PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot made it 4 wins on the bounce as they eased past Blantyre to record another 3 points away from home.
From the get go it was all Talbot and the Bot threatened in the 4th minute when Glasgow escaped Marshall down the left & slung a dangerous ball across the face of goal that went begging.
Three minutes later Talbot had another opportunity after Glasgow was shoved to the deck. Shankland took the free kick & curled a good delivery into the area that McCracken just failed to reach.
Talbot kept the pressure up & won a corner in the 10th minute when Boylan rolled the ball back into the path of Hyslop whose shot was deflected behind off Marshall’s head. Shankland fired the corner in low & Campbell made a hash of it – coming to claim it but letting the ball sail right through him – but fortunately for the home side a defender was on hand to clear.
The home side had another let off in the 20th minute. Boylan nicked in to rob Campbell of the ball when the keeper was hesitant & took it wide of him before sliding it across goal. His shot came off the base of the post & came out to Glasgow who slotted it home but was adjudged to have fouled Jones in front of goal.
Shankland came close to firing Talbot ahead in the 22nd minute. Boylan chested the ball down into his path & he fizzed a shot just over the bar from 20 yards.
The pressure was telling & Marshall had his name taken moments later when he impeded Boylan down the left wing. Shankland took the resultant free kick & fired it low into the centre where it broke back to Healy 18 yards out but he fired straight at the keeper.
Talbot’s persistence paid off in the 26th minute when they grabbed the opening goal. Wilson did well out on the left, charging forward before drilling it low across the face of goal where JAMIE GLASGOW stabbed it home from close range.
Blantyre huffed & puffed to no great effect without ever offering any real threat to the Bot defence with Talbot well in control of proceedings. They did win a few free kicks midway inside the Bot half but were unable to trouble the Talbot rearguard.
In the 41st minute Glasgow did well to win the ball out on the left & played it early up the line to Boylan who won a corner off Gibson. Shankland swept it into the near post where GARETH ARMSTRONG headed home to send Talbot in 2-0 ahead at the interval.
The 2nd half followed the same pattern as the 1st with Talbot doing the pressing.
In the 52nd minute Shankland chipped the ball through to find Aiden Wilson breaking into the box & Campbell blocked his fierce drive at his near post at the expense of a corner. When Shankland’s corner came over Campbell managed to punch it clear but the ball came back out to Shankland & when he crossed it back over it fell to BRYAN BOYLAN who slotted a low shot home to make it 3-0 to Talbot.
The Bot had a chance to extend their lead on the hour mark. Glasgow fed it down the left to find Healy racing free & he delivered it across the 6-yard area where Shankland met it but his 1st touch broke away from him & the chance was gone.
Talbot made a double substitution in the 66th minute with Glasgow & Boylan making way for Graham Wilson & Mason.
Two minutes after coming on both subs were involved when Aiden Wilson won the ball & played it down the line to find Mason in space. He placed a cross right on the head of Graham Wilson who was denied a goal by a tremendous stop from Campbell who managed to tip his header over the crossbar.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot made their final change when McDowall came on for Hyslop.
Talbot had shifted down a gear or two and for the 1st time in the match Blantyre threatened the Bot goal. In the 76th minute Kearney broke down the left after intercepting Stafford’s pass & fired a shot across goal and wide of the far post. Two minutes later Kearney raced onto a good cut back from the right & lashed a shot at goal that Leishman did well to turn behind.
That was it for the home side and Talbot ended the game ended the game strongly – pushing hard for a further goal in the closing stages. In the 84th minute Graham Wilson swept a great ball over from the left that Mason was inches from converting in the centre. Two minutes a ball over the top found Graham Wilson racing free on the left & he played it back to Shankland whose cross was glanced wide of goal by Mason.
Three points, three goals and a clean sheet for Talbot and in truth the margin of victory flattered the hosts. Next up for Talbot is a tough away day in the senior cup when they travel to face Irvine Meadow next Saturday.
Blantyre Victoria – Campbell, Jones, Allan, Gibson, Kerr, Marshall, Eeles, Fee, Hughes, Brennan, Kearney
Subs – Mackenzie, Cunningham, Whitley, McKeown, Garry Campbell, Archer, O’Donnell
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Craig McCracken, Healy, Armstrong, Hyslop, Glasgow, Boylan, Shankland
Subs – Mason, Graham Wilson, McDowall, Boyd, Lyle, Robbie McCracken
SPONSORED BY: THE WILLIE YOUNG LOYAL SUPPORTERS CLUB.
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.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
They who laugh last laugh longest and the Bot support had the last laugh in this thrilling derby encounter as the Bot came back from two goals adrift to clinch a win over Cumnock.
Talbot couldn’t really have made a worse start and Cumnock looked the more determined side, forcing a corner within a minute and shortly after Frye turning inside the box but firing well wide of goal.
