SAUCHIE JUNIORS ended their recent run of form with a 1-0 loss to Linlithgow Rose in the Scottish Cup.

A tight-knit game was decided by a penalty early in the first half as Sauchie goalkeeper Chic Bell was deemed to have fouled Linlithgow forward Sean Heaver.

Fraser Duncan’s side came out the better team in the second half but were unable to produce anything to get back into the game.

The match was all but sealed once Sauchie were put down to 10 men after Ross Kavanagh was sent off for an alleged incident in the 80th minute.

Duncan, speaking to the Advertiser Sport, said: “We knew coming here was going to be a difficult task and I think the weather made it a bit more difficult with a bit of wind in the first half.

“I’m not going to talk about officials, but it does seem to come back to that. It was never a penalty – I was close to it and I was in a better position than the referee was, so that makes it worse.

“The linesman could’ve helped him. It’s not a penalty – the boy has gone away from goals; the goalie has come out. There was no contact whatsoever, the boy has stuck his leg out to try and win the penalty and they gave him it.

“At the end of the day, that’s what has decided the cup tie and that is what is most disappointing for me.”

With very little separating the two teams, Duncan hopes momentum will not be lost following Sauchie’s phenomenal results really.

He added: “In recent games, we’ve done really well – knocked the ball about really well, we’ve scored goals, kept clean sheets.

“I can’t fault my guys for anything today really; maybe not upped the tempo enough in the second half. They were there for the taking and we’ve not done it as well as we could have.

“We could’ve went at them a bit harder and it’s just upsetting that it’s come down to a poor decision.

“Our guys have worked really hard and they’ve gave me everything and that’s all I can ask of them.”

Despite being put out of the Scottish Cup, Duncan hopes to turn this around with a win at Blackburn United next Saturday.

“Back to league duty next weekend," the manager continued. "Our aim is to get back to it and keep our standards up and maintain our performances.

“I feel we were the better side in this cup tie and we just need to now go and prove that and we do that by going to Blackburn and putting points on the board.

“We’ll push on next week and go for the three points and then we’ll have another tough game after that at Jeanfield [Swifts].

Sauchie midfielder Jack Docherty told Advertiser Sport it was a hard pill to swallow after what he felt was a good performance from the team.

He said: “Losing this one is sore to take – not only the penalty, but the overall magnitude of the game for the club and for the fans, it’s a gutter.

“I thought the game was pretty fair, we did really well. We played in some pretty hard conditions and we tried to keep the ball on the deck as much as we could.

“We had a few chances but unfortunately the game was decided from the penalty. If we had taken our chances, it could’ve been a very different game. A sending off at the end of the park really changed it as well.”

The second half was a gritty performance from both teams, resulting in a sending off for Kavanagh after he was alleged to have struck Linlithgow Rose captain Gary Thom.

Docherty felt some of the officials decisions hindered Sauchie going forward and stopped some key chances from materialising.

He said: “Majority of the second half, we were the team going forward and there were some decisions from the ref that stopped a few chances breaking through.

“End of the day, it’s up to us to work on that final third and take our chances. Can’t really be blaming anything else."