A topsy-turvy game saw the Braves lose their first match of 2021, as they fell 3-2 to BSC Glasgow at Recreation Park.
A soft goal saw the visitors fall behind when Alfie Agyeman scored after 11 minutes. However, the favour was repaid when McMillan lifted the ball over his own keeper with his knee.
Jack Smith gave the Braves the lead just a minute later, but it would be two second-half goals that won the match for the hosts.
Firstly, Ross Lyon popped up at the back-post to level before Michael Anderson wriggled a shot through Yohann Chardon to win the game.
Smith was giving the BSC backline a real hard time in the first-half, constantly on the shoulder of the last man. He was gifted a chance by new BSC keeper Andy Leishman, but could only find the side netting, before chipping the goalkeeper sumptuously – only to be denied by the offside flag.
Those early chances were soon proved to be wasteful, when the hosts went 1-0 after 11 minutes. A non-threatening cross to the back-post was not dealt with by Jamie Walker, who tried to control it in his own area. The ball got away from him, and Alfie Agyeman was on hand to poke past a surprised Chardon.
However, it was the Braves who would strike next, in truly bizarre circumstances. A nothing ball over the top was chased by Ross McNeil, and BSC skipper Craig McMillan got into a fankle with his keeper – chipping it over the stranded Leishman with his knee.
Salt was immediately rubbed into the hosts’ wounds when the Braves got their second less than a minute later. Neil McLaughlin played Smith through on goal, and this time the flag stayed down. Smith hit his shot early, catching Leishman by surprise, and watched the ball nestle in the bottom corner.
The on-loan Auchinleck keeper would then prove why Stephen Swift signed him. Some beautiful build up between Ross McNeil, Smith and McLaughlin saw the latter one-on-one with the big goalie, who used his frame to make a tremendous block from a sure goal.
Into the second-half, and the game heated up as the temperature dropped. There was plenty of needle, with hard challenges going in and an alleged punch from BSC defender Ross McCormack on Walker, leaving vice-captain McNeil incandescent.
Once the red mist had evaporated, BSC hit the goal trail. Agyeman turned provider this time, forcing his way down the left before squaring to Ross Lyon at the back, who was composed and finished high into the roof of the net.
Within ten minutes, the hosts had retaken the lead. Similarly, a cross from the right found a man at the back-post. This time, Darren Christie pulled back for Mark Anderson to shoot and the midfielder’s low effort wriggled it’s way through.
Without context, this game was a painful blow to Ricky Waddell and his side. Throwing away a 2-1 lead is poor on the surface, but they were facing an in-form BSC side who moved to second in the table after this result.
There were squandered chances when they had the lead, though. Jack Smith, Neil McLaughlin and Ross McNeil all had opportunities from which you would back them to score. However, it was important for Smith to break his drought – he now has his third goal for the club.
Yohann Chardon conceded three, but did produce a few fine saves, too. The battle for the Number One shirt rages on.
Importantly, the side showed an aggression that was lacking in the opening few weeks of the season. BSC tried to bully the Braves, and to a man they didn’t let that happen. However, they must cut out defensive mistakes if they wish to progress higher up the table.
Their next fixture, against 9th-placed Spartans, on Tuesday night, is crucial if they want to secure a top half finish.