Auchinleck Talbot v West Calder United


Talbot made a number of changes to their starting line-up but still ran out comfortable winners in this South Challenge cup tie.

The first chance of the afternoon came in the 5th minute when Samson’s cross from the right was met beyond the back post by Hyslop who steered a half-volley over the bar.

Ten minutes in and the referee produced the first card of the afternoon when cautioned Baird for a late challenge on Hyslop.

A minute later Talbot had the first effort on target. Craig McCracken’s long pass found Samson on the left & he controlled it before turning his man & drilling a shot at goal from 20 yards that flew straight at McDougall.

The Bot took the lead in the 14th minute & it was a cracking goal. Hyslop found Robbie McCracken in space down the right & he carried it forward before feeding it on to Glasgow. He rolled the ball back into the path of JACK MCDOWALL who hammered a right foot drive inside the right post with the keeper spectating.

In the 22nd minute Talbot opened up the visiting defence when Wilson found Samson on the left and his ball across the face of goal fell just behind Glasgow as he raced in to tap it home.

Shanks became the 2nd West Calder player in the book when he was cautioned for dissent after 28 minutes.

Talbot appeared on easy street but a defensive fubar gifted West Calder an unlikely equaliser in the 31st minute. A high crossfield ball from the right saw ROBBIE MCCRACKEN try to head it back but with Leishman stranded off his line the header sailed inside the right post to level the score.

Two minutes later only a great stop from Leishman prevented West Calder from taking the lead. A ball in from the right found Shanks inside the area & he turned smartly before firing a shot which Leishman stretched low to his left to turn round the post.

After this wobble Talbot were back on the attack and the lead was restored in the 36th minute. Boyd retrieved an over-hit cross and teed it up for Aiden Wilson. His low drive was blocked by McDougall but KIER SAMSON was on hand to lash the rebound into the roof of the net to put Talbot 2-1 ahead.

Two minutes later Talbot added a third. AARON MASON met a ball in from the left to steer it into the far corner to make it 3-1.

Three minutes before the interval Talbot came within a whisker of grabbing their fourth. Mason got away on the right but pulled his shot across the face of goal. Boyd retrieved it on the far side & passed to Wilson whose ball across goal was met by Mason who struck it against the base of the right hand post. Talbot kept pressing but the visitors held out without conceding any further goals.

The 2nd half got off to a fairly slow start with neither side offering much of a threat. The first real opportunity came the way of West Calder in the 56th minute when Craig McCracken conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area resulting in a booking for Talbot’s centre-half. Shanks too it but his shot hit a Bot player and went behind for the corner.

Talbot then turned defence into attack as they broke away on the counter from the corner through Mason who was up-ended by Gillespie who was booked for his challenge. Mason took the resultant free kick and swept a good ball in from the right which McDowall headed just past the left post.

The game was over as a contest on the hour mark when Talbot got their fourth of the afternoon. WILLIE BOYD cut in off the left wing & passed it toward goal where it trundled past the keeper with the aid of a slight deflection off Livingstone.

Tucker now made a change with Shankland coming on for Glasgow.

In the 61st minute Talbot won a penalty and the visitors were reduced to ten men. Mason got free down the right & his ball across goal was blocked by the arm of Gillespie. He’d already been booked so made the short walk to the clubhouse after his 2nd yellow and AARON MASON gave the keeper no chance from the spot – burying his penalty inside the right post to make it 5-1 to Talbot.

Mason nearly had his hat-trick in the 65th minute. Boyd came in on off the left & curled over a right foot cross that Mason glanced off the left hand post.

Two minutes later Talbot did move further ahead. A deep cross found Craig McCracken beyond the far post and he headed it back across goal where KIER SAMSON ran onto it to nod home from close range.

The scoring was completed in the 69th minute. Shankland delivered an inch perfect cross from the left and DWAYNE HYSLOP guided a header back across goal and inside the right post to put Talbot 7-1 ahead.

In the 74th minute Talbot made their 2nd change with Healy on in midfield in place of Boyd.

Talbot had a chance soon after to extend their lead when Samson raced away on the right before laying it inside to Mason. He touched it on to McDowall whose shot flew across goal and wide of the right post.

With 10 minutes remaining Talbot made their final change with McDowall making way for White.

In the closing minutes Talbot came close on two occasions. Firstly, Shankland met Wilson’s cross only to see his header come back off the crossbar and a minute later a short corner from the right saw Robbie McCracken cross it into the centre where Healy directed a free header over the bar.

A convincing win for Talbot who will face a totally different challenge next Saturday when they host Hamilton Accies in the senior cup.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Robbie McCracken, Wilson, Armstrong, Craig McCracken, McDowall, Boyd, Hyslop, Samson, Mason, Glasgow

Subs – Boylan, Shankland, Healy, Lyle, White, Hewitt

West Calder United – McDougall, Gillespie, Wilson, Shanks, Taylor, Livingstone, Baird, Easton, Macauley, Fallon, Stevenson

Subs – Hay, Johnston, Kennedy, Miller, Wilkins


Dwayne Hyslop stands his ground and keeps hold of the ball.