Therefore it wasn’t really a shock when Cumnock took the lead in the 4th minute. The goal was a poor one to lose from Talbot’s point of view; initially conceding an unnecessary corner down the left & then being caught sleeping by the ball into the near post where FERRY nicked in to power a header home.
It took until the 10th minute before Talbot fashioned a chance. Mason squared the ball inside to find Glasgow in space just outside the area but he curled his shot well over the bar.
In the 16th minute Cumnock won a free kick in a good area after Stafford was penalised for a challenge on Martin. The free kick was swept into the centre where Leishman rose to punch it clear. Talbot now launched a swift counter-attack with Healy finding Wilson down the left & he in turn played it up to Glasgow. Talbot had a good penalty shout when Murdoch tugged the shirt off Glasgow inside the area but the officials waved play on and Talbot had to settle for a corner that came to nothing.
The home side came close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute. Conn latched onto a ball down the right and showed a clean pair of heels to McPherson & McCracken before cutting the ball back across goal where Osadolor ran onto it & steered a shot at goal that Leishman touched onto the bar and over.
One minute later Talbot conceded a dubious penalty following the intercession of the assistant ref. Glasgow jumped & blocked a cross from the right but it appeared to hit his arm just outside the area. Initially the referee gave nothing but following vociferous appeals from Cumnock & a consultation with his assistant he gave the penalty. FRYE took it and sent Leishman the wrong way to put Cumnock 2-0 ahead.
The 2nd goal spurred Cumnock on and they looked well in control & the more likely side to grab the next goal. In the 29th minute a diagonal pass found Martin wide on the left & he teed it up for Frye whose shot was blocked behind by the head of McPherson.
A defensive mix-up by Cumnock gifted Talbot a corner in the 34th minute. A misjudged back pass forcing Hughes to scramble the ball behind for the corner and when it came over Stafford glanced a header wide of target.
Cumnock were forced into a change in the 40th minute when Martin left the field following a facial injury to be replaced by Douglas.
Gradually Talbot began to exert some pressure and ended the half on the front foot. In the 42nd minute Glasgow won a free kick out on the left. He took the set piece & played it into the centre where Samson’s head flick on broke off a Nock defender and drifted wide of the far post.
In the closing minute of the half Healy did well out on the left to cut into the penalty area & float a cross over to the back post where Glasgow headed it against the left post.
The half ended with a traditional derby stramash with players from both sides jostling one another in the centre & when the dust settled the ref booked Frye and called the 1st half to a halt.
Talbot emerged unchanged for the 2nd half but with a greater sense of urgency than they’d shown in the 1st period. The Bot won a couple of free kicks in decent areas in the opening spell but failed to test the keeper on either occasion. Firstly, Mason fired into the wall from 30 yards out and then Glasgow’s free kick into the centre was met by McCracken but he glanced it wide of goal.
Tucker made what proved to be an inspired double switch in the 62nd minute with Boyd & Mason making way for Shankland & Boylan.
Glasgow was very unfortunate not to cut back Cumnock’s lead in the 64th minute when he struck a shot from 20 yards that had the keeper beatne but struck off the crossbar.
Cumnock hadn’t emerged from their defensive shell after the re-start but they had the Bot defence at full stretch in the 67th minute when Conn made a lung bursting run through the centre, leaving players in his wake, before finally being impeded by McCracken just outside the area; resulting in a booking for Talbot’s centre-half & a free kick in a dangerous area. McAusland took it but fired it straight into the wall.
The Talbot fightback commenced in the 70th minute. McCracken gathered the ball out on the right & delivered a superb cross right onto the head of KIER SAMSON who rose to nod it past Hughes from 6 yards out.
The goal rattled Cumnock as much as it energised Talbot & five minutes later it was all square. Shankland released Stafford on the overlap down the right & when he pulled it back across goal Hyslop was fouled as he went to hit it & the ref pointed to the spot for the 2nd time. MARK SHANKLAND took it & thumped it inside Hughes’ right hand post to level the match at 2-2.
Cumnock weren’t done yet though and their main threat was the pace of Conn. He burst forward in the 77th minute & managed to rush into the penalty area but was forced wide and could only steer a tame shot straight at Leishman who immediately bowled the ball out to set Talbot off on the counter. It came to Shankland who played it down the right channel for Stafford & he steered it over to the back post where BRYAN BOYLAN raced onto it to side-foot Talbot into the lead.
Talbot now made a further change with debutant Stafford making way for Lyle and Cumnock made a double switch with McGill on for Osador & Smith replacing Wilson.
Boylan had a half chance in the 83rd minute when a mishit clearance landed at his feet 16 yards out but he snatched at his shot & fired over the bar.
Cumnock now had to push forward in numbers and this left them vulnerable at the back & Talbot had a chance to kill the game off two minutes from time. Boylan swung over a good cross from the left that Glasgow met in front of goal but he couldn’t climb high enough to get above it & sent his header flying over the bar.
The Bot support had one final nervy moment in the closing minute when McAusland’s ball up the right found Douglas inside the area but he couldn’t hit the target from a tight angle; sending his shot into the side-netting.
