Talbot failed to hit the heights but were still more than good enough to claim a single goal victory at Townhead to close in on Hurlford at the top of the table.
The last two derby encounters were chock full of goals & incidents but it wasn’t the case this time round with the game falling flat & neither keeper being in danger of being overworked.
The first chance of the match came in the 5th minute when Shankland towered above Niang to arrow a header across the area toward Graham Wilson but it just slipped past him in front of goal.
A minute later Cumnock had a half chance. McPherson tried to let the ball run out for a goal kick, allowing Patterson in to nick it on the bye line. He cut in on his right foot & fired a shot from a tight angle that Leishman blocked at his near post.
Talbot’s next effort at goal came in the 11th minute. Shankland teed the ball up Harvey who let fly from 20 yards; drilling a shot just wide of Semple’s left post.
It was to be an afternoon when bookings vastly outnumbered chances & the 1st card came in the 12th minute when Murray was cautioned for deliberate handball. Five minutes later Montgomerie joined him in the book for a cynical trip on Graham Wilson as he raced up field. Pope took the resultant free kick & fired a low drive on target from 35 yards that went straight at Semple.
The longer the half went the scrappier it grew & it took until the half hour mark before the next clear chance. Cumnock were awarded a free kick 25 yards out when Harvey blocked Niang’s run with the Talbot defender also receiving a caution for the challenge. Miller took the free kick & curled it past the wall but just wide of Leishman’s right post.
Graham Wilson joined the crime count in the 36th minute when cautioned for an aerial challenge on Montgomerie.
Cumnock conceded a needless corner in the 39th minute due to an over hit backpass. Shankland delivered it into the centre where it broke to White. He caught it clean, firing a 1st time volley from 15 yards on target but fortunately for Cumnock it flew straight at Semple.
In the final minute of the half Talbot picked up another booking. White conceded a free kick for a shove on Montgomerie then received a caution for disputing the decision. Crawford whipped the free kick into the area but the Bot defence were able to clear and the sides trooped off goal less at the interval.
Tucker made a change during the break & when play resumed McIlroy was on in place of Graham Wilson.
The 2nd half pretty much left off where the 1st had ended, with both sides fully committed, but neither side looking like scoring.
With 53 mins gone Lyle received a caution when he brought down Miller 30 yards out. Montgomerie took the free kick but sent it sailing high over the bar.
The referee was running out of space in his notepad as he added two more names to his book in the 56th minute. Cautioning Stephen Wilson for a foul on Miller & then booking Semple after he raced out his goals to remonstrate with the officials.
Both sides now made a switch with Reid coming on for Patterson & White making way for Armstrong.
Talbot gave the Nock defence a fright in their next attack when Lyle whipped a dangerous cross over to the back post but Samson just failed to reach it.
The game had goal less draw written all over it but a moment of madness from Lundie gifted Talbot a penalty in the 65th minute. There wasn’t any danger when the ball was played into Samson just inside the right edge of the area but Lundie breenged into him, bowling him over, and the ref pointed to the spot. GORDON POPE took it & gave Semple no chance; firing it low inside the right post to give Talbot the lead.
Two minutes later it should have been game over. Samson gathered on the right & squared a great ball across the face. Hyslop looked a cert to tuck it home from 6 yards but got his feet wrong & mis-kicked in front of goal.
Talbot were having a good spell & when Samson found Stephen Wilson free on the right his cross had the defence stretched to clear.
Cumnock’s player-manager now joined his team mates in the book for dissent.
Talbot had another great chance to kill the game off in the 74th minute. McIlroy swept a cross over from the left that came to Stephen Wilson. He cut inside past his man but blazed his shot over the bar from 6 yards.
Hyslop received a harsh yellow card in the 75th minute when he slid into a tackle on Dinwoodie. It looked like he’d won the ball cleanly but the ref thought otherwise. This was Dinwoodie’s last involvement as he left to be replaced by a Trialist.
Semple kept Cumnock’s slim hopes alive in the 77th minute. Crawford sclaffed a clearance into the sky & when it came down McIlroy touched it off to Shankland. His volley was heading into the roof of the net til Semple tipped it over the bar.
With 9 minutes remaining Talbot completed their subs when Glasgow came on for Samson.
Cumnock pushed forward in the closing stages but without really offering any threat. Twice Montgomerie had a go from distance but neither effort remotely troubled the Talbot goal.
With 2 minutes remaining Cumnock received a slice of luck when Pope’s clearance cannoned off Niang & flew into the penalty area. It came toward Cumnock’s Trialist on the right of the area but before he could get a shot away Lyle slid in to put it behind for the corner.
In the final minute of regulation time Cumnock were awarded a free kick midway inside their own half. Semple hoofed it down the left where Murray headed it across the penalty area forcing Pope to clear at the back post.
Talbot had one final chance to add to their lead deep into injury time. McIlroy met Pope’s ball up the left & headed it on to Glasgow who cut inside Reid before firing a shot across goal & wide of the left post.
A poor game but a very valuable 3 points that now sees Talbot only 5 points adrift of Hurlford with 5 games in hand. Next week Talbot are back in cup action as they host Craigmark Burntonians in the 3rd round of the West.
Cumnock Juniors – Semple, Niang, Crawford, Lundie, Murray, Dinwoodie, Montgomery, Burns, Patterson, Degnan, Miller
Subs – Reid, Hunter, Trialist, Trialist, McMurdo (gk)
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, Harvey, Hyslop, White, Shankland, Graham Wilson, Samson, Stephen Wilson
Subs – McIlroy, Kemp, Glasgow, Armstrong, McCracken
|March 9, 2019||14:00||2018/19|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|