Saturday 31st October 2020 – East of Scotland Premier League
Sauchie Juniors 1 Blackburn United 2
Smith 81 Campbell 90, J.Devine 90+3
The last time Blackburn won a game at Beechwood Park, manager Mark Campbell was still playing up front and scored in a 2-1 win, 24 years ago and with a heavy pitch with a strong wind blowing, the task of ending that long winless streak wouldn’t be easy.
It took ten minutes for either team to create chance and it was Danny Smith of Sauchie who created it, evading several challenges on the left wing before swing in a cross which a diving Gary Carroll headed wide from 6 yards. It was Smith again, although this time the visiting Marc Smith, who combined with Laurie Devine for the latter to fire in a low cross towards Danny Campbell at the near post but a defender got in just ahead to stab behind for a corner. Brian Morgan then tried from distance but the ball sailed over in the strong wind.
By the mid-point of the match Sauchie were handling the conditions better and creating a period of pressure and forced a succession of corners which came to nothing, Brian Morgan again tried from distance and this time his attempt just cleared Gavin King’s bar. Just before the half ended, Carroll found himself in acres of space inside the box but managed to shoot wide, only for the linesmans flag to spare his blushes.
From the restart it was Blackburn who created a number of chances, first Dominic Kane pounced on a loose ball and swung in a cross from the left, the centre half misjudged the flight and it fell to Campbell but he skied the ball over, a minute later Marc Smith tried form 20 yards which Brett Young in the Sauchie goal gathered.
At the other end, Craig Donaldson carried the ball forward and slid in Danny Smith, but King narrowed the angled and blocked the shot on the six yard line, the ball rebounded back off Smith and crept past for a goal kick. Just past the hour mark, McClung gathered from a throw-in and swung the ball into the box, Laurie Devine met it no more than eight yards out but headed straight at Young. Marley Redfern then tried his luck from 20 yards but his shot deflected wide.
With 14 minutes left Brian Morgan let loose a piledriver from distance but King did well to tip it over the bar. Up the other end, sub Jordan Devine controlled a throw-in and crossed into Kieran Swanson but he knocked it over.
The opening goal finally came with only 9 minutes remaining on the clock when from a throw-in on the left, the ball fell to Danny Smith on the edge of the area and he lashed the ball across King and into the far corner.
With three minutes left Blackburn made a couple of changes in search of the equaliser and it came in the last minute. Gavin King took a free kick from inside his own half, the ball sailed into the Sauchie area where Danny Campbell had eluded the defence to connect with it on the penalty spot and loop an excellent header over Young and into the net. More drama was to follow deep into injury time when a long ball from the right by James Mildren found Jason Devine running away from the Sauchie defence where he met it first time and lobbed Young, caught in no mans land, and the ball bounced off his far post and into the net for the winner.
Sauchie Juniors: Brett Young, Iain Syme, Anthony McTaggart, Danny Smith (Darren Cummings 84), Mark Finlayson, Mark Sharp, Craig Donaldson (Ross Crawford 68), Ross Wilson (Sam Collumbine 68), Darren Carroll, Brian Morgan, Gary Carroll. Unused subs: David Cross, Jon Tully.
Blackburn United: Gavin King, James Mildren, Kyle McClung (Finlay Anderson 87), Martin Lawrie, Michel Browne, Stuart MacLeod (David Howe 87), Marc Smith (Kieran Swanson 77), Dominic Kane, Laurie Devine (Jordan Devine 68), Danny Campbell, Marley Redfern (Lewis Alexander 77). Unused subs: Craig Young, Craig Saunders.
Referee: Chriss Hobbs Assistants: Lewis Sinclair, Jordan Kelly.
Sauchie 2 (Cross (pen) 20mins, Bryson 47mins)
Blackburn United 1 (Queen 44mins)
After winning away to Premier Division opposition in the first round of the League Cup United’s reward was another away tie against another Premier Division side and with striker Danny Campbell out injured and young back-up Laurie Devine having had to play the full ninety minutes the previous evening in the Lowland Development League game against Spartans, captain Michael Browne was forced to become an auxiliary striker for the afternoon, although an injury to midfielder Marc Smith midway through the half forced a reshuffle that eventually saw Devine enter the fray to take up the striking duties and allow Browne to slot back into the middle of the park. However, moments before this change Blackburn had slipped behind to a penalty, Crawford skipping past one challenge after another before being brought to ground just inside the eighteen yard box and from the resultant penalty CROSS slammed the ball past Craig Saunders and into the bottom left hand corner. Sauchie then came close to adding a second but when Finlayson came in off the left his twenty five yarder was too high. Five minutes later James Mildren headed a Cross delivery clear but only as far as Finlayson whose curled effort flew over the top. Young was then brought into action in the home goal when Kyle McClung made ground on the right and cut inside before firing his shot from around twenty yards into the midriff of the ‘keeper. The equaliser, though, arrived just before the break when a sharp and incisive first time pass from Martin Lawrie sent Paddy QUEEN racing clear on the left and when he cut inside Houston he unleashed an unstoppable effort into the roof of Young’s net from twenty yards or more.
