Sometimes a point can feel like winning all three, and this was the case yesterday as Talbot produced a late fightback to secure a draw away at Hurlford.
The game was only 7 minutes old when Wilson was harshly cautioned for a foul wide of the Talbot box. Kelly took the free kick but drilled it low straight into the wall.
Within a minute Talbot were threatening down the other end. Young gathered out on the left & cut back onto his right foot before swerving a dangerous cross over that C Robertson headed behind for a corner on the right. Young swept it into the near post where Wilson glanced a header on target that was cleared off the line.
In Hurlford’s next attack Hodge went on a good run, beating a couple of men down the right before shooting from the angle of the box but it sailed straight at Leishman.
Latta had his name taken in the 12th minute for a foul on McKenzie near the bye line.
Six minutes later Latta’s afternoon was over. He fell awkwardly after an aerial challenge & limped from the field to be replaced by White.
Molloy received a caution in the 25th minute for a foul on Young.
Milliken had a half chance in the 32nd minute. He held off Fisher to get to a ball over the top & raced into the penalty area. The angle was too tight for a shot so he tried to square it across goal where it was blocked by C Robertson & broke through to the keeper.
A minute later Hurlford took the lead thanks to a rare clanger from Leishman. There appeared to be no danger when a nothing ball was floated down the centre into the penalty area. Leishman came out to gather but misjudged the flight of the ball, missing it completely, leaving R ROBERTSON the simple task of passing it into the empty net.
Hurlford had a chance to double their lead in the 38th minute. Fisher drove forward before releasing the ball out to McKenzie in space on the right. He pulled it back across the area to pick out Roberts who shot wide of the right post.
Talbot had an early opportunity in the 2nd half when Wilson was pulled down just outside the Hurlford penalty area. Pope took the set piece but lofted his shot well over the bar.
The home side began to take a grip on the game & had Talbot pegged back in their own half for a spell without being able to test Leishman. The closest they came was in the 59th minute when Robertson laid the ball off to Roberts 20 yards out & he fired just over the bar.
Talbot had a chance to put the home defence to the test in the 63rd minute when Young won a free kick on the right. He delivered a good ball into the centre which Fisher headed out to the edge of the box where Stevenson volleyed it over the bar.
Leishman came to Talbot’s rescue a minute later. Robertson headed the ball into the path of McKenzie to send him through on goal but Leishman managed to block his attempted lob.
Brash, who was living up to or down to his name depending on your point of view, managed to talk his way into the book in the 65th minute.
Milliken nearly got in behind in Talbot’s next foray up field. A mix up between C Robertson & his keeper saw Milliken nip in between them just inside the penalty box but Fisher got across to turn it out for a shy.
A combination of Leishman & the woodwork prevented Hurlford doubling their advantage in the 73rd minute. Talbot’s defence failed to cut out a ball in from the right that landed at the feet of McKenzie. He prodded it goal ward & Leishman stuck out his right hand to turn it onto the post before Lyle scrambled it behind.
It looked bleak for Talbot two minutes later when Hurlford moved two goals in front. McGoldrick headed behind for a corner on the right and when it came over Fisher directed his header inside the left post where THOMSON put it into his own net whilst trying to clear off the line.
Tucker now made a change with Pooler coming on in place of Thomson.
The Hurlford defence had a lucky break with 10 minutes remaining. Pooler got free down the left & cut the ball back into the centre to find Wilson. He turned to shoot but a Hurlford defender nicked the ball off him & sent it toward his own goal where Brown had to save with his feet to prevent an o.g.
Hurlford had a chance to put the game beyond all doubt in the 81st minute when they won a free kick 22 yards out. R Robertson took it but sent a tame shot through to Leishman.
Talbot’s next attack saw Milliken racing down the left. He lifted over a cross that Wilson headed for goal, only to see C Robertson clear it from the goal mouth.
Time looked to be running out for Talbot but they were thrown a lifeline in the 84th minute when they pulled a goal back. GRAHAM WILSON latched onto a ball in from the right & took a touch before slamming a low shot inside the left post to make it 2-1.
Hurlford were rattled & threw on a couple of late substitutes in an attempt to run the clock down. Firstly, Kean coming on for Roberts and a few minutes later Merenghi replacing Brash.
The latter substitution proved to be decisive. With 1 minute remaining Milliken burst down the left wing & clipped a cross over to the far post where MERENGHI scored a bizarre own goal; coolly heading it inside the left post under no pressure to level the score.
Talbot’s tails were up but there was no time left to press home their advantage & the game finished 2-2.
With Glenafton being held to a draw at Arthurlie, and Rob Roy slipping up against Kilbirnie this was definitely a point gained for Talbot & could yet prove to have a real bearing on the title chase.
Next up for Talbot is a midweek trip to Troon on Ayrshire cup duty.
Hurlford Utd – Brown, Hodge, Kelly, Fisher, C Robertson, Molloy, McKenzie, Brash, M Roberts, R Robertson, Chisholm
Subs – Kean, Byrne, Merenghi, Agnew, McColm
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McGoldrick, Stevenson, Young, Thomson, Milliken, G Wilson, Latta
Subs – White, Pooler, McPherson, Hewitt
|April 29, 2017||14:00||McBookies West Super Premier League||2016/17|