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Stunning comeback in friendly victory

Bannockburn Amateurs 3-4 Sauchie Juniors

Scorers: Higgins (50, 79), Millar (78, 80)

Sauchie produced a remarkable comeback to defeat Bannockburn Amateurs in a friendly on Tuesday evening.

The Juniors went a goal down inside three minutes and were three behind at the break.

But a spirited fightback, including three goals in as many minutes, swung the game in their favour.

Sauchie almost got off to the perfect start inside the opening minutes. The visitors won a free kick in a promising position, and Derek Currie stepped up, curling his effort onto the crossbar.

It was an agonisingly close call, and a bag of salt was poured into the wound two minutes later when the hosts took the lead. Bannockburn’s number 8 showed great feet out on the left to get into a crossing position and deliver a ball to the back post, where his team-mate in the number 7 shirt was waiting to convert.

Steven Higgins could have levelled things up with two opportunities but he blazed a drive over the bar, before missing the target again when he could have squared to Darren Cummings.

And Sauchie were made to pay again midway through the first half when they fell further behind. This time it was Burn’s number 8 who got one for himself after creating the first, sweeping the ball beyond Darren Dolan after a header hadn’t been cleared.

The winger was having a superb game and was again involved in his side’s third, a carbon copy of the opener. Again he showed great feet down the left, and again it was the amateurs’ number 8 who was waiting at the back post to tap home.

Adrian Hanson took action at the break, throwing on Ryan Millar for Cummings, and the substitute almost made an immediate impact, forcing an excellent save.

And moments later, Sauchie were back in the game. David Morrison slipped the ball through to Higgins, and he slotted the ball beyond the goalkeeper to give his side a fighting chance of getting back into the game.

Much of the second half was a dull affair, devoid of clear-cut chances as Bannockburn recognised the threat and shut up shop in an effort to preserve their advantage, which remained at two until there were only 12 minutes remaining.

Ryan Leary found space on the left and sent a terrific diagonal ball into the box which was picked up by the waiting Millar, who lashed it high into the net to bring the Juniors to within a goal.

A minute later the comeback was complete when Sauchie got back on terms. Morrison broke from midfield, and with Higgins and Millar ahead of him, he picked the run of the former, who made no mistake as he slid the ball home.

There was no let-up in what was by this stage wave after wave of attacks towards the Bannockburn goal, and unbelievably Sauchie took the lead with ten minutes to play. Sean Stewart linked up well with Higgins, who turned provider as he played in Millar, and he gave the keeper the eyes with a neat finish.

Millar could have had a hat-trick but for a fine save, the goalkeeper getting a hand to the striker’s fiercely-struck drive from all of 25 yards.

But a one-goal advantage was enough for Sauchie, who showcased their never-say-die attitude to come back and win a game which had looked for all the world like it was dead and buried.

Sauchie: Dolan, Sharp (MacFarlane), Currie [Trialist] (Leary), Gordon, Preston [Trialist], Morrison, Flood (Dawson [Trialist]), J. Shirra [Trialist] (Hutchison), Higgins, Cummings (Millar), Syme (Stewart [Trialist]).

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