Talbot then closed the game out well to secure the win to the delight of the large & noisy travelling support.
As wins go this was more enjoyable & dramatic than most & maintained Talbot’s excellent record at Townhead park. Next up Talbot are back on the road as they travel through to South Lanarkshire to face Blantyre Victoria.
Cumnock Juniors – Hughes, McAusland, Ferry, McIntyre, Murdoch, Wilson, Bell, Frye, Osadolor, Conn, Martin
Subs – McGill, Veitch, Smith, Douglas, Berry
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, McPherson, Wilson, Stafford, McCracken, Boyd, Healy, Hyslop, Samson, Glasgow, Mason
Subs – Shankland, Boylan, McDowall, Lyle, White, Pope, Hewitt
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot maintained their place at the pinnacle of the table after overpowering a stuffy Cumbernauld side.
The first goal threat of the afternoon came in the 5th minute when Hyslop met a corner from the left but glanced it well wide of target.
Three minutes later Cumbernauld won a free kick in a dangerous area just wide of the Bot penalty area. McCabe’s ball down the left was chased by Gormley & McPherson attempted to shield it out for the goal kick; however the forward managed to nick it & McPherson sent him tumbling. O’Hare floated it to the back post where Leishman gathered it in.
Cumbernauld’s keeper was called into action in the 11th minute when Glasgow latched onto a head flick from Hyslop. He let fly from 25 yards & McGee turned his shot over the crossbar.
The Bot had another chance in the 16th minute. Lyle’s ball up the right found Glasgow who turned McHaffie before dinking a cross into the centre which was met by Samson but he couldn’t get any power behind his header.
Talbot’s good spell continued with the Bot’s next chance coming in the 20th minute. Healy found Samson down the left & he whipped a cross into the centre that just eluded Glasgow. The ball came out to Mason on the right of the area & he took a touch before firing a half volley on target that McGee tipped over the bar.
McMahon was first into the book when the full-back was cautioned for a late challenge on Glasgow in the 32nd minute.
Talbot kept probing & tested the visiting defence from a set piece in the 36th minute when Mason’s corner from the right was driven into the near post where White was just beaten to it.
The half ended with Talbot on the front foot but unable to break down the Cumbernauld defence and teams went in goal less at the interval.
The 2nd half continued where the first had left off with Talbot doing the pressing and the visitors content to sit in and play for the draw but that all changed in the 55th minute when Talbot’s pressure paid off and they took the lead.
Healy got to the ball on the bye line down the right & angled a cross back to the near post where DWAYNE HYSLOP powered a header off the underside of the bar that bounced well behind the line before being hooked clear.
Just shy of the hour mark Talbot had a chance to double their advantage. Hyslop rose to nod the ball on into the path of Mason who scurried forward before drilling a shot wide of the right hand post.
In the 63rd minute McDevitt received a yellow card after he lost out to Samson & hauled him back just wide of the penalty area. Glasgow took the free kick & slid it back into the path of Mason whose shot was blocked. It came back out to Mason & he slipped a pass through to Glasgow who lifted it into the near post where Cameron put it behind for the corner.
Cumbernauld made a change in the 66th minute with Henderson coming on for Neil.
The Bot had a glorious chance to move further ahead in the 69th minute. McPherson flighted a ball down the centre that skipped past McDevitt leaving Samson in one on one with the keeper but the keeper came out on top.
Henderson became the 3rd United player in the book when he was cautioned in the 70th minute for a hefty challenge on Hyslop on the left. Talbot took the free kick quickly releasing Wilson into the area. His low ball across the face was cut out but came straight back to him & AIDEN WILSON lashed it into the far corner from a tight angle to put Talbot 2 ahead.
Cumbernauld’s discipline was crumbling & Hannaway had his name taken for dissent. United now made their 2nd change with McPherson making way for Sinclair.
In Talbot’s next attack they won a free kick out wide on the left, before it could be taken Tucker made a change with Shankland coming on for Mason. Shankland’s first involvement was floating the free kick onto the head of Samson who glanced his header over the bar.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot had another chance. Once again a ball down the centre deceived the visiting defence with the bounce of the ball beating McDevitt and finding Samson running through on goal; however Cameron reacted quickly to get across & make a timely challenge to put it behind for the corner.
It was one-way traffic and Talbot had a couple of decent openings within a minute. Firstly Shankland played a free kick back into the path of Boyd who fired wide of the left post from the edge of the area and then in Talbot’s next attack Glasgow got free on the left and cut it back to Healy in space at the back post. He tried to place it only to see his shot blocked by Cameron.
The goal was coming though and Talbot grabbed their 3rd of the afternoon in the 78th minute. Shankland lifted a cross over from the right beyond the far post where DWAYNE HYSLOP guided a header past McGee. The keeper clawed the ball out but it didn’t take VAR to see that it had crossed the line and Talbot moved 3-0 ahead.