West Calder win a free-kick but show their frustration, as they feel the referee could have played on.


The danger gets cleared, as ‘Pee-wee’ wins the aerial battle.


A fight for the ball just outside the West Calder box.


BREAKTHROUGH!!! Talbot open the scoring via a thunderbolt from Jack McDowell outside the box, which leaves the ‘keeper rooted to the spot. 1-0.


Samson gets stopped in his tracks, as he was racing in on goal.


Aaron Mason tries to get to the ball before it gets cleared by the defender.


Both benches closely watch the action, as Glasgow battles for possession.


CALDER PULL LEVEL!!! The ball hits the back of the net after a wayward header from Talbot. 1-1.


Care to tell us what was funny, Dwayne?


GOAL!!! Talbot regain the lead, as the ball falls kindly at the feet of Samson who smashes the ball home from close range. 2-1.


It’s ‘high fives’ for Talbot but devastation for the opposition.


Blink and you’ll miss it! Talbot make it three in double quick time, as Mason manages to loop the ball past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net. 3-1.


It sure feels good scoring for the ‘Bot…eh Aaron!


SO CLOSE!!! Aaron Mason finds space right in front of goal but he can only watch the ball hit the post instead.


Samson goes for the spectacular but is deemed to be offside.


Keir Samson gets stopped by a great tackle from the Calder defender.


McDowell releases the ball just in time.


TALBOT MAKE IT FOUR!!! Wullie Boyd finds the back of the net after seeing the ball take a deflection off the defender. 4-1.


Robbie McCracken is certainly all smiles after Boyd’s goal.


RED CARD!!! West Calder are reduced to ten men and Talbot are awarded a penalty, after a handball inside the box.


Captions on a postcard please folks!


SPOT ON FOR TALBOT!!! Aaron finds the back of the net, as he fires the ball home from the spot. 5-1.


Samson thinks what could have been after being flagged for offside.


Mason hits the woodwork again with this looping header.


Keir gets double teamed, as it takes two players to stop his run.


Craig McCracken pops up at the back post and heads the ball back across for…


…Samson to calmly nod the ball home into an empty net for Talbot’s sixth. 6-1.


The scoring is rounded off by ‘Pee-wee’ who heads the ball home from the six yard line. 7-1.


Aiden Wilson gets the ball taken off him via a great tackle.


The old maestro shows he’s still got it, as ‘Whitey’ has a dig at goal from distance.


WOODWORK AGAIN!!! Talbot hit the crossbar via a looping header from ‘Shankers’.


CLOSE!!! Healy goes agonisingly close to scoring but his header goes wide of the post.


Kieran Healy gets brought down, as he goes on a great run down the middle of the park.


These young Talbot fans were certainly left with smiles on their faces after seeing a good win for the boys in Black and Gold.


Auchinleck Talbot v Forth Wanderers

Kieran Healy can only watch, as Forth clear their lines.


HOW’S THAT NOT A GOAL!!! Forth go unbelievably close to taking the lead with a shot right in front of goal but Andy Leishman pulls off a great save and keeps the score level.


Forth know just how big a chance that was.


‘Shankers’ goes chasing, while Aaron Mason does his best to win the 50/50 challenge.


McDowell, Mason and Wilson are all set to pounce onto the end of the cross but the front defender gets there first to clear the danger.


CHANCE!!! Mark Shankland finds himself with space inside the box but his header fails to find the back of the net.


A last ditch block from McPherson prevents Forth from scoring.


Mason fights for possession, as some of the Talbot faithful closely watch the action.


Forth try their luck with a long range effort but fail to hit the back of the net.


Neil McPherson dishes out the orders, as Aiden Wilson tries to go on the attack.


Mark makes sure he blocks the way through for Forth.


Armstrong makes sure Talbot keep hold of the ball.


‘Shankers’ tries to muscle his way past his opponent and get to the ball.


The Forth players roar out the orders as they wait for the Talbot free-kick to be put in.


BREAKTHROUGH!!! Talbot eventually find the back of the net, as McCracken hits the target with a close range header. 1-0.


Craig wheels away to celebrate, Forth look dejected and the young Talbot fan at the back punches the air to celebrate too.


An early second half chance for Talbot but Graham’s header goes wide of the post.


Jack McDowell stays strong in order to try and win the ball back.


Erm…I think giving yourself a wedgie for missing a great chance is a bit too much.


The Talbot bench watch closely, as Wullie Lyle fires the ball down the wing.


Samson comes under pressure, as Forth fight for possession.


RED CARD!!! A stern looking McPherson takes an early bath, as he is sent off after receiving a second booking.


The Talbot wall stands tall, as they block the way through for this Forth free-kick.


Lyle does his best to keep his team-mates motivated, as Talbot try to see out the win.



Talbot made hard work of it but ground out a narrow win over Forth in the South Challenge cup.

