Talbot suffered a frustrating loss at Blair Park due in no small part to leaving their shooting boots at home.
The opening spell was very scrappy with the ball careening up & down the pitch at breakneck speed.
The first opening came in the 8th minute when a shy from the right found Stephen Wilson inside the area. He turned away from his marker before toe-poking an effort wide of the right post.
Two minutes later McIlroy had a half chance in the Hurlford box. McPherson nodded the ball into the penalty area to find McIlroy breaking down the left. Sean got his shot away but it was blocked by Fisher & deflected over the bar. Shankland pulled the corner back to the edge of the box where Stephen Wilson curled a shot just over the bar.
Hurlford had barely mustered an attack but they took the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute. McKenzie gathered on the right & swung a cross into the centre which came off the back of the unfortunate CRAIG MCCRACKEN & sailed past Leishman.
Talbot pushed for the equaliser & had an opportunity in the 25th minute when Graham Wilson was obstructed outside the area. Shankland took the set piece but got too much on it & blazed his effort over from 22 yards.
The match should have been level on the half hour mark. Graham Wilson sped down the right past Mikilen & slid it across the face of goal. Shankland looked set to burst the net from 6 yards out but tried to pass it in, allowing Brown the chance to smother it.
The next Bot chance came in the 40th minute. Graham Wilson climbed to meet a ball down the centre & head it into the path of Hyslop whose low drive from 18 yards shaved the right post on its way past.
On the stroke of half time Talbot had another opportunity. Stephen Wilson gathered on the right & chipped the ball inside the area to find McIlroy. He lobbed the ball over the advancing Brown but didn’t get enough on it & the keeper was able to scramble back & retrieve the ball in the goal mouth and so Talbot went in a goal down at the interval despite having dominated proceedings.
Talbot started the 2nd half strongly, pressuring the Hurlford box but to no avail. Pope fired a good cross into the centre but there was no one on the end of it and a shortly after Graham Wilson slid a dangerous ball across goal that went a begging.
McCracken had his name taken in the 56th minute for an aerial challenge on McKenzie; with the Hurlford player milking the incident for all it was worth.
Tucker made his 1st change in the 59th minute when Glasgow came on for Shankland.
Talbot’s next chance came from one of the many corners they won. Glasgow lifted it into the area where Pope headed it just over.
Hurlford did have the ball in the back of the net in the 70th minute but Kean was clearly offside as he bundled Ferguson’s cross home from close range and the linesman was quick to flag.
Tucker now made a further change with Armstrong replacing White in the centre.
Talbot were camped in the Hurlford half but a combination of resolute defending and some poor final balls meant that they couldn’t convert their pressure into clear cut chances and then finally when they did create decent openings, Talbot failed to capitalise.
Hurlford were also doing their best to frustrate Talbot with some blatant time-wasting which went unpunished due to the laxity of the match officials.
In the 79th minute Graham Wilson rose inside the box to flick the ball down into the path of Armstrong but he couldn’t get his shot away and the ball was cleared.
With 5 minutes remaining Talbot missed a couple of chances in quick succession. Graham Wilson sent a ball across goal that came to McIlroy at the back post but he couldn’t force it home. The ball went out to Stephen Wilson who crossed it into the centre where Hyslop met it unopposed but his header from 6 yards crashed off the bar. Hyslop went for the rebound & tried to force it home in a packed goalmouth but the referee took the easy option, intervening to award a free kick to the home side.
The referee could easily have added 5 or 6 minutes on at the end for various lengthy stoppages & treacle slow substitutions but there was to be no Fergie time and a couple of minutes after the 90 he blew up for full-time.
A disappointing result for Talbot who now travel through to Kilbirnie knowing only a win will do if they are to have any realistic tilt at the league title.
Hurlford United – Brown, Fisher, Lidington, Mikilen, G Mitchell, D Mitchell, McKenzie, Watt, Kean, Robertson, Ferguson
Subs – Jenkins, Hodge, Agnew, Whitiker, Caddis
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, White, Hyslop, Shankland, G Wilson, McIlroy, S Wilson
Subs – Glasgow, Pooler, Armstrong, Harvey, Faulds
|April 30, 2018||19:00||McBookies West Super Premier League||2017/18|
|12||Jamie Glasgow 11||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|14||Gareth Armstrong 6||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|6||Steven White 14||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|11||Mark Shankland 12||Forward||0||0||0||0|