Helensburgh crashed out the West of Scotland Cup at the first hurdle after an 8-2 defeat at home to Cambria on a scorching, sun-drenched afternoon at Hermitage Academy.

Their opponents won this prestigious competition in 2017 so it was fair to say the draw hadn’t been kind; nevertheless with a strong starting line-up and reverting to a familiar 4-3-3 formation the Burgh lads were hopeful of producing an upset.

The early signs were promising as Burgh pushed their opponents back, utilising the pace of David Allan and David Sinclair on the flanks and the brawn of Brooks Tadlock through the middle.

And with five minutes gone Burgh broke the deadlock after stringing several passes together in midfield before the ball was passed into Tadlock’s feet; he held off his man before swivelling to his left and playing a perfectly weighted pass in behind the Cambria left back for Sinclair, who laid it on a place for Allan to give the keeper no chance.

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Sinclair was onto it in a flash, cutting across his defender before playing the ball back across goal directly into the path of Allan charging in from the left wing. A low, first time strike gave the opposition keeper no chance.

Burgh weren’t able to hold onto their lead for long though. Just four minutes later Cambria were back level when their main striker wasn’t closed down quickly enough in the penalty box – and with the Burgh defenders inexplicably standing off, he had ample time to control the ball before setting himself and placing a firm shot into the side netting.

During the next 10 minutes Burgh struggled to cope with the movement of their opposition and Eskdale was forced into a couple of fine stops, the second of which resulted in a Cambria corner; a quick set-piece move caught the home defence off guard, allowing a Cambria player the chance to curl a fine shot just inside the back post from the left hand edge of the penalty area.

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Burgh nearly conceded again shortly before the interval when, after a 50/50 challenge, the ball looped high in the air deep in their penalty box; the Cambria centre forward was allowed to rise unchallenged for the ball but his header was held by Eskdale.

With no changes from either side at the break Burgh started the second half determined to get back on level terms and just after the 50 minute mark they missed a glorious opportunity to square the match: Allan was put through one on one with the Cambria keeper, he drew the keeper out but placed his shot the wrong side of the right hand post when he should really have scored.

Moments later Allan was presented with another, more difficult, chance when he was played in deep in the opposition area, this time with the keeper almost on top of him; from an acute angle he got his toe to the ball first, but again saw the ball slip agonisingly wide.

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This was to prove the turning point in proceedings as shortly afterwards Cambria scored from an innocuous long range effort when Eskdale misjudged the flight of the ball and, despite getting a hand on the shot, couldn’t prevent the ball from creeping in.

From this point on things went from bad to worse for the home side when ruthless finishing from Cambria combined and the stifling conditions exposed a lack of fitness and spirit in the Burgh side.

Five unanswered goals in a devastating 20 minute spell potentially flattered the visitors but was reflective of a dismal spell of play for the home side.

Burgh scored a second goal through Allan in the dying stages but this brought little consolation from what was a hugely disappointing second half display.

Helensburgh won’t dwell on this result for too long, and will now focus their attention on their upcoming league campaign. After two successive promotions they visit East Kilbride YM in their opening league fixture in early October.

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Squad: Ronnie Eskdale, Gerraint Meader, Daniel Johns, Steven Seears, Del Park, Calum Dodds, Karl Johansson, Steven Bailey, David Sinclair, Brooks Tadlock, David Allan, Jamie Paterson, Marc McNeil, David Wilkie.