Talbot showed they won’t surrender their league title without a fight as they battled to a gritty win over Rob Roy at a sun soaked Beechwood.
With 3 points vital to both sides it made for a cagey opening with little in the way of goal mouth action.
When the 1st clear opening came in the 10th minute it came Talbot’s way & the Bot ought to have moved ahead. Young swept the ball back to Pope who slung a cross to the far post where Graham Wilson headed it back across goal. It came straight across the face of goal to Hyslop who angled his shot wide of Brown’s left post from point blank range.
The 1st effort on Leishman’s goal came in the 16th minute & came courtesy of a Talbot player when Hyslop’s attempt at cutting out Mackenzie’s low cross from the left ended up sailing straight at the Talbot goalie.
Two minutes later Talbot threatened twice in rapid succession. The initial move saw Steven Wilson thread the ball through to Graham Wilson to send him free on the right. He swept the ball across goal where Milliken just failed to connect in front of goal. Steven Wilson retrieved the ball on the left to win a corner off Walker. When the corner came over Hyslop climbed to head it back down across goal where Harvey slid in to meet it; just failing to turn it home at the left post.
Rob Roy had the Bot defence at full stretch in the 24th minute. Duff beat Pope in an aerial duel to head it on to Sawyers & send him free. He drove a fierce low ball across goal that McGoldrick did well to clear.
The action then switched to the other end where G Wilson fed the ball out to Young who cut inside past Walker before curling a cross come shot to the far post which the defence did well to clear.
The game’s 1st caution arrived in the 33rd minute. Young whipped a good cross over which Graham Wilson brought under control, however before he could shoot the ball was nicked away by McMenamin who crumpled when challenged by Wilson. He collapsed like a soufflé, only to recover thanks to the miraculous restorative effects of a booking for an opponent.
Talbot nearly made the breakthrough in the 37th minute when Milliken cut in from the left & curled a ball across goal that skimmed just over Graham Wilson’s head in front of goal.
The crucial goal arrived in the 45th minute amidst much controversy. Steven Wilson swept a cross in from the right which came off Walker’s head to GRAHAM WILSON on the left of the area. He cut in past the full back & coolly slotted the ball past Brown to make it 1-0. The Rob Roy team then suffered a collective collapse of discipline as they raged against the referee for over ruling an earlier offside flag from his linesman. Their protests should have resulted in writer’s cramp from the ref but he only booked McMenamin before the half wound to a close.
The 2nd half got off to a flying start with Talbot having a decent chance to put the game to rest within two minutes. Milliken ran onto a good ball over the defence to race clean through onto Brown. As the keeper advanced he knocked it wide of him but Brown dived to his left to block the ball away.
Rob Roy now enjoyed their best spell of the game as they piled pressure on Talbot. Yet, for all their territory their only real chance of this phase came in the 52nd minute from a corner. The ball came over & McMenamin managed to head it goal ward. It fell to Sawyers 15 yards out but his shot was blocked in the 6-yard area. It spun out to Mackenzie who fired a shot inside the near post which Leishman parried.
Having survived an early onslaught on the Bot goal Talbot’s 1st promising counter of the 2nd period was abruptly ended when Green clipped the heels of Graham Wilson resulting in a booking for the Rabs centre half.
Pope delivered the free kick into the 6-yard box where Brown struggled to deal with it; coming out to take the cross but misjudging it & being eventually glad to claw it away at full stretch.
Tucker now made his 1st change with Shankland coming on for Graham Wilson and soon after Rob Roy made their 1st switch with Mackie replacing Johnstone.
Talbot had a chance to double their lead & end the contest in the 64th minute. Pope lifted a tremendous ball up the left to find Shankland who got the better of Green & cut inside the penalty area before drilling a low right foot shot which Brown held low to his right.
Talbot had the ball in the net in the 69th minute when Wilson spread the ball out wide to Shankland who chipped it over Brown’s head into the net but it wouldn’t have counted as Shanks had strayed offside; however play was pulled back for an earlier infringement & Whelan was cautioned for his late challenge on Wilson.
Pope took the set piece & lifted it down the centre where Hyslop ran onto it; only to guide his header just wide of the left post.
McMenamin came to the Rabs rescue in the 74th minute. Shankland laid the ball off to his right toward Hyslop who would’ve been clean through on goal but for a crucial interception from the ex-Nock player.
The Rabs threatened an equaliser with quarter of an hour remaining. They worked it down the right before swinging a cross over which Sawyers headed for goal, only to see it blocked by Lyle. The Rabs players appealed for a penalty for handball but the ref dismissed their claims.
Steven Wilson was cautioned in the 76th minute & Rob Roy made their 2nd change, bringing on Watt for Walker.
Mackenzie added to the crime count shortly after when he was booked for dissent.
Talbot were left a man down in the 79th minute when Hyslop lashed out after believing he was stamped on by Mackie. The referee sent Hyslop the short distance into the clubhouse & booked Mackie for his part in the stramash.
Tucker now made another change with Latta on in place of White.
The Talbot goal led a charmed life in the 83rd minute. There was an almighty scramble in the Bot goal mouth as the Rabs tried to force the ball home to no avail. It was shoved clear but only as far as Mackenzie on the left of the penalty area but his low drive at goal was also blocked away.
Latta picked up a yellow card in the 85th minute when he was penalised for a shove on Mackenzie. Gallacher took the free kick & struck it well but his shot hit the edge of the wall & was deflected to safety.
With 2 minutes remaining Rob Roy’s manager was sent to the clubhouse for persistent carping from the sidelines.
Rob Roy threw bodies forward in the closing stages but the Bot defence stood up to the onslaught & held out for the win.
This was a vital win for Talbot which sees them join Rob Roy in joint second & close the gap on Glenafton. Next up for Talbot it is derby day as they travel to Townhead to face old rivals Cumnock.
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McGoldrick, White, Young, S Wilson, G Wilson, Milliken, Hyslop
Subs – Shankland, , Latta, Stevenson, McCracken, Thomson
Rob Roy – Brown, Walker, Mackenzie, McMenamin, Green, Whelan, Pearson, Duff, Sawyers, Johnstone, Gallacher
Subs – Watt, Mackie, McCall, McGuire, McKinven (gk)
|March 25, 2017||14:00||McBookies West Super Premier League||2016/17|
Kirkintilloch Rob Roy