GREENOCK Wanderers had a tortuous journey to Strathmore on Saturday - and the pain didn't end there for the Greenock men.

The trip took four and a half hours due to an accident and roadworks just after Gleneagles which resulted in a lengthy detour and arrival at the ground at 3pm when the match should have been kicking off.

A short warm saw the action finally start at 3.40pm and sadly before 4pm Wanderers were already trailing.

After a bright start and a dominant first scrum which pushed Strathmore back, the home side got on the score-sheet through a penalty by stand-off Butchart.

Play was dominated by Strathmore for the next 10 minutes, their backs were impressing with slick handling and Wanderers were working hard to stop any further scores, before a second penalty by Butchart in the 17th minute.

Strathmore were in complete control constantly threatening Wanderers' try line. Their number eight Mitchell had a charging run for the line halted by a try-scoring tackle by Wanderers full-back Smith. The resulting scrum again confirmed Wanderers dominance in the pack and a relieving kick by Leigh Tyley took the visitors to half-way.

A rare foray into the opposition's half by Wanderers was halted when Strathmore stole the ball and, after a slick move involving backs and forwards across the field, and Butchart ran through a gap to score a try, which he then converted to stretch the lead to 13-0.

Strathmore were very much on the ascendency and another fast-flowing move resulted in their right winger Dandie scoring a converted try to take the score to 20-0 after 28 minutes.

Wanderers continued to work hard and a rare raid into the opposition half came to nothing. In fact the home side were soon back in Wanderers' half and only a dropped pass a few metres short of Wanderers' line prevented another score. Wanderers suffered another blow when AJ Guthrie had to leave the field with a nasty wound to his mouth, forcing Tyley to move into scrum-half. Michael Frizzel switched to stand-off and Ryan McCready to centre, with new boy Sam Berry moving into second row.

After notching a penalty, at last Wanderers scored a try, just reward for their resilience under constant pressure from the home side. A storming run by McCready and a pass to Frizzel saw him score in the corner. His conversion hit the upright and that ended the first half 20 points to eight to Strathmore.

At half-time Wanderers regrouped and started the second period in a determined fashion. They dominated the first five minutes but lost the ball in the tackle and Strathmore were able to relieve the pressure.

Their backs again got into their stride and only a forward pass averted a try. Struan Brown came on for the injured Murray McKechnie as Wanderers fought to get a foot-hold.

The visitors threatened a few times, with McCready constantly catching the eye with his forceful runs. He gained a penalty and Frizzel added the points to make the score 20-11 as the clock showed 15 minutes gone in the second half.

More problems for Wanderers though as two players were injured repelling a Strathmore attack, and Andrew Graham had to leave the field to be replaced by Andy Love. The home side had a period of dominance and a prolonged spell inside Wanderers' 22, ending with a relieving kick being charged down, allowing Strathmore centre Robb to run in under the posts. They try was converted to make it 27-11.

Wanderers again forced the home side into their own half and were rewarded with a ruck penalty, converted by Frizzel to keep Wanderers in the match at 27-14.

The comeback was halted through as the home side took a quick tap penalty inside Wanderers' 22 and their number seven scored under the posts. The try was again converted to make it 34-14 and with 15 minutes of the match remaining, Wanderers were reduced to 14 players after another player limped off with nobody fit left on the bench. Strathmore took full advantage and after some slick handling again ran through Wanderers' defence to score a converted try and end the match 41-14 to the hosts.

Wanderers stuck to the task but the Fort Matilda men just couldn't maintain momentum due to injuries.

Life does not get any easier on Saturday with another very difficult game away to Howe of Fife, who are going very well.

Photos: Campbell Skinner