Talbot produced the great escape with no Steve McQueen required as they staged an unlikely late fight back to snatch a point away to Beith. A point which could have a major bearing on the title as Hurlford were held to a draw by Glenafton meaning a draw at Blair Park now guarantees Talbot the title.
Talbot started the game on the front foot and nearly went ahead within the 1st minute. A free kick up the right skated off Docherty’s head & behind for a corner. When it came into the 6-yard area Beith failed to clear & the ball fell to Hyslop whose low drive was heading inside the left post until blocked by Docherty.
The Bot fashioned another opening in the 7th minute. Wilson fed the ball into the box from the right into Young & he squared it across for Milliken who powered a shot on target from 15 yards but straight at Watson.
Unfortunately Talbot’s strong start didn’t last & Beith took the lead with their 1st meaningful attack after 10 minutes. Burke jinked down the left, leaving Latta & White in his wake. He lifted a cross to the back post which S Wilson headed clear but it only came out to the unmarked CHRISTIE at the edge of the area & he carried it forward before burying it low into the bottom corner.
Beith came within a whisker of doubling their lead soon after. Burke played it into the near post where Christie looked set to tap it in but he failed to make contact & the ball ran across the face of goal.
Talbot were shooting up the slope & shot themselves in the foot when they gifted Beith a 2nd in the 19th minute. McCracken was short with a back pass from the left touchline & Watt raced clear on the right. He slid it across goal & although Christie couldn’t reach it MCGOWAN was following in behind to slide it home.
The game was slipping away from Talbot, and as the half wore on, the nervier Talbot looked, with passes going astray & no one looking comfortable on the ball.
Beith nearly killed the game off in the 25th minute. Once again a cross from the left caused the Bot defensive problems & when White headed clear it came straight to McGowan. It looked like he was shooting from 25 yards but instead slipped a pass through to Watt inside the area & his shot was deflected just wide of the left post.
Wilson had Beith’s next effort when he attempted a volley from 30 yards that flew just wide of the right post.
Talbot almost reduced the deficit in the 29th minute. Milliken headed Hyslop’s cross down into the path of Young & he blasted it on target from 8 yards out but Watson dived to his left to make an impressive stop.
Talbot’s next chance, in the 36th minute, also came to Young. A corner on the right was swept in low to the near corner of the 6-yard box where Butch met it but side-footed over the bar.
In the closing stages of the half the sides picked up a booking a piece, firstly Beith’s McArthur for holding Milliken and then G Wilson for a late challenge but there were no further chances & Beith went in with a two goal cushion.
Beith made the sprightlier start after the interval & nearly ended the game as a contest in the 50th minute. Burke forced a corner on the left off Hyslop & when it came into the near post Christie glanced a header across goal that flashed wide of the far post.
In Talbot’s next attack Steven Wilson had a real chance to pull a goal back when he raced onto Graham Wilson’s head flick, however he scooped his shot over the bar from a good position on the left of the area.
Watson did well in the 55th minute, coming out his area to thwart Milliken but at the expense of a corner. Young curled the corner to the far post where Clark headed it behind. This time when the corner came in it broke to Young 15 yards out whose attempt on target was headed clear inside the 6-yard area.
Tucker made a change in the 61st minute with Shankland coming on in place of Steven Wilson & a few minutes later Beith made a change with Elliot replacing Christie.
A goal for Talbot would shake things up & Shankland had a decent chance to pull one back in the 65th minute when he ran onto Wilson’s head flick but he drilled his shot wide of the left post from 18 yards.
Wilson came close a couple of minutes later when he turned sharply & fired a shot narrowly past Watson’s right post.
Beith now made a further change with Martin replacing Watt.
Hyslop joined Wilson in the ref’s notebook in the 70th minute when he tripped Burke.
Collins ought to have killed the game off in the 73rd minute. McCracken & White failed to cut out a ball up the right channel & it came through to Collins inside the area but he couldn’t beat Leishman who made a terrific stop.
Both sides now made their final changes with MacDonald coming on for Clark for the home side & Love replacing Boyd as Talbot went for broke.
As substitutions go, this proved an especially inspired one, and LOVE gave the large travelling support something to cheer in the 82nd minute when he ran through a gaping hole in the Beith defence before coolly slotting home to give Talbot some hope.
Talbot were now pushing all out for an equaliser & it was Beith’s turn to look nervy as the home side dropped deeper inviting pressure onto them.
It looked as though Beith were going to hold out but in the final minute a poor passback gifted a chance to LOVE and he took full advantage when sent clean through and knocked home the equaliser.
The final whistle saw loud cheers from the relieved Bot support, grateful to have earned a point the hard way, and buoyed by the news that Hurlford had slipped up against the Glens.
Next up for Talbot is a Friday night trip to Newlandsfield where they will face Hurlford in the final of the West.
Beith – Watson, Fisher, Docherty, McArthur, Clark, Wilson, Watt, McGowan, Christie, Collins, Burke
Subs – MacDonald, Martin, Ryan, Elliot, Grindlay
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, White, McCracken, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, G Wilson, Milliken, S Wilson
Subs – Shankland, Love, McGoldrick, Findlay, Johnstone
|May 16, 2016||19:15||2015/16|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|