A HISTORIC run for Sauchie Juniors came to an end on Saturday as they bowed out of the Scottish Cup.

Sauchie travelled to Dumbarton as they continued their first ever Scottish Cup campaign and looked to cause an upset and progress to the fourth round.

The game against Dumbarton, who beat fellow wee county team Alloa 2-1 last week 2-1, is the first competitive match for Sauchie against an SPFL team.

Sauchie, who already caused a first-round upset beating Fraserburgh 2-1, were looking to cause another upset against a Dumbarton side which are three leagues above the Reds.

Manager Fraser Duncan chose to line up in an unconventional formation for Sauchie, beginning with a 4-5-1 as lone striker Ross Crawford started up front instead of Connor Kelly who was just back from injury.

Dumbarton started off strong in the opening minutes of the first half and were dominant in possession. Nerves were showing early for Sauchie as they struggled to settle into a rhythm and committed several unforced errors, but they were defending well.

It wasn’t long until Dumbarton opened the scoring as their early pressure was rewarded inside 25 minutes. Sauchie couldn’t clear their lines properly and Dumbarton’s Carlo Pignatiello and Conner Duthie exchange passes inside the box before Pignatiello drilled the ball into the bottom right corner past Chic Bell.

With Sauchie now chasing the game they started playing a lot better, their nerves seemed to have settled after conceding, and they started pressing Dumbarton on the offence which they had not done for the first 25 minutes.

The Reds had a few half chances with some good balls coming in from wide but couldn’t get any of their headers to go towards the goal.

The best chance of the half came to Brain Morgan as a lovely, lofted ball through the middle of Dumbarton’s defence by Danny Smith found an unmarked Morgan in the box who controlled the ball with his chest and hit it on the volley, but couldn’t keep the ball down as it soared over the cross bar.

Sauchie kept up their hunt for an equaliser in the second half and a fantastic throw in from Darren Carrol found its way to Sam Collumbine in the box who made a good run but was chopped down by Dumbarton’s Gregor Buchanan and was awarded a penalty.

Smith stepped up and smashed the ball to the right, Sam Ramsbottom went the wrong way, but arguably wouldn’t have been able to get to the ball as Smith placed it beautifully into the side of the net.

Talking about his goal after the game Smith said: “I was feeling quite confident after scoring a few already so no doubts in my mind where I was going with it and just had to commit to a side and put my foot through it.”

“Thank god I’m on penalties this year, I don’t think I’ve scored a goal apart from a penalty.”

Dumbarton looked shell shocked as they were tied 1-1 with the non-league side and Sauchie took full advantage of the momentum.

With the game in the balance both sides had chances to go ahead, Bell pulled off a couple more outstanding saves to keep Sauchie level, and Grant Dickie and Smith both had chances blocked. With three minutes to go Dumbarton thought they had won the match as Ryan Schiavone’s smashed the ball goal wards from point blank range, but Bell pulled off another terrific save and stopped the ball on the goal line.

However, Dumbarton finally took the lead on 90 minutes as they were able to break down Sauchie’s defence and get the ball past Bell.

Sauchie were unable to clear their lines after defending the initial attack well, but the ball fell to Joe McKee on the edge of the box who drilled his shot into the bottom corner.

With nothing to lose and three minutes into stoppage time Sauchie had everyone up for a last minute deep free kick but were hit on the counter by Dumbarton.

Bell was able to make another great save but could only palm it as far as Dumbarton’s Schiavone who was able to tap it in and secured the Sons’ place in the fourth round.

The 3-1 score line flattered a particularly poor Dumbarton side and Sauchie put on an excellent performance in the second half and were unlucky not to get a draw in the end and to get a replay at Beechwood Park.

Speaking after the match, manager Fraser Duncan said: “We were what, two and a half minutes away from a replay, and a replay for my squad of lads in there to take a team like Dumbarton to a replay is just unbelievable.

“I can only say the boys have been absolutely fantastic today, everyone to a man, superb.”

SAUCHIE: Bell, Carroll, Cross, Davidson, Greenhorn (Finlayson), Docherty, Dickie, Morgan, Smith, Collumbine (K.Kelly), Crawford (C.Kelly). UNUSED: Hamilton, Cracknell, McMahon, Gilfilla