Talbot ended the season in style, beating Renfrew 5-2 to add the Evening Times cup to their list of silverware for the season.
Prior to kick off Talbot were presented with the league trophy and then it was down to business.
It was immediately apparent both sides had come to have a go and within the first few minutes Love lifted a shot over the bar at one end before Zok did likewise down the other.
The 1st close call came in the 8th minute. Young met a ball in behind the Frew defence & laid it out 1st time to Milliken on the left. He thumped a shot at goal that had Baird beaten but struck his right hand post.
The game continued to flow from end to end and Renfrew had a decent chance in the 21st minute. McDaid picked the ball up in the centre & switched it out left to find Jones at the edge of the area. He fired on target but Leishman held it at his near post.
Seconds later Milliken had a glorious chance to put Talbot ahead. The Renfrew defence failed to cut out a ball through the middle & it came straight through to Milliken. He only had Baird to beat but the keeper stood his ground & saved with his legs when Milky tried to prod it past him.
Talbot took the lead in the 24th minute. Young surged through the centre of midfield & sent it out wide right to find SHANKLAND who carried on into the box before drilling a shot past Baird.
The Bot were controlling the game but unable to add to their lead & almost paid for it in the 35th minute. Boyd cleared McDaid’s cross into the centre to the edge of the area where it broke away from McGoldrick allowing O’Keefe the chance & he sent a low drive just past Leishman’s right post.
The game continued to ebb & flow in the latter stages of the half though neither keeper was tested.
Benton had his name taken in the 44th minute for a trip on Boyd and the half ended with Talbot taking a 1-0 lead in at the interval.
Talbot made a strong start to the 2nd half and came close to a 2nd goal in the 46th minute. McGoldrick carried it out from the back before releasing a pass down the left to find Young. He fired a shot across goal that sailed just past the left post with the aid of a slight deflection. When Shankland’s corner came over the defence failed to cut it out & the ball made its way to the back post where LOVE prodded it home from close range to double Talbot’s lead.
It looked as though Talbot were well in control but Renfrew had other ideas and it was game on again when they pulled one back in the 51st minute. Benton did the damage, cutting in past Pope & powering the ball across goal, and although Leishman got a hand to it to keep his effort out, ZOK was in the right place to hook it home from close range at the back post.
Renfrew now made a substitution with Nisanci coming on in place of McDaid.
Hyslop picked up a caution in the 54th minute for a foul on Forbes and a minute later Talbot had a let off when Benton gathered the ball out on the left & curled a shot at goal that beat Leishman but clipped off the top of the bar.
Renfrew capitalised on their good spell & levelled the score in the 58th minute. Benton ran into space down the left wing before releasing the ball inside to JONES and he coolly slotted it past Leishman to make it 2-2.
Talbot responded and were unlucky on the hour mark when Young split the defence with a pass to send Milliken through but Baird came to his side’s rescue, racing out to the edge of the area to beat him to it.
Three minutes later Baird produced a wonder stop to keep Renfrew level. Young did well outside the penalty area, skipping past a couple of challenges before sliding it out to Shankland on the left. He cut inside onto his right foot & drilled a shot inside the near post that the Bot support all had counted, but somehow Baird made the stop to his right & when the ball spun high inside the 6-yard box it didn’t fall for Love & the defence managed to clear.
It was then Talbot’s chance to have a narrow escape. O’Keefe sped free down the left & squared it for Zok who ought to have scored from 4 yards out but hit Leishman with his shot.
It was anybody’s game at this stage but just when they needed it Talbot found an extra gear. The Bot regained the lead in the 70th minute when Hyslop met a ball through the centre & glanced a header to his right to pick out YOUNG who placed it inside Baird’s left post to make it 3-2.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot hit the woodwork for the 2nd time. Boyd won a corner down the right and when it came over McGoldrick’s header bounced off the turf & up onto the top of the bar before going over.
Renfrew weren’t done though & they nearly levelled again in the 80th minute. Shankland’s pass to Love was intercepted & Jones raced away down the left before whipping a dangerous cross into the centre where Pope succeeded in beating Zok to the ball to turn it behind for a corner.
Talbot restored their two goal cushion, and effectively ended Renfrew’s hopes, with a 4th in the 82nd minute. Milliken did well out on the right, holding the ball up, before releasing it to the overlapping Boyd. He cut it back to LOVE who tucked it away into the opposite corner.
Talbot wasted a chance to extend their lead a few minutes later. Milliken turned smartly away from Heffron to race through down the left. He had Love free on the 6-yard line for a tap in but his final ball was just a bit short.
Both sides now made changes with MacDonald replacing Forbes for Renfrew & Findlay coming on for Love.
The scoring was completed in the 86th minute. Young lifted a ball down the right where Milliken outpaced Ramsay before cutting the ball back for HYSLOP who passed the ball just inside the left post.
Renfrew kept going & were denied a late consolation when Benton surged clear on the right of the area and smashed a great strike across goal which produced an equally impressive save from Leishman.
Renfrew completed their substitutions in the final minute when Campbell came on for Ramsay.
As the game moved into injury time Talbot came within a whisker of adding to their tally. Shankland pulled a corner back out to Boyd and his shot was blocked by the arm of Campbell, resulting in a free kick 20 yards out & a caution for the substitute. Shankland took it & very nearly got his 2nd as his low drive flew wide of the wall & just past the left post.
This was a fitting end to the season and the fans at Newlandsfield certainly got their money’s worth with Talbot worthy winners in the end.
