SAUCHIE gave everything they could on Sunday, but it wasn’t to be as they lost the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup 3-2 to Stirling University.

The Reds were the underdogs going into the final, up against a strong team who had finished fourth in the Lowland League.

Sauchie conceded twice in the first half hour but remained the more dominant side, with Jack Docherty a particular highlight down the wing.

It wasn’t to be for Fraser Duncan’s side, but the gaffer maintains the team can be delighted with their season.

“It was a really hard one to take,” Duncan said. “Football can be like that sometimes.

“I’m really proud of my players, we worked on our gameplan all week about how we were going to play and it hadn’t really changed.

“We wanted to press them as much as we could and win the ball back where we can and I thought we did that on Sunday.

“Stirling Uni are a very good side. They were very clinical in the first half, they took their two chances really well and it was always going to be an uphill struggle from there.”

Coming out after half time, Sauchie controlled the game, with Chic Bell only having to make one real save in the second half.

Sauchie’s season leading scorer Ross Kavanagh pulled one back as soon as the second half started, giving Sauchie the confidence they needed to throw everything at Stirling.

Despite chance after chance, Sauchie couldn’t find the finishing touch until the very last kick of the game when centre back Scott Davidson smashed one home to send the game to extra time.

The Reds remained an attacking force during extra time, but a bizarre goal saw them going down again after the ball slipped out of Bell’s hands and rolled over the goal line.

Duncan added: “At half time, I spoke to the boys and we knew there was a chance we could get back into the game if we got a goal back early doors.

“Once we scored, it was an onslaught the second half. Stirling Uni broke away and had one real chance in the second half.

“The goal took that long to come. If we had scored the goal a bit earlier, we might've gone on to win the game in 90 minutes.”

Sauchie can reflect on an immensely positive season, remaining title challengers throughout the season and contesting in a number of different cups.

The Reds finished second in the East of Scotland League, just nine points behind Linlithgow Rose, who secured promotion to the Lowland League.

“I’m very proud of the guys this season,” Duncan added. “Second place in the league and they did well to get to the quarter finals of the South Challenge Cup and then the final of the Qualifying Cup.

“We got to the third round of the Scottish Cup as well. I can’t praise them enough, each and every one of them has been outstanding.

“It’s just disappointing on the day we couldn’t bring a bit of silverware home, but we’ll take that into next season and hope it changes.”