The Bot had an early chance in the 4th minute when Graham Wilson’s shot from 15 yards was saved by McPhee’s legs.

Talbot were seeing a lot of the ball, with Forth content to sit in, and it was paying off as Talbot were struggling to make any headway in the final third.

In the 12th minute Stevenson headed a cross behind and when Mason’s corner came over from the right Shankland met it but sent his header over the bar.

Talbot were given a fright in the 13th minute when Lafferty slid a pass through to find Henderson inside the area. He cut in off the left and went for goal but McPherson got across to block his shot.

In the 23rd minute Aiden Wilson worked a one-two with McDowall down the left and he raced to the bye line and tried to cut it back to the waiting Shankland but there wasn’t enough on it & the defence intercepted.

Aiden Wilson swung a good across the face of goal in the 26th minute but no Bot players got near it.

Talbot scored the game’s only goal in the 31st minute. The Bot won a free kick out on the left which Shankland swung into the centre where CRAIG MCCRACKEN headed home from close range.

Two minutes later Talbot had a chance to double their lead. Shankland cut inside onto his right foot and sent a low drive just wide of McPhee’s right post from the edge of the area.

The Bot had another half chance a minute later. Aiden Wilson pinged over a cross that Donnelly headed clear. It came out to Lyle who crossed it onto the head of Shankland who guided a header wide of the left post.

The visitors had the ball in the net in the 39th minute but it was rightly chalked off for offside and that was pretty much it for the 1st half.

Talbot have had a habit of improving after the interval but this cup tie proved the exception to the rule with the 2nd half being as poor a 45 minutes as will have been seen at Beechwood in a long while.

McPherson picked up a caution in the 55th minute for holding and a minute later Shankland joined him in the book for an aerial challenge.

Around the hour mark Tucker made a double switch with Armstrong & Mason going off to be replaced by Boyd & Boylan.

There was really only one near thing in the whole 2nd half and it came in the 62nd minute for the visitors. A corner from the right was headed toward goal and Graham Wilson had to clear it from the goal mouth.

The closest Talbot came to adding to their lead was in the 72nd minute. Shankland fed it wide right to Healy and when his ball came across goal McQuarrie bundled it just wide of his own goal.

Talbot made another change with quarter of an hour left when Samson came on for Shankland.

The Bot had to see the last 10 minutes out a man down. A ball over the top saw McPherson bring down Stewart and he was shown a 2nd yellow and was off to the clubhouse. Forth had a free kick just outside the penalty area but it was drilled straight into the wall.

In the closing stages McDonald picked up a caution for a cynical foul on Graham Wilson then Donnelly joined him in the bad books for a late tackle on Healy.

The game trundled on to its conclusion with neither keeper actually required to make a save in the 2nd half.

Not a game to live long in the memory and Talbot will be hoping to raise it a gear or two next week when they travel through to East Lothian to face Preston Athletic in the William Hill Scottish cup.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Craig McCracken, Armstrong, Healy, McDowall, Graham Wilson, Shankland, Mason

Subs – Boylan, Samson, Hyslop, Boyd, Robbie McCracken, Stafford, Hewitt

Forth Wanderers – McPhee, Cassidy, Brown, McQuarrie, Donnelly, Cookman, McDonald, Lafferty, Stevenson, Henderson, Savarese

Subs – Hutchison, Murray, McLaughlin, Fullarton, Stewart, J McDonald, Banks

Chris Stafford


Chris is currently on loan from Greenock Morton FC until the end of the season. He started his career at Johnstone Boys Club before moving to Morton. He recently had loan spells at Johnstone Burgh and Cumnock.

Own Goal

Aaron Mason



SIGNED: July 2021


Willie Boyd


DOB:  04/10/1984

This will be Willie’s second spell at Talbot after leaving us in 2016 due to work commitments down in England. He was a regular in the Talbot side winning a few medals including a Scottish Cup badge. When down in the Preston area he frequently turned out for Lostock St Gerards FC in the Lancashire Premier League.

Robbie McCracken


POSITION: Defender

JOINED TALBOT: September 2020

D.O.B: tba


Robbie is a former St Mirren and Kilmarnock youth player who can play at right back or centre of defence.

Gordon Pope


POSITION: Defender


D.O.B: 02/04/1989


BIO: Gordon was picked up by Dundee United  in 2006 when playing local youth football. Although never playing first team football with the “Terrors” he did play senior when he joined Montrose in 2009,  but two years later decided to play local where he signed for Talbot. He joined Ayr United in 2013 for a season where he played 32 times and scoring once. He returned to Talbot in 2014 where he is a regular at left back.

Aiden Wilson


POSITION: Defender


D.O.B: 05/01/1999


Bio: Aiden played youth and development football with Kilmarnock before moving to Edusport. He played in the Lowland League with Caley Braves before joining Talbot in 2019


Kieran Healy


POSITION: Midfield


D.O.B: 24/11/1994


Bio: Signed from Renfrew FC in 2019 where he was team captain at the time.  He came through the ranks of the Renfrew youth system before moving to the Juniors.