertain Ellon on Saturday on cup duty and we welcome back Shaun Carrol, Cammy Gray, Chris Irvine and Alan McRae to our squad.”
This Saturday Ellon United visit Milton Park for the 1st Round of the McLeman Cup, kick off 1.30pm.