IT seems for every step Sauchie take to ending whispers of crisis they contrive to find a new way of taking two more back.

This was perhaps one of the most painful weekends yet for their grumbling faithful as the Reds failed to make the most of scoring in the first minute only to concede in the game’s closing stages.

It was a blow softened, however, by the post-game announcement that club legend Fraser Duncan is back at the helm.

The result was made all the more painful by the fact Sauchie passed up the chance to finally climb off the foot of the Premier Division table and claw their way out of the red.

The equaliser, when it arrived, was Sauchie’s struggling season in a single phase of play as Whitehill pounced on a catalogue of errors at the back; it’s a tale the Wee County faithful will be growing tired of hearing.

First, Kyle Turnbull could only scoop the ball into the air before Graeme McGregor and Ant McTaggart got in each other’s way. Sauchie jerseys stood still as Kieran Somerville drove towards their box with purpose and Scott Wright couldn’t believe his luck when he rose unchallenged at the back post to head home.

Agonisingly, it had all looked so good for 81 minutes.

Any doubts that Sauchie would approach this game casually against a side they beat last week seemed to have been quashed within thirty seconds when David Cross stroked home from the spot. The Reds’ intent was clear as David McCaughie latched onto a ball in behind the visitors’ backline, chipped it to the rampaging Turnbull, before the ever elusive Conor Langton was brought down for the penalty.

In truth, however, it was a game beset by a frustrating inability from both sides to properly string together consistent attacking play. Instead, it was the crunch of the tackle that wet the appetite in this relegation tussle.

What it did provide was answers to some of this season’s pressing concerns; the final nine minutes aside.

Sauchie’s generosity at the back? There was new signing Jordan Wright to put out more fires than Rebekah Vardy’s lawyers, even if he was powerless at the goal. Impotent in attack? The performances of Langton, McCaughie and Simon White lifted hopes that the only floodgates at Beechwood won’t be in the sky.

Whitehill gave it their all but all too often found themselves up against Sauchie’s new found sense of stubbornness; that, and their own glaring lack of quality. On the rare occasion they did break down Wright and Cross’ Maginot Line in the first half, Darren Dolan bailed them out.

McCaughie’s tireless running was a constant menace. He curled an effort straight into Youssef Bejaoui’s hands and later stretched his legs to race in behind the Whitehill defence before his delicate chip was scooped away as Craig Donaldson looked poised to score.

McCaughie wasn’t done there and should have made it two on the stroke of half-time when he ghosted into the box, only to screw his volley wide.

The Reds wasted little time after the break in looking for a crucial second, which seemed increasingly necessary as the minutes ticked by and Whitehill’s advances into enemy territory grew bolder and bolder. A lovely flick by Langton played in White, who chipped askew, before the BSC Glasgow loanee passed up an even better chance when he nodded Donaldson’s inch-perfect cross past the post.

In between the two guilt edged chances for White - who otherwise impressed with his vision and guile - McCaughie and Langton linked up superbly on the counter to give the former a chance on the edge of the box.

But, the Whitehill threat refused to go away and from their own counter they caught Sauchie cold as Robbie Dowie’s cross-cum-shot whizzed past Dolan’s post.

Sensing the danger, the Darrens introduced Ant McTaggart to anchor the midfield and threw Stevie Dolan on to offer something different in the forward areas. But, all of the attacking play was now in their own half as Whitehill tried desperately to avoid their fate.

And in the end it paid off as the hosts’ Red Sea parted like the Biblical tale and Wright sunk Sauchie hearts.