Tucker now made a further change with Robbie McCracken coming on to replace Boyd.
Cumbernauld had offered precious little going forward and when they did have a chance at a consolation they squandered it. Lyle slipped allowing Sinclair onto it & he raced into the area before squaring it for Hannoway who fired a weak effort on target that Leishman blocked.
Glasgow picked up a caution in the 81st minute when he went down under Cameron’s challenge with the referee deciding he’d made the most of it.
Talbot made their final change with 5 minutes remaining when Craig McCracken replaced McPherson.
As the game moved into stoppage time Talbot had one final chance. Shankland’s corner from the right was cleared straight back out to him & he whipped in a cross that Glasgow met only to see his header well saved by McGee.
A frustrating 1st half for Talbot but the team stepped it up a gear to run out comfortable winners. Next up for Talbot it is derby day as the Bot make the short journey along the road to face Cumnock at Townhead.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Wilson, McPherson, White, Boyd, Healy, Hyslop, Samson, Mason, Glasgow
Subs – Shankland, Robbie McCracken, Boylan, Craig McCracken, Pope, Dumigan, Hewitt (gk)
Cumbernauld United – McGee, McMahon, McCabe, Cameron, McDevitt, McHaffie, McPherson, Neil, Gormley, Hannaway, O’Hare
Subs – Henderson, Sideserf, Sinclair, Zok, Wilson (gk)
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot saw their lead at the top of the table narrowed as they were held to a 1-1 draw in this midweek encounter with Beith.
Talbot started promisingly and stretched the Beith defence in the 2nd minute. Glasgow fed it out to Healy on the right & his ball into the near post had to be turned behind by Gray.
The first half was short on goal mouth incident of any kind and Beith’s best effort came in the 7th minute when they won a free kick 35 yards out. Hepburn’s shot deflected off the top of the wall & spun straight to McLean whose header had to be tipped over by Leishman.
The Bot had left their shooting boots in the dressing room; failing to test Burgess on those occasions when they had a sight of goal. Shankland squared it into the path of Healy 22 yards out and he blazed over and shortly after Shankland shot well wide from outside the area.
With chances in short supply, Talbot’s closest call of the 1st half came in the 31st minute. A Shankland free kick was played into the area where it was headed clear. It came back out to Shankland who clipped it over the defence to find McDowall running in behind down the right. He lobbed it over Burgess but his shot nestled on top of the net.
A defensive error by Beith gave Talbot a chance in the 38th minute. McMahon headed it back toward his own box where it skipped past McGoldrick. Samson raced onto it & knocked it wide of the advancing Burgess but took too heavy a touch and couldn’t retrieve it and the half meandered to a close with neither side offering any further threat to the opposing box.
The 2nd half started in similar vein with little happening at the sharp end though this changed in the 55th minute when the visitors took the lead. A ball over the defence found Fowler on the left of the penalty area & he took it round Leishman but not fancying the tight angle opted to cross it to the far post where it just eluded Watt. Talbot managed to bundle it behind for the corner and when the corner came over McPherson headed it behind. Unfortunately, the Bot defence then went to sleep & were caught cold when Beith took the corner quickly; rolling it back to Hepburn whose shot took a deflection & looped toward the back post where FOWLER met it to power a header home.
This was to be Fowler’s last involvement in the match as he was subbed soon after with McKay coming on in his place.
Talbot made a double substitution in the 65th minute with Shankland & McDowall making way for Mason & Hyslop.
The two subs were involved almost immediately; Mason holding the ball up down the left before teeing it up for Wilson whose inch perfect cross was met in the centre by Hyslop but untypically he glanced a free header wide of the left post.
Talbot drew level in the 69th minute. McKay was booked for obstructing Lyle as he burst forward; resulting in a free kick just outside the area. Mason lifted it beyond the far post where Hyslop met it to head it back across goal & JAMIE GLASGOW ran onto it to volley home.
McGoldrick was next in the book when he was cautioned in the 71st minute for clipping Glasgow’s heels midway inside the Beith half. Armstrong took the set piece & floated it out to the left where Hyslop again rose to head it across goal. This time it came to Healy but his header went straight at Burgess.
Beith hadn’t done much since taking the lead but they did have a half chance in the 72nd minute. McLean pounced on an error by Lyle & shot from 18 yards but his shot went straight at Leishman.
Talbot won another set piece in a good area in the 74th minute following a foul on Lyle. Armstrong swung a good cross over but everyone had darted to the near post & it sailed behind.
At the other end Beith came close in the 76th minute. Hepburn won a free kick out on the left that he crossed into the area. It was headed out but only as far as McKay who met it on the volley 16 yards out. His shot clipped the top of the bar, without seeming to go near any Bot players, but the ref awarded the corner kick.
Both sides had a go in the 79th minute; firstly Armstrong playing a one-two with Lyle that ended with Lyle on the right of the area trying to square it to find Samson but it was cut out & Beith swiftly countered with McLean gathering on the left before switching play out to the opposite wing to find McKay. He raced into the area but his ball into the near post was smothered by Leishman.
