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Sauchie 1 Oakley 1

Manager Stevie Kay, assistant Lee Richardson and the rest of the management team completed their tenure at Oakley with a difficult way trip to Beechwood Park to face Sauchie. Sauchie were already guaranteed promotion to the Super League courtesy of a superior goal difference but they are rightly focussed on winning the league to complete 2 championship seasons in a row – a fantastic achievement should they see it out. Oakley knew that a win would secure them a 3rd place finish so there was plenty at stake.

Several players were unavailable tonight due to holidays and work commitments. Andy Spark came in at centre half beside Jonny Sinclair. Dean McMullen was in at left back. Gary Kelly did his flexible man act again for us and filled in at left mid. Young Grant Page started in goal in the abscence of Kris Bower.

Oakley started quite brightly and we enjoyed some decent possession without really testing Halliwell in the Sauchie goal. After 20 minutes, Sauchie took the lead with their first meaningful excursion into our box. A high ball straight down through the middle caused confusion between Grant Page and Davy Ross and the busy Darren Cummings nipped in to head home. It remained 1 – 0 up to half time.

We didn’t really come out of the traps after the interval and in fairness Grant Page did really well for us with a couple of decent saves and blocks at strikers feet. After about 65 minutes, Steven Leslie came on for Murray McDowall and made an instant impact. He latched on to a through ball and rounded Halliwell. The big keeper pulled Steven down and there was no doubt it was a penalty. The big decision was whether or not it was a straight red? Referee Stokoe deemed that Steven’s first touch took him away from goal and that there was not a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Yellow card . Charles Scarborough dispatched the resultant penalty in the usual manner.

Two red cards followed. The Sauchie goalscorer for a second yellow and our Steven Leslie for alleged violent conduct. The game became a bit stretched but neither side could grab a winner.

A 5th place finish for Oakley on their return to the Premier League and still a wee bit of work to do for Sauchie to win the championship. All in all, a very competitive game.

Best wishes to Jason Dair for next season. He was in the stand tonight running the rule over his charges and must have been impressed with the attitude and application of the squad.

Well done to Stevie Kay and his team as they have made real progress in their time in charge.