A TENSE game played out between Sauchie and Linlithgow Rose on Saturday, as Fraser Duncan’s side hoped to carry their momentum from their recent results.

Conditions proved to be tricky in Linlithgow, with the rain making the pitch difficult to play on.

There was only one change made from the 3-0 result over Blackburn the previous weekend as Sam Columbine came in for David McCaughie.

Sauchie lined up with Chic Bell in goals behind a back four of Ross Hutchison, Scott Davidson, Darren Carroll and Connor Willaghan. The midfield consisted of Jack Docherty, Brian Morgan, Danny Smith and Columbine, whilst Ross Kavanagh and Sam Davidson were up front.

The two sides were evenly matched throughout the first half. Linlithgow Rose had more chances but Sauchie defended well to keep the ball out.

The first big chance came for Sauchie ten minutes in for Jack Docherty, who can’t slip past the defender and the ball goes out. The resulting corner is fumbled by the Rose keeper who struggles to clear it. Rose scramble in the box as Sauchie fire in shot after shot until it’s cleared out the box for a counter attack. Rose break well but the shot goes wide.

Minutes later, Willaghan has a brilliant run down the right side and whips the ball in. It’s picked up by Docherty again who has a terrific shot on goal but it clatters off the post. A great chance for Sauchie that should have put them ahead.

The next ten minutes sees Bell called into action to make some simple saves against Rose, who maintain pressure going into the break.

Sauchie came out firing and controlled the game during the opening five minutes of the second half. Tempers flared when Ross Kavanagh was brought down in the box but Sauchie were awarded no penalty and the Rose defender walked away without a booking.

Manager Duncan found himself carded after screaming at the referee to award the penalty to no avail.

The poor decision did not detract from Sauchie, however, who kept up pressure up until the last whistle.

Kris Kelly came on in place of Sam Davidson and his impact was felt straight away, as he played a clever ball into Danny Smith whose shot goes wide.

Smith is later subbed off and Kieran Anderson comes on to replace him. Chance after chance fell for Sauchie but the players found themselves hesitant to shoot on the first touch, allowing the Rose keeper to clear easily.

The final whistle sounded and Sauchie remained unbeaten in 2023, but the result was a bitter pill to swallow as Duncan felt his side should have produced more.

The manager said a big response is needed at Oakley if they are to maintain title challengers against Linlithgow.

SAUCHIE: Bell, Willaghan, Scott Davidson, Carroll, Hutchison, Docherty, Morgan, Smith (Anderson), Columbine, Sam Davidson (Kelly), Kavanagh.