Talbot had another chance to test Beith from a set piece in the 83rd minute following a foul on Glasgow. Mason took it & fired it low into the area where it broke to White. He couldn’t get a shot away but the ball fell to Glasgow who lobbed it over the bar from a tight angle.
The Bot were finishing strongly and had another chance in the 86th minute. Armstrong surged forward before releasing the ball down the right to find Samson who turned his man inside the area & drilled a shot on target that Burgess parried away.
As the game moved into injury time Talbot had one last chance to snatch the win. Armstrong fed the ball up the right to Glasgow who beat his man before hitting a great cross to the back post where Hyslop just failed to connect with it.
Next up for Talbot it is a break from league duties as they face Montrose Roselea at Beechwood in the opening round of the Scottish Junior cup.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Wilson, McPherson, White, Armstrong, Healy, McDowall, Samson, Glasgow, Shankland
Subs – Robbie McCracken, Mason, Boyd, Hyslop, Hewitt
Beith – Burgess, Gray, Noble, McGoldrick, Docherty, Park, Watt, McMahon, McLean, Fowler, Hepburn
Subs – Duffy, McKay, Hood, Shield, Young, Winning
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot extended their lead at the top of the table thanks to a hard fought away win over a stuffy Glencairn side.
The Bot had an early opportunity after O’Byrne was penalised for a karate kick like challenge that resulted in a free kick 30 yards out. Shankland whipped it into the centre where Armstrong glanced a header wide of target.
The home side then threatened when a dangerous cross from the right had to be headed clear by White at the back post. The ball came out to the left of the area where Glencairn’s player saw his attempted shot blocked away by White.
The blustery conditions weren’t helping either side and little was happening in the final third.
Talbot did come close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when they won a corner down the right. Shankland drove the corner in low to the near post, where Armstrong got across his man to meet it but sent his shot just wide of the far post.
In the 25th minute Shankland was impeded down the left & took the free kick quickly to release Wilson on the overlap. He hit the bye line & cut a dangerous ball back across the face of goal but there were no takers in the centre.
A minute later Wilson won a corner down the left which Shankland played into the near post. O’Byrne clearly headed it over his own bar under pressure but the officials awarded the goal kick.
Talbot were doing well down the left & threatened again in the 31st minute when Wilson skipped past his man & drilled it into the near post; however Glencairn defended it well.
As the half drew to a close Glencairn had their best spell. White did well to head a cross from the right behind for a corner and when the corner came over Leishman was forced to touch it away behind for another corner. When this one came in Lone met it at the back post but couldn’t keep his header down and the sides went in level at the break.
Rutherglen made the early running in the 2nd half, Mitchell cutting in off the right, and firing on target but it went straight at Leishman.
The home side had another chance to test the Bot defence in the 51st minute when Shankland conceded a free kick wide on the right. The ball was crossed into the goal mouth where Leishman punched it clear.
Neither keeper had been over busy but McLellan produced a top save to prevent Talbot from taking the lead in the 54th minute. Shankland fed the ball to the overlapping Wilson & when he cut the ball back it broke into the path of Healy whose volley was brilliantly turned over the bar by the keeper.
Glasgow came within inches of putting Talbot ahead in the 63rd minute. The Bot won a free kick out on the right touchline for a foul on Armstrong & Samson rose to head on Shankland’s free kick. It fell to Glasgow on the left of the area & his right foot effort had the keeper well beaten but came back off the base of the left post.
McLellan got a lucky break in the 65th minute. A pass back to the keeper was a yard or two too short, allowing Samson to close him down and block his clearance. It could have went anywhere but unfortunately for Talbot it spun wide of goal.
Glencairn’s keeper was in action again in the 67th minute when he did well to prevent Shankland’s corner from the left creeping in under the bar; stretching to tip it away to safety.
Tucker now made a switch with McDowall on in place of Shankland.
McDowall was involved almost immediately. He gathered on the right & slid a diagonal pass to find Glasgow that was well cut out by the defence.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot made a further change with Hyslop replacing Healy.
Both sides had looked dangerous at set pieces and Talbot’s next effort at goal came from Glasgow’s corner on the left that White met at the near post & flicked just over the bar.
Glencairn’s most effective weapon was their long throw ins and it nearly paid off for them in the 82nd minute. A shy from the right was headed on at the near post and McIlveen hooked a shot just past Leishman’s right hand post.
Having survived this left off the Bot then swept down the other end and scored a fine goal to claim all 3 points. Glasgow played a neat one-two with JACK MCDOWALL who raced clear on the left before coolly passing the ball beyond the keeper into the bottom corner.
Glencairn then wheeled out their long throw specialist again to test the Bot defence. This time the shy was partially cleared and came to a Glencairn player at the edge of the area whose shot was blocked.
Action then switched to the other end when a Bot counter-attack saw Glasgow skin his man before whipping a cross over to the back post which just eluded the in rushing Armstrong.
