On paper this Scottish tie looked a potential banana skin for the Bot, with an in form Cumnock visiting Beechwood hoping to get one over on their rivals, but fortunately the tie was decided on grass not paper, and proved to be less problematic than many anticipated.
Cumnock have a miserable record at Beechwood but looked keen to rectify this as they made the stronger start.
In the 6th minute Watt turned Milliken out on the touchline & hared up the right into the penalty area where his cross was blocked behind by McGoldrick.
Talbot’s 1st chance to test the Nock defence came after 8 minutes. Woods clipped Wilson’s heels resulting in a Bot free kick out on the left. Pope swept it over to the far post where Hyslop climbed to meet it but bulleted his header over the bar.
The 1st close call of the afternoon came in the 17th minute. Esplin’s long diagonal ball caught the Bot defence out & sent Malone running in behind on the left; however, he failed to make the most of it, drilling a low shot across Leishman but wide of the left post.
Talbot hadn’t carved out a decent chance but gave Cumnock a lesson in clinical finishing when they opened the scoring after 22 minutes. Young cushioned a header into the path of WILSON who strode clear down the right side of the area before sliding a shot by Johnson into the back of the net.
Having gained the lead Talbot nearly gifted Cumnock a way back into it within a couple of minutes. McGoldrick tried to be too clever, and backheel the ball off Scott, surrendering possession out on the left touchline. Scott switched the ball into Malone inside the Bot area & he rolled it into the path of Burns who fired a tame effort straight at Leishman.
Malone had a half chance in the 25th minute. Johnson hoofed the ball downfield and Pope headed it clear. It came out to Hyslop but he took one touch too many & Malone nicked in to drive a shot wide of target.
Talbot put the Nock defence to the test on the half hour mark. Milliken laid the ball off to Wilson who in turn fed it out wide to Pope. He surged into the area & cut onto his right foot only to see his shot blocked. The ball came back to Pope & his 2nd effort spun off a defender & behind for a corner. Young whipped the corner into the near post where Watt headed it behind and it was déjà vu time from the 2nd corner as Young’s corner was heading in at the near post only for Watt to again to put it behind. On the 3rd attempt, Young curled it deep to the back post where Johnson threw himself backward to tip it away for another corner. Cumnock survived the siege and at the 4th attempt managed to clear their lines.
In the 34th minute, Cumnock won a free kick out on the left for a foul by Hyslop. The ball was delivered at pace into the centre where McGoldrick headed it clear. The ball came out to Watt outside the box who hit it 1st time but he drilled his shot straight at Leishman.
Crawford became the 1st name in the ref’s notebook in the 35th minute for a late challenge on Milliken & he was joined two minutes later by Pope for a foul on Watt.
The 2nd goal was going to be crucial and Talbot nearly doubled their lead in the 40th minute. Pope swept a great free kick over from the left right onto the head of Hyslop who was denied the goal by Johnson who produced a top save to tip it over the bar.
Young fired the corner into the near post where Watt sliced it straight behind for a 2nd corner. Young went deep with the 2nd corner and found the head of Hyslop who saw his effort cleared off the line.
The decisive moment in the match occurred on the stroke of half time. Eslin fouled Hyslop 25 yards out, right of centre, in the perfect area for a left footer to have a go at goal. POPE stepped up and curled a beauty inside Johnson’s left post which the keeper could only stand and admire to send Talbot 2-0 ahead at the interval.
Two goals adrift, Cumnock desperately needed an early goal back & they came out the blocks quickly after the interval. Malone showed good feet inside the Bot penalty area to turn Latta & create space but he over cooked it & after failing to take several chances to shoot he fell to the turf, unsuccessfully looking for a penalty.
Down the other end Talbot created an opening when Hyslop fed the ball out to Milliken on the right. He cut inside to create space on his stronger left foot but curled a weak shot straight at Johnson.
Hyslop saw yellow in the 52nd minute for a late challenge on Scott; he took the free kick himself but although he lifted it over the wall he hit it straight at Leishman.
Both sides made changes in the 54th minute. Love came on in place of Gillies for Talbot & Cumnock made a double switch with Lyndsay on for Crawford & McNeil replacing Scott.
Love almost made an immediate impact when he beat Johnson to a ball up the left wing, however having knocked the ball past the keeper, Lundie was there to cover and clear the danger.
Wilson had a decent effort at goal on the hour mark. He turned smartly on the right and fired just wide of target.
A minute later, Cumnock came as close as they would to scoring. McNeil met Watt’s long ball & headed it perfectly into the path of Malone. He looked set to score but Leishman was off his line like greased lightning to spread himself and make the block.
Play then immediately switched to the other end where Milliken had a good chance to kill the tie off. He found himself in space on the left of the area and fired a shot beyond Johnson but also wide of the left post.
Talbot were unlucky a minute later. Latta surged in from the right & played it into the feet of Milliken. He laid it back to Latta whose drive was deflected into the path of Love who saw his shot deflected just past Johnson’s right post.
Young whipped the corner right across the face of the 6-yard area but there were no takers.
Leishman, having a quiet game over all, produced a top class save to keep Talbot two goals ahead in the 73rd minute. Malone was challenged as he hit a shot and the ball spun kindly into the path of Burns whose low drive looked net bound until Leishman dived to his left to touch it wide of target.
With time running out Cumnock made their final change with Downs coming on for Esplin.
Talbot came within an inch of putting the game out of sight in the 76th minute. Love won a corner out on the left and when the ball came over Hyslop nodded it off the top of the bar with Johnson well beaten.
Two minutes later the Nock keeper prevented Milliken from adding a third for Talbot. He darted in from the right and powered a left foot shoot across goal which Johnson did well to save low to his right.
Cumnock pushed players forward in a last gasp attempt to pull a goal back but were caught on the counter with 10 minutes remaining. Love was racing clear down the right until rugby tackled by Downs who received a booking.
Young passed up a good chance to extend Talbot’s lead in the 81st minute. He played a good one-two with Love inside the area but couldn’t beat Johnson who made the block. The ball came out to Love but again Johnson made the save.
With 5 minutes remaining Tucker made a double switch with Hyslop & Graham Wilson making way for Shankland & Steven Wilson.
As the game moved into injury time Cumnock were reduced to 10 men. Downs sent McGoldrick crashing with a late challenge & having already been booked he made the short walk to the dressing room.
Talbot took full advantage of the extra man, adding a late 3rd goal deep into added time. Shankland switched the ball out to Young on the left & he floated a cross down the right of the box where Latta stretched to cut it back across goal for LOVE to slide it home.
A good win for Talbot, which books their place in the last 16 of this season’s Scottish. Next up for Talbot is a trip to Glasgow to face Pollok.
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, McGoldrick, White, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, Gillies, G Wilson, Milliken
Subs – Shankland, Love, S Wilson, Cochrane, Lyle
Cumnock – Johnson, Woods, Crawford, Lundie, Murphy, Montgomery, Scott, Esplin, Malone, Burns, Watt
|January 23, 2016||13:45||Scottish Junior Cup||2015/16|