Downfield Juniors…0

Sauchie Juniors…1

SAUCHIE Juniors celebrated lifting the East Premier title in style as they closed out their season with victory over Downfield.

David Morrison’s first half strike was enough to separate the sides, with both having a man sent off in the second half.

The victory was a perfect end to a season where Sauchie bounced straight back to the Super League at the first attempt.

Sauchie had an early penalty appeal waved away when the ball appeared to strike the arm of a Downfield player in the box, the referee waving play on despite the protests.

The home side were enjoying the better openings and Greig Maitland had to show great reflexes to deny Hagen twice in quick succession.

Chances were coming at both ends and Jordan Tapping went close for Sauchie, firing over from the edge of the box after a corner had fallen nicely for him.

The defender was in for an eventful night and did his job at the other end, denying Blair with a terrific block, sending the ball out for a corner when the striker looked certain to score.

Josh Flood was then kept out by a terrific save after captain Brian Morgan picked him out with a wonderful pass.

But the opening goal did arrive from the resulting corner. Ryan Millar’s corner was knocked down and bounced up perfectly for Morrison, who hooked it over the helpless goalkeeper and into the roof of the net to give the champions elect the lead.

Flood was once again a danger man for Sauchie and he was unlucky not to score, being denied twice in quick succession by yet more excellent goalkeeping from the Downfield custodian, who was having a superb game.

The second half started in eventful fashion when Maitland was controversially dismissed in the opening minutes, the linesman informing the referee that the stopper had kicked out at Blair.

With no substitute keeper on the bench, that meant Tapping had to pull the gloves on for almost the entire half, but from the original free kick, Downfield were unable to test him.

Despite their disadvantage, Sauchie were the dominant force, and Morgan cleared the crossbar with a free kick, before Darren Cummings caused panic in the defence with a teasing cross which the keeper only just held onto.

The substitute was causing all sorts of bother and was agonisingly close to making the game safe with a stinging drive which shaved the post on its way past.

In the dying minutes of the game, the numbers were evened up when Neave hauled down Morrison as the goalscorer raced clear. Despite the home side’s protests, the centre back was dismissed and the remainder of the game was played ten against ten.

And from the resulting free kick, Cummings went close again, his shot coming off the outside of the post and bouncing clear.

That was the final action of a season full of ups and downs, but one which saw Sauchie complete their goal of returning to the top flight after just one season in the second tier.

Sauchie Juniors: Maitland, Sharp, McCulloch, Tapping, Fleming, Shields (Shirra), McTaggart (McFarlane), Morgan, Morrison, Millar (Cummings), Flood. Not used: Dolan, Syme.