A SIX-GOAL thriller at Beechwood Park saw Sauchie Juniors come out on top against nine-man Hill of Beath Hawthorn in a bottom half of the table battle.

The Reds have recently hit a good run of form, after a sluggish start to the season, with a 3-2 win against Newtongrange and a 2-2 draw against Dundonald last week.

At a blistering hot Saturday at Beechwood, Sauchie welcomed Hill of Beath, who were only two points ahead of them in the league table, for a hotly-contested match.

Sauchie opted for a 4-4-2 formation, but manager Fraser Duncan said it has been difficult for him to field the same team two weeks in a row as they have been plagued with injures and players self-isolating.

Regardless of a depleted team, Duncan was able to welcome back Brian Morgan, who had been out with an injury for four weeks, who made short work announcing his return to the starting XI.

A poor clearance straight from kick off by the visitors had the ball land at Morgan's feet, who with his first touch of the game, lobbed Beath's keeper to put Sauchie ahead with probably the quickest goal of the season with only 12 seconds played.

Manager Duncan said: "We came out the blocks absolutely flying" – and flying was an understatement as ten minutes later Sauchie scored their second.

Morgan's second goal of the match was a little more scrappy as the keeper spilled the ball from a corner and it landed, again, at the sharpshooter's feet. Morgan took his opportunity and smashed it into the roof of the net.

Delighted with his two goals Morgan said: "I was a wee bit shocked to get the shout to start as I've been out for four to five weeks.

"To get the nod it was good to give the gaffer a thanks and give him two goals."

'Beath had struggled with the ball in the air, and this was a weakness Sauchie exploited with a corner kick that led to their third goal in 25 minutes.

Scott Davidson, who has signed for Sauchie this season from Cumbernauld Colts, was the target man at the back post who shrugged off his defender and headed it goalwards.

Beath's keeper got a hand on the ball, and it bounced awkwardly downwards towards the goal and was then cleared off the line.

All eyes were at the ref who took a second before blowing his whistle and signalling the ball had crossed the line but at that point Davidson was already celebrating.

Goalscorer Davidson said: "I knew it was in; there was all those shouts, but I knew it was in already."

A near-perfect first half for Sauchie but after the restart the tables were flipped as Hill of Beath started strongly.

Sauchie were temporarily down to ten men, as Sam Collumbine went down injured but play continued, and with the man advantage 'Beath striker Paul Quinn lobbed the Reds keeper Chic Bell to claw back a goal after just two minutes from the restart.

Collumbine then had to come off and new singing Grant Dickie made his debut.

Two minutes later it went from bad to worse for Sauchie as Hill of Beath scored their second with a simple ball over the top and Calum Adamson struck it bottom corner. The Reds' back four did nothing but watch.

A complete turnaround from the first half performance as it was truly woeful defending from Sauchie.

Alarm bells were ringing as flashbacks from last week creeped in when Sauchie blew a two-goal lead against Dundonald to draw the game.

Duncan said: "It's all about making sure we go and win the game and don't go and concede silly goals and we done that in the second half, two silly goals as we just switched off.

"The most pleasing thing for me in the game is that we have managed to rise above that and we have managed to get past that and say right we are going to get back in this game and we are going to make sure the three points are staying at Beechwood."

With less than an hour played Hill of Beath were down to ten men as Russell Grierson saw a second yellow card for handball.

Sauchie's fourth goal started at the back with a brilliant run by Davidson who dribbled from box to box before slipping the ball to Conor Kelly who buried it calmly.

A well-deserved goal for Conor Kelly who worked tirelessly throughout the match. The final nail in the coffin came when Sauchie's newly-signed Kris Kelly knocked the ball past Beath's last man Lyle Kellichan who saw a straight red for bringing Kris Kelly down who was through on goal.

Fraser concluded: "I'm chuffed to bits that we have got the three points and hopefully now we can start turning this around as there is no way we are a bottom half of the table team."

SAUCHIE: Bell, Syme, Cross, Tully (Carroll), Davidson, Docherty, Smith (Crawford), S Collumbine (Dickie), Finlayson, Morgan (K Kelly), C Kelly (Cracknell) Unused Subs: Ant McTaggart, E Collumbine.