Parity only lasted a mere one hundred and twenty seconds of the second half however and when a long ball forward caught the United rearguard square BRYSON raced in behind amongst a howl of offside calls and retained his composure sufficiently to slot the ball past the advancing Saunders. Saunders was then called into action to save a McCaughie shot after Syme and Finlayson had combined to set him up but the action was being confined to the midfield areas of a heavy playing surface that was slowly beginning to cut-up and was offering up no real opportunities at either end, although the hosts long ball delivery was constantly a test for the Blackburn back four. Midway through the half John Drummond was first to reach a Darren McIntosh cross into the Sauchie box but although his effort ended up in the net he was adjudged to have bundled the keeper over in putting it there and the goal was disallowed. With no more chances forthcoming thereafter it was the Beechwood Park men who advanced to the third round draw.
Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, McIntosh (Welsh 82), Lawrie, Mildren, Drummond, Smith (L.Devine 23), McClung, Kane, Browne, McLeod, Queen (McDowall 66) Subs (not used): Howe, Clements
Sauchie line-up: Young, Houston, Syme, Wright, Cross, Sharp, McCaughie, Donaldson, Crawford, Bryson, Finlayson Subs: McTaggart, Dawson, Cummings, McKeown, Cameron, Maitland
Referee: Mr. Ryan Lee
Assistants: Mr. James Taylor & Mr. Cameron Doyle
Sauchie 3 (Dolan 6mins, Turnbull 13mins, McCaughie 41mins)
Blackburn United 0
United travelled to a venue where they haven’t been particularly successful over the years and, due to injury and suspension, fielded two debutants in the shape of midfielder Justin Watson and full-back Alan Higgins, with attacking midfielder Nathan Donnelly-Kay making his first start of the season. Unsurprisingly, the unfamiliar line-up coughed up an opportunity to their hosts within sixty seconds when goalkeeper Jonny Clements had to be quick from his line to spread himself well and deny McCaughie. At the other end Dominic Kane was unfortunate to see his glancing header from a Calum McDowall corner cleared off the line by Turnbull. However, three minutes later Sauchie were in front, a long ball forward eventually finding DOLAN racing clear and he made no mistake in picking his spot behind Clements. Back came United though and clever footwork by David Taylor allowed him to pull a ball back into McDowall’s path but his curler was easily enough held by Young in the home goal. However, the Beechwood Park men were further in front only ninety seconds later when an innocuous looking free-kick was awarded some thirty yards from goal and when TURNBULL’S effort from the dead ball somehow found its way through the United wall Clements wasn’t able to prevent it finding the net. Three chances in quick succession then came and went for Blackburn when first Donnelly-Kay and David Howe linked for Danny Campbell to drag his shot past the post and then when Campbell and Donnelly-Kay swapped passes to set-up Howe for a pop at goal that Young saved before, from a McDowall corner, Watson was desperately unlucky to see his effort clip the left hand post. Clements then kept Sauchie from stretching their lead by blocking Dawson’s shot with his feet before, in an end to end first half, McDowall’s free-kick hit the top of the crossbar on its way over. Four minutes from the break though and the hosts did move three ahead, Dawson hitting the bye-line on the right and cutting the ball back for the unmarked McCAUGHIE to thump past Clements despite the ‘keeper getting fingertips to it.
The second period was devoid of clear cut chances by comparison to the first half, although quick feet from Howe helped set up Watson for a shot that was saved before Finlayson’s effort at the other end was blocked by Clements and McCaughie’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Higgins. With quarter on an hour remaining and the game limping towards a conclusion there was one last opportunity and it came the way of the hosts, substitute Mooney outstripping Martin Lawrie on the run but sending his shot past the left hand upright.
Blackburn United line-up: Clements, Higgins, Lawrie, Browne, Taylor, Kane, Donnelly-Kay (Smith 63), Watson, Campbell, Howe (L.Devine 73), McDowall (Welsh 89) Subs (not used): Young, McLeod, Mbewe
Sauchie line-up: Young, Houston, Turnbull, Wright, Tully, White, Dawson, Davidson, Dolan, Finlayson, McCaughie Subs: Magregor, Sharp, McKeown, McTaggart, Langton, Mooney, Cummings
Referee: Mr. Andrew Craven