Talbot won their 1st trophy of the season, claiming the West of Scotland cup, after a fairly comfortable victory over Hurlford.
The Bot made a strong start & won a free kick near the Hurlford box inside the 1st minute. Young curled it to the back post where McClune beat Hyslop to it to head behind for a corner. The corner was whipped in from the left & Brown managed to punch it clear. He didn’t get it very far though & Hyslop beat McKenzie to it on the right of the area & flighted the ball across the 6-yard box where SHANKLAND guided a header inside the right post to give Talbot an early lead.
Talbot were fired up for it & threatened again in the 8th minute. Young’s accurate pass found Milliken breaking down the left & he sped clear & fired a dangerous ball across goal but it came to nought as there was no one in the centre to take advantage.
You have to strike whilst the iron is hot & Talbot made their strong start count when they doubled their lead in the 13th minute. Donnelly conceded a free kick just outside his own box after he took a heavy touch, lost the ball, and tumbled Shankland over when trying to retrieve it. G WILSON took the set piece & curled a beauty of a shot over the wall that left Brown spectating.
On the night Hurlford created few clear cut chances but they did come close after 27 minutes. McKenzie played it to Borris on the right of the penalty area & he slid it across to the far post. Donnelly tried to prod it in at the post but was beaten to it by McCracken’s slide tackle & Leishman gathered.
Donnelly won a cheap free kick just outside the Bot penalty area in the 37th minute when he threw himself down under McCracken’s challenge. McClune stepped up to hit it but his tame effort was easily held by Leishman.
In the closing minutes of the half both teams fashioned decent chances. R Robertson met Borris cross from the right but directed a free header over the bar from 10 yards out and then in the last action of the half Milliken showed good ball control to beat a couple of men down the left before sweeping it into the area.
Wilson dummied it & Young following in behind flashed a shot just wide of Brown’s right post.
Hurlford made a change during the interval with M Brown on at right-back in place of McClune.
A 3RD goal would’ve killed the game & Talbot very nearly got it in the 50th minute. Hylsop released Shankland on the left & he was brought down by McClune just outside the area, resulting in a caution & a free kick to Talbot. Shankland struck it low past the wall & his shot was arrowing inside the left post until Brown made a full length save to tip it round the post.
Hurlford huffed & puffed but couldn’t blow Talbot’s walls down and it was no surprise when they made their 2nd change after 62 mins, with Kean on to replace Donnelly.
Hyslop was having a good night & he created Talbot’s next opening, releasing Young on the right with a disguised pass, and Butch drilled a shot on target from a tight angle which Brown parried. It came straight out to Hyslop & his low drive looked to be heading into the bottom corner until blocked away by the outstretched leg of a defender.
Hurlford made their final change in the 68th minute when Nisbett came on for Borris.
Milliken had his name taken in the 70th minute when he tried to prevent Brown from taking a quick free kick inside the Hurlford area.
The main goal threat continued to come from Talbot & Pope deserved better in the 73rd minute when he angled a dangerous ball in from the left that no Bot player could turn home in front of goal.
Hurlford hadn’t offered much but they did stretch the Bot defence in the 75th minute. R Robertson rose to flick a header out left into the path of Kean & he broke into the Talbot box & fired a dangerous low ball across goal which McGoldrick did well to intercept at the expense of a corner.
Talbot made a change in the 77th minute with Love replacing Shankland up top.
Hyslop was inches from adding to Talbot’s lead a minute later. Wilson fed the ball out left to Young & Hyslop very nearly converted his looping cross at the back post but just failed to connect.
As the clock ticked down Hurlford threw bodies forward & piled pressure on in the last 10 mins. They had won numerous corners throughout the game to little effect but they did work a good one in the 82nd minute. It was taken short & found McKenzie outside the area & his low drive took a couple of deflections in a crowded goal mouth before heading wide of the left post.
With 6 minutes remaining Talbot made their 2nd change with Boyd on for Wilson.
Hurlford had run out of ideas & out of steam & Talbot saw the closing stages out comfortably. Frustration got the better of McKenzie two minutes from time & the Hurlford winger was cautioned for a foul on Young.
Talbot’s form has been as unpredictable as the Ayrshire weather but they produced their A game when it mattered to record a thoroughly deserved victory over Hurlford & claim the West again. Next up for Talbot is a repeat encounter as they travel to the lunar surface of Blair Park to face Hurlford in the league, knowing a win or a draw will be enough to retain the league championship. Here’s hoping for a similar performance & a double on Wednesday night.
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, McGoldrick, McCracken, White, Young, Shankland, Milliken, G Wilson, Hyslop
Subs – Love, S Wilson, Boyd, Gillies, Johnston
Hurlford – A Brown, McClune, McKillen, G Mitchell, C Robertson, D Mitchell, McKenzie, Chisholm, Donnelly, R Robertson, Borris
Subs – Creaney, M Brown, Kean, Nisbett, Murchie
|May 20, 2016||19:15||2015/16|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|8||Mark Shankland 12||Forward||1||0||0||0|