MATCH REPORT BY MURRAY
After Wednesday night’s disappointment, Talbot producd the goods when it mattered, opening their title defence with a win over Shettleston courtesy of a strong 2nd half performance.
The first 45 mins saw maximum effort and minimum football with both sides struggling to make any impact or test the opposing keeper.
It took until the 7th minute before the first incident of note. Milliken raced onto the end of Leishman’s ball up the right and tried to knock it past Halliwell who made the block.
The visitors spurned a rare chance in the 10th minute. They won a free kick on the right which Parker flighted into the area. Campbell headed it clear but Jugkowiak gathered on the left & skinned McGoldrick before crossing to the back post where McEwan glanced a free header wide.
Talbot’s next chance came to Milliken. Leishman’s ball down the left found him in space inside the area but he fired his shot wide of the right post.
Good football was at a premium in a dour 1st half though Talbot put together a good move in the 18th minute. Hyslop turned smartly in midfield and fed it out to Young whose well-weighted pass looked set to send Milliken through on the keeper but for a timely interception by Francis.
The officials angered both sides in the 27th minute. Talbot were aggrieved at the failure of the linesman to flag when McCormack ran in behind looking a yard offside and then the visiting bench were angered when McCormack went down under Campbell’s challenge; however the ref waved play on as the ball ran through to Leishman.
There was little goalmouth incident to get excited about but the ref had another big decision to make in the 35th minute. Leishman came off his line to clear a long ball through the centre and towered over Halliday to punch clear. The ball landed out at Ramage who fired an early shot but he didn’t get enough height on it and it was easily blocked. Meanwhile, Leishman & Halliday were involved in a tangle off the ball as the Ton player wrestled Leishman to prevent him getting back on his feet. When the dust settled, the referee spoke to both players and booked Halliday for his part.
As the half wore on it grew increasingly scrappy and ill tempered. Parker had his name taken in the 41st minute for a late challenge on Young.
A minute later Campbell came close for Talbot. The Bot won a free kick out on the left and Shankland swung a cross over to the far post where Campbell won it, only to send his header flying wide of the left post.
As the half drew to a close Talbot threatened again via a set piece. This time it was a corner from the right which Campbell won in the centre forcing Halliwell to tip his header over the crossbar.
Talbot continued pushing forward and slinging crosses into the Shettleston penalty area but it didn’t break kindly for a Bot player and the defence managed to clear by hook or by crook until the whistle signalled the end of the half.
After a slightly stuttering start Talbot got into their stride in the 2nd half and Milliken forced a good save from Weir in the 51st minute. He took advantage of hesitant defending to get in on the left and Weir had to turn his half volley round the post.
There was a loud penalty appeal in the 55th minute when Milliken raced down the wing and swung a cross over onto the head of Shankland that appeared to be blocked by a defender’s arm.
Two minutes later Talbot came close to the lead. Milliken whipped an early ball over to the back post for Shankland. His initial header went straight up in the air but as it dropped down he prodded it past the advancing keeper and just over the crossbar.
Shettleston were under the cosh and in an attempt to turn things round they made a double switch with Parker & Ramage making way for Martin & Marshal.
However, the subs had no time to make any difference before Talbot took the lead with 61 mins gone. Milliken cut the ball back from the left wing to the feet of Shankland & he stepped inside Francis who sent him tumbling with a clumsy challenge. POPE stepped forward and slammed the penalty into the back of the net.
Talbot were looking dangerous at corners and had the visiting defence on the ropes in the 69th minute when a corner beyond the far post was met by Campbell who angled it back across the goal mouth. The ball bounced around the 6-yard area without falling to a Talbot player before the defence finally cleared it out to the edge of the box where Pope drilled a shot wide.
Shettleston now played their final card with Anson coming on for McEwan whilst Talbot made a double switch with G Wilson & Boyd on for Shankland & Latta.
Talbot were unlucky not to add to their lead in the 75th minute. Hylsop sent a good ball through to release Milliken on the left and he fired it over early to find Wilson who was free in the centre, unfortunately it was a fraction behind him and got stuck between his feet as he tried to take it in his stride and broke through to Weir.
Milliken went on a lung bursting run in the 79th minute leaving McArthur in his wake as he sped down the left into the penalty area, however he’d used up his reserves of energy & hit a tired shot on target that Weir saved easily.
Tucker made his final change in the 82nd minute with Love on to replace Milliken.
Talbot’s threat from set plays was demonstrated again with 5 mins remaining. Love won a corner out on the right and when it came over to the back post Campbell climbed to nod it just wide of the right post.
The points were finally secured with 3 minutes remaining. Wilson went up in aerial challenge at the edge of the area and the ball bounced the way of LOVE who hooked it over his own shoulder and past Weir who was stranded off his line to make it 2-0 to the Bot.
Deep into injury time the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Francis was guilty of a reckless lunge at White. Fortunately no harm was done to White but the ref showed Francis a straight red to send him packing.
It took Talbot a while to get going but once they hit their stride the Bot ran out comfortable winners with Shettleston offering little in the final third. Next up for Talbot is the long trek to Bridge of Don to face Hermes in the senior cup.
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McGoldrick, Campbell, White, Young, Hyslop, Milliken, Shankland, Latta
Subs – Love, G Wilson, Gillies, Boyd, S Wilson
Shettleston – Halliwell, McArthur, Jugkowiak, McIntosh, Francis, Boyle, Parker, McCormack, Ramage, McEwan, Halliday
Subs – Martin, McGillion, Scott, Anson, Marshal
|August 29, 2015||2:00 pm||McBookies West Super Premier League||2015/16|