Talbot held firm in the closing stages to see the game out for an impressive away win over a Glencairn side who were on a good run.
Next up, Talbot are back under the floodlights at Beechwood where they face Beith on Wednesday night.
Rutherglen Glencairn – McLellan, Shields, Schoneville, Coleman, O’Byrne, Leitch, McGuire, Wingate, McIlveen, Mitchell, Lone
Subs – Gormley, Pearson, Malcolm, Smith, Chrystal, Fraser, McGinley
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, White, Armstrong, Boyd, Healy, Shankland, Glasgow, Samson
Subs – Robbie McCracken, Hyslop, McDowall, Hastings, Hewitt
Talbot kept their place at the top of the table thanks to an impressive home win over Glenafton; with the final score not really reflecting Talbot’s dominance.
It wasn’t the ideal start for the Bot as Graham Wilson picked up an injury only 3 mins in with Kier Samson coming on in his place.
The Bot’s first chance came after 6 minutes. Shankland played a good ball in from the left toward the front post where Healy met it and flicked it over the bar.
A minute later Talbot had another half chance. Mason held the ball up well on the left before passing it back to White. He in turn squared it to Lyle who fired over from 18 yards.
Talbot’s next chance came following a free kick in the 11th minute. Shankland was tripped & Armstrong took the free kick quickly to release Shankland down the left. He whipped a cross over which Mason glanced wide of target.
Mason was involved again shortly after when a shy from the right found him inside the box & he showed good feet to create the space for a shot, before drilling it over the crossbar.
The Glens hadn’t really threatened but did give Talbot a scare in the 16th minute. McKee gathered on the left & hit a teasing cross into the centre. Leishman came for it but was beaten to it by McIlroy whose header sailed over.
Down the other end Talbot came close to opening the scoring with their next attack. The Bot won a corner down the right and Shankland delivered it to the far post where McDowall rose to meet it but his header flew just over Johnson’s bar.
Sherrie did well for the Glens in the 25th minute when he surged in off the right, skipping past a couple of challenges, to make his way into the box but then hit a weak finish straight at Leishman.
The opening goal came in the 29th minute and it was a cracker. Mason played a good ball down the right touchline to find McDowall & his ball across the face of goal was turned behind by Bennie. Shankland took the corner, and with everyone anticipating a cross, he pulled it back to AARON MASON who ran onto it at the right edge of the box & thundered an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
In keeping with the general standard of officiating the referee made an absolute howler in the 31st minute when he somehow awarded the Glens a corner after McKee had ballooned the ball over the bar with nary a Talbot player in sight.
A minute later Johnson prevented Talbot from extending their lead. Samson met a ball up the left & flicked it on into the path of Shankland who stepped inside Marlow’s challenge & powered a shot on target that Johnson parried wide of his right post.
The Glens keeper was called into action again in the 35th minute. Armstrong swung a cross over from the right touchline to find Shankland at the back post and his header back across was tipped over the bar.
The Bot put together a slick move in the 41st minute – quick one-touch football – which ended with Shankland laying the ball off to Mason on the right of the area but he pulled his shot wide of target.
A minute before the interval McPherson’s header bamboozled the Glens defence as it bounced past Bennie & Samson would’ve been in on goal but for Johnson reading the situation & racing out to gather.
The half drew to a close with another questionable call from the officials who again awarded the Glens a corner for nothing after McKee shot over but the Bot defended it to go in a goal to the good.
The visitors made a change at half-time with Fisher on to replace Bennie in defence.
Talbot made a strong start to the half and it looked as though Mason was through on goal after he got the better of Cairns but the referee gave the Glens defender the benefit of the doubt and awarded them a soft free kick.
Slack play from Marlow gifted Talbot a chance in the 50th minute. His pass from right-back was easily intercepted outside the area by Healy & he threaded it through to Samson whose shot was blocked by Fisher.
The Bot made their pressure count and doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute. Armstrong picked up on the left of midfield & played it down the left channel to KIER SAMSON who raced into the area & slid it past Johnson at his right hand post.
Within a minute Talbot nearly added to their lead. Armstrong’s slide rule pass found McDowall inside the area & Johnson dived at his feet to put it behind for the corner. When the corner came over Samson got his head on it and his header was cleared off the line inside the left post.
McDowall was next to threaten for Talbot when he burst in off the right & hammered a shot at goal that was deflected behind for a corner. The Glens defence were again caught out when Shankland opted to pull the corner back to the angle of the box but Healy got under it and lifted his shot well over.
The Glens were now forced to sub their sub with Fisher limping off to be replaced by Ryan and McIlroy moving back to fill in at centre half.
Talbot made their first change in the 67th minute with Boyd on in place of McDowall.
Glenafton had been bit part players for most of the night and were feeding off scraps. They did have a chance of sorts in the 72nd minute courtesy of a long throw in from the right which came to McKee but he sent his header wide.
