It took Talbot a while to get going but in the end they ran out comfortable winners over Neilston in the South Challenge cup.
It was the visitors who made the early running and they had a chance in the 6th minute when MacKinnon swept a low ball in from the left. It broke into the path of Jones but he didn’t strike it cleanly and Leishman was able to save it by his left post.
In the 11th minute Neilston missed a sitter. Reilly got to the bye line and cut it back to Fletcher who looked certain to score but he bundled his shot wide of the left post from 6 yards out.
Talbot’s first meaningful move came in the 16th minute. A good move ended with Ballantyne on the left squaring the ball across the 6 yard area where it was cut out and cleared by the defence.
Neilston continued to have the upper hand without offering too much in the final third with play confined to the middle third.
In the 35th minute Crawford picked up a caution for a foul on Fletcher.
Thirty nine mins in and Talbot took the lead following their first shot on target. Shankland slipped the ball through for Aiden Wilson whose cut back was met by Graham Wilson 15 yards out. Hay dived to his left to parry his shot but the ball broke off MACKINNON and into the net for an own goal.
Three minutes later Mackinnon found himself in the ref’s notebook following a rugby tackle on Samson. Shankland took the free kick and whipped a dangerous ball over that flew off a defender’s head and went wide of goal for the corner. Shankland’s corner into the near post was headed clear but came out to Taylor who cut in onto his left foot only to see his shot blocked.
Talbot continued to press but Neilston held out and the Bot went in 1-0 up at the interval.
Talbot stepped it up a gear or two after the half-time break and had the visitors under pressure from the off and it paid off in the 51st minute when Talbot doubled their lead.
Taylor burst in off the right and played it into the feet of Samson inside the area. He returned it back and ROSS TAYLOR hammered a low drive past the keeper to make it 2-0.
In the 55th minute Talbot won a free kick in a good area. Crawford was caught late as he took a shot from just outside the box and the ref pulled it back for the free kick. Shankland stepped up but lifted it well over the bar.
A minute later Talbot were back on the attack. Shankland laid it out wide for Taylor and Hay had to claw his dangerous cross behind for the corner. The corner was taken short and Shankland hit an inch perfect cross to the back post but no Bot player was on hand to take advantage.
Moments later Talbot thought they’d grabbed their 3rd of the afternoon. Taylor gathered on the right and flashed it low across the face of goal where Samson turned it home from close range but was flagged for offside.
The goal was coming though and Talbot grabbed their 3rd on the hour mark. Taylor raced onto a ball over the top and raced past Doyle in the area before being hauled down for a stonewaller. MARK SHANKLAND took the spot kick and sent Hay the wrong way to make it 3-0.
Two minutes later Shankland had a half chance to grab another. Samson raced in off the left past Doyle and when he was challenged the ball broke out to Shankland at the edge of the area but he sent his shot well wide.
In the 64th minute Graham Wilson received a caution for a challenge on Halliday.
Neilston now made a double switch with Convery & Jones making way Henry & Haddow. Talbot responded with a double change of their own – Park & Graham Wilson being replaced by Boylan & Wardrope.
With 20 mins remaining Talbot found themselves a man down for the 2nd week in a row. Crawford took a heavy 1st touch and when Smith nipped in to claim it Crawford caught him and the ref produced a 2nd yellow card.
However, it was still Talbot looking the more likely to add to the score line and the Bot came close in the 72nd minute. Boylan robbed Reilly of the ball deep in the Neilston half before carrying it forward and hammering a shot that flew across goal and just wide of the right hand upright.
The Bot were back on the attack in the 76th minute. Wilson’s ball over the top found Samson racing free down the left. He darted into the box and cut it back toward Boylan but it had a shade too much pace on it.
Neilston now made a further change with Adam on for Reilly and Talbot made their final change with Mason replacing Shankland.
Eight minutes from time Talbot won a free kick out on the right touchline – wide of the penalty area. Wardrope fired a good ball over toward Boylan but a defender managed to head it behind for the corner.
In the final minute of regulation time Mason pounced on a loose ball in the Neilston half and slotted an early ball out right to find Boylan in space. He sped free down the wing but overhit his final cross.
Deep into injury time Talbot came close to making it four. A poor attempt at a back pass was intercepted by Samson inside the area but Hay did well at his right post to block the shot behind for a corner. When the corner came in it was only cleared as far as Ballantyne at the edge of the area who sent his shot over the bar in what proved to be the last chance of the match.
A good win for the Bot who travel through to the kingdom of Fife next Saturday to face Raith Rovers in the senior cup.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, Park, McCracken, Ballantyne, Taylor, Graham Wilson, Samson, Shankland, Crawford
Subs – Boylan, White, Mason, Wardrope
Neilston – Hay, Halliday, MacKinnon, Doyle, Clark, Gallacher, Convery, Smith, Fletcher, Jones, Reilly
Subs – Henry, Adam, Davis, Haddow, Hamilton
|November 19, 2022||14:00||SOUTH REGION CHALLENGE CUP||2022/23|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|8||Graham Wilson 12||Forward||0||0||1||0|
|10||Mark Shankland 14||Forward||1||0||0||0|
|12||Bryan Boylan 8||Forward||0||0||0||0|
|14||Aaron Mason 10||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|15||Michael Wardrope 4||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|4||Ally Park 15||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|