On paper this replay of last year’s cup final looked too close to call but Talbot simply blew the hosts away; cruising to a 5-0 win over Hurlford that in no way flattered Talbot.
Talbot made the perfect start, taking the lead with only 6 minutes on the clock. Graham Wilson fed the ball out to McDowall on the left & he whipped a cross over to the far post where GARETH ARMSTRONG looped a header back across goal & over Brown to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.
Within a minute Talbot were back on the attack. Pope lifted a great ball over from the left touchline that flew across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
With 8 minutes gone Talbot were firmly in the driving seat as they doubled their lead. McDowall showed great pace & strength to surge through the centre & break into the Ford box where he was unceremoniously dumped to the turf by Fisher. The ref pointed to the spot & booked the Ford full-back before STEPHEN WILSON coolly slotted the penalty home to make it 2-0.
On a quiet afternoon for Leishman, he was called upon in the 11th minute when L Caddis lifted a cross over from the right that was met by M McKenzie. His header landed on target but Leishman held it at his left post.
P McKenzie had a half chance to reduce the deficit a few minutes later. Hurlford won a corner on the right that was pulled back to him at the edge of the area but his shot sailed over the bar like a try conversion.
McKenzie’s next involvement was receiving a booking in the 26th minute when he went in with raised studs in a challenge on Hyslop. This proved doubly expensive for Hurlford as Pope flighted the ball into the area where GRAHAM WILSON guided a looped header over Brown to put Talbot on easy street.
The home side had a chance to pull one back in the 31st minute when they won a free kick 23 yards from goal but M McKenzie made nothing of it; tamely firing a shot straight into the wall.
Hurlford’s defence had looked shaky from the start & they were posted missing again in the 37th minute. Leishman launched the ball down the centre where Hyslop rose to head it on. The ball came through to Graham Wilson on the left of the penalty area but he fired over from the bar from 16 yards.
A minute later Talbot ought to have moved four ahead following a free flowing move. A string of passes ended with Graham Wilson sending Armstrong through on goal down the right. He could have shot but instead opted to roll it across goal where McDowall prodded it home but he’d moved too early & was caught offside.
The goal frame came to Hurlford’s rescue in the 43rd minute. Graham Wilson gathered on the left & played it back into the path of Pope whose fierce drive cannoned off the bar with Brown well beaten.
Hurlford had a rare chance in injury time when miscommunication in the Bot defence saw McCracken & McPherson go for the same ball. It broke to Reilly at the edge of the area & his snapshot went just wide of the left post. This proved the final act of the half & Talbot trooped off 3 goals ahead.
The home side made a change at the interval with Fisher staying in the club house & Whittaker on in his place.
Talbot started the 2nd half positively & tested the home defence in the 47th minute. Graham Wilson’s ball up the line sent McDowall racing toward the box where he knocked it past Robertson but he did just enough to ensure the ball ran through to Brown.
P McKenzie managed an effort on target in the 48th minute; firing on goal from 25 yards but it never seriously tested Leishman.
The Bot were soon back on the attack, Pope carrying the ball forward before releasing Graham Wilson down the left. He whipped a great cross over to the back post which broke off the in rushing McDowall & wide of target.
The game was all over bar the shouting when Talbot moved 4-0 ahead in the 53rd minute. Pope slung an accurate cross into the centre where GRAHAM WILSON rose to power a header inside the right post past the static keeper.
Hyslop had his name taken in the 55th minute for a late challenge.
Hurlford made their 2nd change soon after with R Caddis making way for Morrison.
The home side had a chance to grab a consolation in the 58th minute when they caught Talbot on the counter-attack. M McKenzie was played in down the left & made his way into the area where he hit a tame shot at Leishman.
Kemp had to limp off in the 63rd minute & Samson came on in his place.
Talbot nearly moved further ahead after 68 minutes. McCracken’s ball from the back found Graham Wilson in space on the left. He held it up before releasing the ball out right where Lyle had raced forward & his low angled drive flew across goal & narrowly past the right post.
Tucker now made a further substitution with McIlroy replacing Graham Wilson.
Samson had a close call in the 69th minute when he was barged into the advertising hoardings by Barron but fortunately he wasn’t badly injured. Pope took the free kick & bent a ball to the far post where Watt put it behind for a corner. When Stephen Wilson’s corner came over McCracken met it & saw his header cleared off the line by Hodge. The ball came out to Armstrong & his powerful drive was net bound til it was blocked by Robertson. Talbot then had a 3rd bite of the cherry when it broke to Hyslop 6 yards out. He passed it toward goal but didn’t get enough behind it & once again the ball was cleared off the goal line.
Talbot saved the best for last. With 74 minutes gone Armstrong made tracks down the right before pulling the back across toward McDowall. He teed it up for GORDON POPE who hit as sweet a strike as you’ll see all season; leathering the ball into the top corner from 35 yards to put Talbot 5-0 ahead & set the benchmark for goal of the season.
Tucker now completed Talbot’s changes with White coming on in place of Hyslop.
Talbot didn’t rest on their laurels and kept pushing forward in search of more but Hurlford managed to hold on to the end without any further damage.
A superb performance from the Bot that narrows Hurlford’s lead at the top & sets Talbot up nicely for next week when they entertain Cumnock at Beechwood.
Hurlford United – Brown, Hodge, Fisher, Barron, C Robertson, L Caddis, P McKenzie, Watt, Reilly, R Caddis, M McKenzie
Subs – Byrne, Whittaker, McWaters, Morrison, R Robertson
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Stephen Wilson, Hyslop, Graham Wilson, Kemp, McDowall
Subs – Samson, McIlroy, White, Shankland, Glasgow
Photographs by Paul Flynn.
|December 15, 2018||13:45||McBookies Super League||2018/19|
|12||Keir Samson 10||Forward||0||0||0||0|
|9||Graham Wilson 14||Forward||2||0||0||0|
|8||Dwayne Hyslop 15||Midfielder||0||0||1||0|
|15||Steven White 8||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|