The clock ticked on without the Glens looking like scoring and with 8 minutes remaining Tucker made a further change with Hyslop making his first appearance in a long while when he replaced Mason.
In the closing stages Shankland had a chance to get on the score sheet when Samson’s pass found him inside the area. He jinked inside his man but wanted a fraction too long to get his shot away & his effort was blocked.
As the game moved into injury time the Glens had a late chance at a consolation. Talbot gave the ball away inside their own half & it was played down the right channel to find Ryan who raced down the right edge of the area before firing across goal & wide of the far post.
A good win, in front of a big crowd, and next up Talbot are back on the road when they travel through to face Rutherglen Glencairn this Saturday.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, White, Armstrong, McDowall, Healy, Graham Wilson, Shankland, Mason
Subs – Boyd, Samson, Robbie McCracken, Hyslop, Hewitt
Glenafton Athletic – Johnson, Marlow, Cairns, Bennie, Curtis, Pettigrew, McKee, Gilmour, McIlroy, Miller, Sherrie
Subs – Ryan, Fisher, Thomson
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MATCH REPORT BY JUMBO
Talbot moved to the top of the league after 2-0 win over Bonnyton Thistle at the Synergy Arena, however it was an uninspiring win which was mostly down to the Thistle’s game plan which worked well as Talbot huffed and puffed to break them down.
The game was only two minutes started when Samson broke away down the right wing and as his low cross headed across the box it deflected off the leg of a defender and crashed off the cross bar before being cleared. Minutes later Graham Wilson got clear of the defence down the left wing and as his pass across the goalmouth looked like landing on the foot of Samson, goalkeeper Cousar made a fearless block to clear the danger.
After their narrow escapes the home side tightened up at the back and it took until the 17th minute till Talbot fashioned a chance when Graham Wilson had a shot blocked resulting in a corner. Wilson was involved again moments later when he threaded a dangerous ball through the defence to Mason but the youngster was unlucky not to reach it. On 25 minutes Jack McDowall found himself with a scoring chance but he sliced the ball well past the post.
Talbot took the lead on the 29th minute when a Mason corner looked like being headed into the net by Aiden Wilson but the ball seemed to roll down his body and land at the feet of Steven White who passed it through a sea of legs and into the net. On the 34th minute Graham Wilson pounced on a loose back pass, squared it to Armstrong and his shot was well saved by Cousar.
Talbot upped the ante in the remaining minutes of the first half when Cousar had to have two attempts the hold a low hit Mason free kick, while Graham Wilson blasted a good chance over the bar.
Bonnyton should have been level on 51 minutes when Dean started and finished a great move but his shot into the bottom right corner was tipped around the post by Leishman. On 55 minutes Shankland and Boylan replaced Mason and Graham Wilson. However Boylan’s stint was short lived when trying to clear a ball he crumpled to the ground holding his groin and was instantly replaced by Robbie McCracken.
On the 65th minute Samson was unlucky not to score when he guided a Shankland cross net bound but the keeper got a hand to it to turn it round the post. On the 75th minute Talbot doubled their lead when a Shankland corner was missed by the keeper leaving Samson to head into an empty net.
With six minutes remaining Cousar redeemed himself after Shankland found Samson and after leaving the defence in his wake his goal bound shot was brilliantly stopped by the outstretched hand of the keeper.
The game wound down after this with the players and supporters glad to get out of the torrential rain, Talbot had the points in the bag and although not setting the heather on fire they definitely deserved them.
MURRAY’S MATCH REPORT
Talbot moved joint top of the league table after this hard fought win over Largs – in the first match to be played under floodlights at Beechwood.
The Talbot line-up had a slightly unfamiliar look to it with Armstrong partnering McPherson at the back in the absence of Craig McCracken.
It was the visitors who settled first and they squandered a decent chance early on. A Largs free kick was flicked on into the path of William Sewell sending him through on the out-rushing Leishman. He lifted it round Leishman but McPherson recovered to get back & make the clearance.
Largs had another chance in the 5th minute when a ball down the right found William Sewell & he drilled a low shot that Leishman held at his near post.
Talbot’s first real threat came after 10 minutes. Leishman found Shankland on the right & he released McCracken down the wing. He whipped a great low ball across goal between the defence & keeper but there was no one there to tap it in.
Shankland came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute. McPherson flighted a free kick out to the left where Graham Wilson headed it down to Boylan. He teed it up for Shankland & McGowan did well to tip his shot over the bar.
The keeper did well again moments later when he punched Shankland’s corner clear just before Graham Wilson could get on the end of it.
The Bot were having a good spell and Graham Wilson came close after 17 minutes when he gathered outside the box and sent a left foot shot just wide of McGowan’s right post.
Talbot’s next attack saw the Bot countering through Shankland whose diagonal pass found Boylan racing clear on the left. He cut into the heart of the penalty area but didn’t catch his shot cleanly from 12 yards and it ended up a comfortable save for McGowan.
