Talbot’s reign as South Challenge cup holders ended as they stumbled to defeat at Alliance Park.
The Bot should have opened the scoring in the 7th minute. Mason pressured a Braves defender into an error and his short back-pass landed at the feet of Samson but he couldn’t beat the keeper.
Chances were few and far between but Talbot had another decent one in the 16th minute. Boylan slid the ball up the right to Mason and when his cross came over Samson flicked the ball into the path of Park, in space at the edge of the area, and he volleyed just over the bar.
The home side came close in the 22nd minute. Butterworth laid the ball back to Lindsay who looked as though he was trying to cross it but it nearly ended up on target – curling just over the crossbar.
In the 29th minute Leishman came to Talbot’s rescue. Lindsay’s pass through the centre sent McNeil through on goal and he looked set to score but Leishman made an impressive stop.
Talbot were forced into a change in the 34th minute with Wardrope coming on for the injured Healy.
The opening goal came in the 39th minute and it was a soft one from a Bot point of view. McNeil drove into the heart of the penalty area past a couple of challenges and when the ball broke loose it fell to WATSON who prodded it past Leishman from 8 yards.
Forrester received a caution in the 42nd minute for a shirt tug on Samson as he broke towards the box resulting in a free kick 30 yards out. Wardrope whipped it up and over the wall but his shot sailed just wide of the left hand post.
In 1st half injury time Talbot passed up a half chance to level. Samson fed the ball to his right to find Mason 12 yards out but his shot lacked power and failed to test White.
The 2nd half started very scrappily with neither side able to hold onto the ball. On the hour mark Mason was cautioned for a late tackle on Guthrie and moments later Talbot made a double switch with Mason & Park making way for Taylor & Smith.
Sixty-two mins in the home side gave Talbot a scare when Walker swung over a dangerous cross from the left that broke to McNeil in front of goal but his shot was blocked away.
A minute later Crawford took one for the team when he received a caution for halting Kelly as he raced forward.
In the 66th minute Talbot drew level with the first good passing move of the match. A series of one touch passes worked the ball out to Taylor on the left and he swept a good ball across the face of goal that came to BRYAN BOYLAN who steered a low shot inside the left post from 8 yards.
Two mins later Boylan raced away down the right and slung a cross into the centre that was headed clear. It only came as far as Crawford who returned it wide to Boylan and this time his cross to the back post was met by Samson whose header was held by the keeper.
The Bot’s next effort came in the 71st minute when Taylor cut inside off the left and let fly from 20 yards but his shot flew over.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot won a free kick out wide on the left for a foul on Taylor. Wardrope drilled it in at pace and McPherson stooped to meet it – heading wide of the far post.
It was incessant Talbot pressure at this stage and Talbot’s next attack saw Wardrope release Boylan down the right and he knocked it across towards Smith at the back post but the defence did well to cut it out.
Talbot were made to pay for failing to turn pressure into goals when the Braves sucker punched them in the 83rd minute.
Kelly burst forward from midfield and carried it deep into the Bot half before sliding it right to find MAIN in space and he gave Leishman no chance with a low drive into the opposite corner to make it 2-1.
Talbot now threw men forward looking for an equaliser. In the 85th minute Smith went down inside the area and the referee booked him for simulation.
In the closing stages Talbot had a couple of half chances. Taylor got his head to Crawford’s cross at the back post but it didn’t trouble White and as the game moved into added time Boylan’s cross into the back post broke out to Taylor who volleyed over the bar.
A disappointing afternoon for the bulk of the crowd with Bot fans making up the vast majority of the attendance. Talbot don’t have time to dwell on it though as they’re back in action on Monday night when they play the Buffs in the league.
Caledonian Braves – White, Guthrie, Walker, Main, Duncan, Forrester, Butterworth, Lindsay, McNeil, Watson, Kelly
Subs – R Stewart, Collins, G Stewart, Brown, Henry
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Crawford, Aiden Wilson, Stafford, McPherson, Healy, Park, Armstrong, Boylan, Mason, Samson
Subs – Taylor, Smith, Lennox, Wardrope, Ballantyne, McCracken
|April 1, 2023||15:00||SOUTH REGION CHALLENGE CUP||2022/23|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|7||Ally Park 15||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|15||Ross Smith 7||Midfielder||0||0||1||0|
|8||Kieran Healy 16||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|14||Ross Taylor 9||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|9||Aaron Mason 14||Midfielder||0||0||1||0|
|16||Michael Wardrope 8||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|