Revenge can be a powerful motivator and when Mill United knocked Sauchie Juniors out of the Glasgow Cup last week at the semi-final stage it provided all the more impetus for them to return the favour by claiming the Only Sport league cup at their divisional rivals expense.
The boys in black however would be looking to continue the pattern of dominance and claim the first part of a potential treble with both league and Glasgow cup still within their reach whilst realising that today would be no cakewalk as they had just edged out their opponents 3-2 in the last meeting between them.
As expected Sauchie had the bit between their teeth and started forcefully with Craig Martin and Jack Docherty combining well to create an early opening but the shot was miscued before a header from Stuart Love looped goal ward but was easily gathered by Nathan Wharton in the Mill United goal.
Love then received a superb, defence splitting all from the back which he controlled well and rolled across the penalty area beautifully for Docherty but Wharton showed great experience and composure to close him down and the eventual shot ricocheted off his palm and away as the game remained goalless.
Sauchie would have the ball in the net soon after that however but the referee was quick to disallow the effort following advice from his linesman before an angled drive from David Reid at the opposite end of the park showed that Mill were gaining a foothold in this match although Adam Young was equal to it and gathered at the second attempt.
Almost immediately Sauchie were back on the offensive and a shot struck into the ground by love bounced through to the unmarked Alastair Brown who timed his header well but failed to break the deadlock before the most spectacular effort of the half then followed as a free kick into the box by Mill United was well headed away past the edge of the box where it found the waiting Christopher Brannan who truck a superbly timed volley which arced over everyone and was only kept out by a superb acrobatic save by Young.
Darren Carroll would then have the biggest impact of anyone on events in the first period just after 20 minutes when he connected well with a shot in the box after arriving like a train, despite his effort going well wide his trailing leg was caught by someone in black and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to Sauchie. Carroll dusted himself off and stepped up but his effort was too close to Wharton and the goalie saved with minimal fuss.
The pressure would be kept up throughout the remainder of the opening 45 minutes but despite dominating both possession and territory heading into the break the boys in red had yet to make any meaningful in roads into the game with all their opportunities so far going to waste, Mill United seemed to be growing in stature and as half time approached one couldn’t help but wonder if Sauchie would be made to regret those missed chances come the end of the game.