PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
Talbot came oh so close to claiming another SPL scalp in the Scottish Cup but a soft late penalty saw Arbroath live to fight another day.
The Bot nearly made a dream start when Pope let fly from distance inside the first minute & Gaston was forced to turn it wide of the post.
The home support loudly appealed for a spot kick in the 8th minute when Samson appeared to be barged over from behind inside the area but the officials waved it away. The ball was then swept to the other end where Spence was nudged over 30 yards out & this time the ref gave the free kick. Linn took it but drilled it straight into the wall.
With 11 minutes on the clock Talbot took the lead via a special finish. Graham Wilson showed good control out on the left before laying the ball down the line to Boylan. He switched it inside to DWAYNE HYSLOP who curled a peach of a shot beyond Gaston & inside the far left post to put Talbot ahead.
Two minutes later Boylan won Talbot a corner down the left. It was taken short to Stephen Wilson & he whipped a good cross into the centre that O’Brien headed clear.
Arbroath now had a decent spell of pressure but nothing to show for it. Linn gathered on the left & squared it inside to Donnelly whose shot from 20 yards was blocked. The visitors next attack saw McKenna play it into Spence on the right of the area but McCracken was quickly across to snuff out the danger.
The referee wasn’t winning any friends at Beechwood and didn’t win any new admirers when two decisions in quick succession went against the Bot. He awarded Arbroath a free kick just outside the Talbot box when an Arbroath player went down. Hamilton took it but slipped as ran up to to the ball & hit it tamely into the wall.
At the opposite end Stephen Wilson fed the ball out right to find Samson & he looked to be impeded by Hamilton as he cut inside him but the referee saw nothing amiss.
Leishman produced a top class save to keep Talbot ahead in the 28th minute. A ball from the right found its way to Murphy 16 yards out & his shot skipped off the turf & was heading inside the right post until Leishman pushed it wide.
Talbot’s keeper produced an equally impressive stop four minutes later. The Bot defence failed to cut out a diagonal ball over from the left & O’Brien ran onto it on the right of the area. He hammered a shot at goal but Leishman had flew off his line to narrow the angle & make the block.
A minute later Talbot won a free kick inside the Arbroath half when Samson was caught. Pope lifted it beyond the back post where Hyslop headed it back across toward Samson but he was crowded out.
The Bot had another half chance minutes later. Hyslop was bundled over in midfield & Pope arrowhead the free kick out to Graham Wilson on the left. He instantly controlled it & slipped a pass into Boylan inside the area but he took a heavy first touch & the chance was lost.
In the 37th minute Graham Wilson latched onto a ball up the right & knocked it inside to Samson who burst into the right of the penalty area. He hit a tempting ball across the face of goal that went a begging as there was no one running in at the far post to supply the finish.
Five minutes before the interval a long throw from the right broke to McKenna 16 yards out; however, he was quickly closed down & had to take it first time, firing well over the bar.
The half ended with a Talbot attack fizzling out and an Arbroath counterattack. Pope lifted it up the line to find Graham Wilson who held the ball up before switching play to the other wing to find Samson breaking into the area but the ball broke away from him. Hamilton now played it quickly into the Bot half where Hyslop bundled Murphy over resulting in a free kick 30 yards out. Linn took it short, squaring it for O’Brien to hit but he blasted it well wide and Talbot trooped off one ahead.
The visitors made a change at half-time with Murphy remaining in the clubhouse & Stewart on in his stead.
Both sides were playing at hammer & tongs pace and the 2nd half started evenly with neither side giving any quarter and neither side making any headway in the final third.
The first opening of the 2nd period came Talbot’s way in the 58th minute. Samson picked up on the right & angled a great early ball over to find Graham Wilson in space on the left. He tried to play in Hyslop on the right of the box but there was too much on his pass.
A minute later Arbroath threatened when Gold got free on the right & whipped a great cross over to the back post but there were no runners at the far post.
On the hour mark Gold was on defensive duties when he did well to cut out Samson’s ball in from the right that was heading for Boylan til he managed to cut it out & slide it out for the shy.
Arbroath were becoming frustrated & this showed when O’Brien carried it forward & tried a wildly ambitious effort from 35 yards that sailed harmlessly over the bar.
The visitors now made a further change with Campbell on in place of Spence.
In the 64th minute Linn raced up the right before firing a low ball into the near post. It was cut out and came to Gold who sprawled over looking for a penalty but the ref wasn’t interested.
A minute later Talbot had a good chance on the break. Space opened up for Boylan as he ran towards the box down the left; he had Graham Wilson in space to his right but failed to pick him out and the move came to nothing.
Donnelly ought to have levelled it in the 66th minute. A good ball over from the left found him stretching to get on the end of it in front of goal. He made contact but somehow lifted it over the bar from inside the 6-yard area.
Tucker now made a double switch with Glasgow & Shankland replacing Boylan & Samson.
Arbroath threatened again soon after when a ball from the left broke kindly for Stewart 20 yards out. He rifled a fierce shot at goal which Pope headed clear.
The game was becoming stretched & Talbot put together a decent move when McCracken flighted a ball down the right to find Glasgow just outside the area. He lifted an early cross in that Wheatley headed clear. Talbot kept the pressure on though & were awarded with a free kick 20 yards out when Graham Wilson was wrestled down out on the right. Shankland delivered it into the danger zone where Stephen Wilson just failed to connect in front of goal but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the linesman’s flag went up.
Shankland was involved again in the 73rd minute. He slid a pass through toward Glasgow that would have sent him clean through on goal but O’Brien did well to intercept.
A second goal for Talbot would have finished it and the Bot had a half chance with 12 minutes remaining. Leishman launched a free kick down field which Hyslop nodded on to Glasgow on the right. He played it across the area where it fell to Graham Wilson 15 yards out but he sliced his shot wide of target.
With nine minutes remaining Arbroath made their final change when Kader came on for Linn.
Six minutes from time Talbot conceded a soft penalty. A ball from the right came into the area & Graham Wilson went to challenge Stewart. There didn’t appear to be any contact but the ref judged that his boot had been raised and pointed to the spot. MCKENNA stepped up to the plate & although Leishman guessed right he had no chance as he drilled it low inside the left post.
Talbot now made their last change with McDowall coming on for Healy.
Right at the end Arbroath had a late chance to sneak the win. Stewart got away on the right & delivered a dangerous cross into the centre that Leishman stretched to punch away. It came out to McKenna 15 yards out but his shot was charged down by McPherson.
The final whistle saw the Bot fans with mixed feelings, pride at the display warring with disappointment the Bot hadn’t held out for the win and so now Talbot make the trek north to Arbroath this Wednesday coming for the replay at Gayfield.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, Healy, Hyslop, Stephen Wilson, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Samson
Subs – Glasgow, Shankland, McDowall, Young, White, Aiden Wilson, Hewitt
Arbroath – Gaston, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Wheatley, Gold, McKenna, Murphy, Spence, Donnelly, Linn
Subs – Doris, Swankie, Kader, Stewart, Stirling, Campbell, Jamieson