Photographs by Paul Flynn.
Talbot kept their hopes of the league title alive with a crucial away win over the Buffs in a tense encounter at Abbey Park.
The Bot couldn’t have asked for a better start; taking the lead with only three minutes on the clock.
Lyle forced a corner down the right & when Glasgow swung it across the 6-yard line DWAYNE HYSLOP raced in to bullet a header into the roof of the net.
Talbot’s tails were up & their next attack saw them win a free kick 40 yards from goal. Pope slid it through the left channel to try to pick out the run of McIlroy but it there was just too much on it & it sped out for the goal kick.
Kilwinning nearly levelled the match in the 10th minute when a ball in behind sent Frye clear down the right & he raced into the box before cutting it across goal. Lyle swiped at it but missed the clearance & the ball came to Nisbet whose low drive was pushed onto the right post by Leishman who gathered at the 2nd attempt.
A 2nd goal for Talbot would have given the Bot a healthy cushion & it nearly arrived in the 14th minute. Stephen Wilson made tracks down the right before drilling the ball into the near post where Graham Wilson flicked the ball just over the bar.
The game was toing and froing without either side looking too threatening; with play largely confined to midfield.
In the 34th minute Hanvey picked up what was to be a costly yellow card when he was penalised for a late tackle on Hyslop and a minute later Graham Wilson joined him in the ref’s notebook for a late challenge on McCloskey.
Talbot got themselves into a promising position in the 37th minute when Glasgow raced past Lewis as though he wasn’t there to get free down the left but his final ball was over-hit.
The Bot’s next attack saw Stephen Wilson burst down the right using his pace to get past Pettigrew who did well to recover and concede the corner. Glasgow’s corner came into the near post where Graham Wilson glanced a header across the area that was gathered out on the left by Pope. He swung a cross beyond the back post to Glasgow but his ball back across goal was blocked.
Two minutes before the interval McIlroy stole the ball off Pettigrew & sent it out to the overlapping Stephen Wilson. He whipped a great 1st time cross into the centre that Maitland did well to head away.
In the last minute of the half Talbot had one final chance to grab a 2nd goal. Hyslop was tripped by Maitland right on the edge of the area, resulting in a Bot free kick and a booking for the Buffs centre-half. Graham Wilson took the set piece & his shot clipped the top of the wall & flew over the bar & so Talbot went in one goal to the good at the interval.
The 2nd half was only 3 minutes old when the Buffs were reduced to 10 men. Hanvey tripped Glasgow as he raced up-field & the referee produced a 2nd yellow then red.
Far from hindering Kilwinning, going a man down galvanised them, and from then on it was the home side which made most of the running.
In the 51st minute Frye raced onto a ball down the right of the penalty area. Talbot were looking for offside but it wasn’t given & Frye drilled a shot to the near post which Leishman blocked.
A minute later the Buffs did have the ball in the net but this time the linesman did raise his flag & Nisbet who’d tucked the ball into the bottom corner had his celebrations cut abruptly short when the ref finally noticed the linesman’s flag.
Talbot were going through a sticky spell & the Buffs came close in the 53rd minute. Monti was allowed too much time & space outside the box & he carried it forward before placing a low shot on target that Leishman helped round the left hand post.
Talbot were back on the attack in the 56th minute when Glasgow cut in off the left wing before sending a reverse ball out to McIlroy on the wing. He made for the bye line & drilled a pacey ball across the face of goal but unfortunately there were no takers in the centre.
Kilwinning made a change in the 59th minute with Wardrope coming on in place of Winters.
Hyslop had a half chance in the 62nd minute to put the game beyond doubt. McIlroy won a corner on the right & when the ball came over Stephen Wilson helped the ball across to Hyslop but he didn’t make clean contact with the ball & his shot bobbled straight at the keeper.
Tucker made a change in the 67th minute with Shankland replacing Graham Wilson.
Having survived the earlier flurry of pressure, Talbot saw out the closing twenty minutes of the match without any major alarms, content to sit on their lead and with the Buffs unable to make any headway.
Five minutes from time Tucker made his 2nd switch with McCracken being thrown on up front to replace McIlroy.
In the final minute of regulation time Talbot had a good chance to double their lead. Shankland floated a diagonal ball to send Glasgow racing free down the right & he squared it across the area to find McCracken running in on goal. His 1st touch took him a little wide & as he bore down on goal Wardrope spread himself to block his effort from close range.
A hard earned 3 points for the Bot, who have dug deep to come back from the disappointment of Monday’s loss to Hurlford, winning two away games on the bounce to give themselves a fighting chance of the title. Next up for Talbot it is another away day, with a midweek excursion to the seaside to face Girvan.
Kilwinning Rangers – Wardrope, Coleman, McCloskey, Pettigrew, Maitland, Frye, Monti, Hanvey, Winters, Lewis, Nisbet
Subs – Wardrope, Whyte, McGuinness, Latta
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McPherson, Stephen Wilson, White, Hyslop, McIlroy, G Wilson, Glasgow
Subs – Shankland, Pooler, Armstrong, McCracken, Hewitt
|May 5, 2018||2:00 pm||McBookies West Super Premier League||2017/18|
|10||Sean McIlroy 12||Forward||0||0||0||0|
|9||Graham Wilson 14||Forward||0||0||0||0|
|12||Craig McCracken 10||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|14||Mark Shankland 9||Forward||0||0||0||0|