Largs keeper was having a good night and he was quickly off his line to thwart Talbot’s next move. Armstrong’s diagonal ball out of defence arrowed towards Boylan as he raced in behind the defence but McGowan read it & just got there first to punch the ball to safety.
Thistle had a half chance in the 26th minute from a corner. George Sewell got his head to it but he was coming away from goal & sent his header well over.
With half an hour gone Talbot again tested the visiting keeper. Leishman launched it up field where Graham Wilson rose to challenge for it. The ball broke into the path of Shankland 20 yards out & he forced a good stop from McGowan who dived to turn his shot round his right post. Once again Shankland whipped a dangerous corner into the goalmouth but McGowan was again equal to the challenge & punched clear under pressure.
Talbot’s next opportunity came from a corner. Armstrong meeting Shankland’s corner at the near post where he glanced it narrowly over the bar.
Boylan was next to test the keeper when he raced onto Graham Wilson’s header down the right side of the penalty area & hit it 1st time only to see McGowan parry it away.
Largs forward William Sewell got a sore one in the 34th minute when he closed down Leishman as he went to make a clearance & caught the clearance full on the face but he was able to continue after receiving treatment.
McGowan was having a good night & it was going to take something special to break the deadlock and Shankland duly supplied it a minute before the interval. MARK SHANKLAND latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and sent a screamer flying into McGowan’s top left hand corner to send Talbot in 1-0 ahead at the break.
Talbot started the 2nd half quite lively and won a free kick just outside the penalty area when Aiden Wilson’s pass found Graham Wilson down the left & he was bowled over by Love. Shankland took it & crossed it over beyond the back post but got too much on it & it went for the goal kick.
In the 52nd minute Shankland hit a superbly weighted cross field pass to pick out Boylan down the right. He raced into the penalty area and had Graham Wilson waiting in front of goal but he didn’t get his final ball right allowing the keeper to smother it at his near post.
A few minutes later Healy played the ball up the left channel to Boylan who laid it inside first time for the run of Shankland but George Sewell beat him to it to fire it behind for the corner.
Around the hour mark William Sewell won Largs a corner down the right. Before it could be taken Talbot made a substitution with McDowall coming on for McCracken. When the corner came over KEIR MILLIKEN got on the end of it to head towards goal. Leishman saved it and Milliken followed up to stab the rebound for goal. Healy appeared to clear it off the goal line but after a short delay the stand side assistant signalled it had crossed the line and the ref awarded the goal.
Healy had his name taken in the 66th minute for a late challenge.
The loss of the goal had unsettled Talbot and McBryde was allowed plenty of time & space in the 68th minute to pick out his cross; forcing Leishman to come out and punch clear.
The referee was turning card happy and booked Graham Wilson in the 70th minute for an innocuous aerial challenge.
Tucker now made a double substitution with Boylan & Boyd making way for Glasgow & Samson.
Talbot regained the lead in the 76th minute. Love made a mess of a clearance, hitting it straight at Shankland, and fortunately for Talbot the ball broke straight to the feet of KIER SAMSON who slotted it past the keeper.
The Bot were then guilty of sloppy play a minute after scoring. Glasgow lost the ball 25 yards out and Ballantyne fired just wide of the right hand post.
Largs now made a double switch with McBryde & McMaster making way for McGinty & Adam.
In the 82nd minute Talbot had a wobbly moment when defending a Largs free kick from wide. It went beyond the back post where Adam steered it back toward goal and Leishman blocked & cleared before Sewell could get to it.
Ballantyne then picked up a caution for a foul on Graham Wilson.
Graham Wilson was unlucky with 5 minutes remaining when he met it on the volley. His effort was heading on target but was deflected wide and two minutes later he came close again when he darted in off the right & sent a left foot shot narrowly wide of McGowan’s left post.
With 2 minutes remaining Talbot threatened again; this time via Samson, who sped clear on the right before firing it across the face of goal where Ballantyne deflected it behind.
In the final minute, Armstrong received a yellow card for a professional foul. The free kick was lobbed up the centre where Leishman rushed out to punch clear. It came to Adam outside the area but he was closed down before he could hit it.
As the game moved into injury time Talbot found themselves a man down. Glasgow caught George Sewell late with a mistimed challenge. A booking would have sufficed but the ref produced a straight red and also managed to book Shankland for dissent. It was too late though for Largs to take advantage of the extra man and Talbot held out for the win.
Next up for Talbot are new opponents as the Bot travel to Kilmarnock to face Bonnyton in the league.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Armstrong, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Robbie McCracken, Boyd, Healy, Graham Wilson, Shankland, Boylan
Subs – Glasgow, Samson, Mason, McDowall, Pope, White, Hewitt (gk)
Largs Thistle – McGowan, George Sewell, Ballantyne, Hughes, Love, Faulds, Docherty, McBryde, Milliken, William Sewell, McMaster
Subs – Adam, McGinty, McPhee, Lindsay, Farrell (gk)