IT'S perhaps a measure of the progress under Fraser Duncan in such a relatively short space of time that those who had opted for Sauchie over Scotland were the ones more frustrated with Saturday's football.

While the national team toiled to a win 2,000 miles away, the Reds made it seven points in three games with a battling draw against mid-table Crossgates Primrose.

Jon Tully's march for the Ballon d'Or may be temporarily on ice as his scoring run ended at two, but the Reds still managed to secure the draw over Alan Campbell's men courtesy of a late own goal.

Despite the nagging feeling of an opportunity missed, the Wee County faithful can take plenty of solace in the fact the team has found a way to rescue results when they've looked beyond saving.

There's always been something pure about football at Beechwood Park and while the nation's eyes were grudgingly fixed on Cyprus, one youngster summed up the rawness of matters in the Wee County.

"So, Sauchie. Is that like a sock?" she asked her bemused dad at the back of the Jimmy Millar stand. It was arguably the highlight of an opening 20 minutes in which the two sides did little more than lay testing jabs on each other.

Two all-out heavyweights going blow-for-blow in the final rounds in Manilla this was not. Instead, it was the slender Conor Langton who laid the first significant punch to the Crossgates midriff, latching onto Ant McTaggart's threaded pass before looping the ball over the goalkeeper's head and crashing it against the inside of the post.

Jordan Wright might be the chalk to Langton's cheese but the big man has excelled since moving to partner Stevie Dolan in attack. He was the next to really threaten – albeit nearly half an hour later – when he forced the keeper into a sprawling save with a fine header after Simon White wriggled his way into a pocket of space.

Chances were at a premium and too often the Reds were guilty of wasting the final ball their fine build-up play deserved. On one occasion, McTaggart – who did have a fine, battling game at the heart of Sauchie's midfield – stooped low to burst into the box, jinked past a defender, but contrived to send his cross out for a throw-in when Wright was begging for it at the back post.

For their part, Crossgates were hardly setting the heather alight and doing little to excite those who made the short trip to Sauchie.

Keeper Darren Dolan was hardly tested in the first-half, but would probably have been picking the ball out of his net had Lewis Sawers' curling effort crept just inside the post rather than wide.

If anything summed up a frustrating half of football, it was the bemusing decision to award an offside against Sauchie on Crossgates' goal line when the last touch came off a man in blue. "Did you just get that flag for your birthday?" cried someone on the Reds' bench.

Tempers did flare briefly between the two dugouts and although Stewart Luke admitted the mistake, it proved about as effective as Neville Chamberlain's last-ditch attempts in Munich at bringing about peace.

White dragged an effort just over the bar at the start of the second-half and Kyle Turnbull's testing free kick found the arms of the keeper, but Sauchie just couldn't get going and soon were made to pay when Scott Lawrie caught Dolan cold with a stunning free kick to open the scoring.

The visitors hardly deserved it, but it was now up to Sauchie to once again find their new sense of resilience. And they did, albeit with a helping hand from their guests when the pressure of Langton proved too hot for the defender to handle as he prodded the ball into his own net.

They could have secured all three points when Tully nodded towards goal, only for the keeper to scoop the ball off the line with his feet and deny the big man another moment of glory.

SAUCHIE: D Dolan, Houston, Turnbull, Tully, Cross, Langton, McGregor (Donaldson 65), McTaggart, S Dolan, Wright (Comrie 80), White (McCaughie 65). UNUSED SUBS: Sharp, Dawson, Finlayson, McKeown, Young.