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McGoldrick, White, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, Love, Shankland, Milliken
Subs – Findlay, G Wilson, S Johnstone
Renfrew – Baird, Mulgrew, Gordon, Heffron, Ramsay, Forbes, McDaid, Benton, Zok, Jones, O’Keefe
Subs – Nisanci, MacDonald, Nicholson, Cameron, Campbell
Talbot completed a clean sweep of victories over old foes Cumnock, defeating them for the 4th time this season to book their place in the Evening Times cup final.
The Talbot ranks were depleted by injury & the defence had a makeshift look about it with Lyle partnering White in the centre of defence, Boyd filling in at right-back & the management team doubling as substitutes.
Despite this, Talbot got off to a strong start & nearly took the lead after 4 minutes. Pope fired a free kick from his own half into the Cumnock box which Hyslop headed down into the path of Shankland whose shot just cleared the crossbar.
Ronald looked Cumnock’s main threat, and he provided Malone with a chance in the 9th minute when he got round the outside of Pope & fired a low cross into the near post which Malone flicked on target, only for Leishman to produce a fine save to deny him.
Cumnock made an early change, bringing on Scott in place of McKenzie after 17 minutes.
Johnson was called into action in the 19th minute after Love fed the ball back to Young on the right & his cross to the back post had to be punched clear by the Nock keeper.
Milliken came close a few minutes later when he out-muscled Esplin to win the ball just outside the Nock box before firing over the bar.
Samson had his name taken in the 26th minute when he tripped Steven Wilson 22 yards out, just as he was about to shoot. Shankland took the free kick & curled it over the wall for the far corner. It looked to be heading in but Johnson dived full length to tip it round his right post.
Talbot were making most of the running & they threatened again in the 32nd minute. Love played it out right to find Shankland & he played an inviting ball across the face of the penalty area but there was no one in the 6-yard box to convert for Talbot.
Wilson ought to have put Talbot ahead in the 34th minute when he met Milliken’s cross from the left but he guided a free header over the bar from the centre of goal.
Finally, Talbot made their pressure count in the 36th minute when they moved ahead with a well-constructed goal. Talbot players swapped passes down the right before Milliken squared it across to YOUNG & he passed the ball inside Johnson’s left post from 18 yards to give Talbot the lead.
Cumnock hadn’t offered much threat but they did have a half chance right on the stroke of half-time when Boyd conceded a free kick 30 yards out. Scott hit it but whilst he got it up & over the wall it didn’t dip in time & flew over the bar & Talbot went in a goal ahead at the interval.
There was no let up from Talbot after the re-start & they made all of the early running in the 2nd half. Shankland sent Boyd free down the right in the 51st minute & Lundie did well to head his dangerous cross clear in the centre.
Moments later the Nock defence were stretched again. Love beat Wood to Shankland’s hanging cross & nodded it back across goal where Young attempted to steer it home, only to see his effort blocked by Murphy.
The pressure continued & Talbot won a free kick wide right of the penalty area which Shankland swept to the far post where Pope just failed to make contact.
Cumnock managed to force a couple of corners in quick succession but could make nothing of them and then Ronald had a half chance when he latched onto a ball over the top but he dragged it out wide left before firing a shot well wide of target.
Cumnock were thrown a lifeline in the 59th minute when hesitant defending allowed them to equalise. There seemed little danger when a ball came over the top but Lyle hesitated for a fraction, letting it bounce, and SCOTT nicked in behind him & slotted it past Leishman to make it 1-1.
Rather than lift Cumnock the goal seemed to energise Talbot who stepped up a gear.
Steven Wilson had a decent crack at goal in the 61st min when he cut in from the left & fired wide of target. A minute later Hyslop had a half chance to restore Talbot’s lead. Love closed down Crawford & blocked his attempted clearance. It spun inside the area to Hyslop who could have hit it 1st time but opted to take a touch & Murphy was able to block.
Milliken then tried his luck from distance, firing a powerful shot wide of target from 30 yards.
The referee bizarrely awarded Cumnock a free kick when Hyslop beat his opposite number to the ball & kicked it off him, and Talbot nearly paid for the referee’s blunder when Scott whipped a dangerous ball in from the right that glanced off the top of Murphy’s head & wide of target.
Wilson squandered a golden chance to put Talbot ahead in the 68th minute. He threaded the ball out to Milliken on the right of the area & Johnson could only parry his shot on target. The ball came out to Wilson 12 yards from goal but he shot past the right hand post with the keeper stranded.
Watt found himself in the book in the 69th minute for dissent & Steven Wilson joined him a few minutes later when he was penalised for a late tackle.
The longer the game went on the more Talbot asserted their authority, pushing Cumnock back deeper & deeper into their own half.
Cumnock had a rare chance to test the Bot defence in the 80th minute. Hyslop conceded a free kick out on the right for a foul on Samson, receiving a booking into the bargain, & Scott whipped the ball over to the far post but it proved to have just too much on it & no one could get a touch.
Talbot were unfortunate not to take the lead in the 82nd minute. Shankland fizzed a cross over from the right touchline for Love to attack. He dived to head it for goal but it cannoned off Crawford & flew just past the post.
A minute later Talbot missed their 2nd glaring chance of the evening. Love did well out on the wing, jinking past Wood into the penalty area. He pulled it back for Young whose shot was blocked by a defender. The ball broke kindly, falling to Shankland straight in front of goal but he opted to go for power & the spectacular finish & ended up volleying over from 8 yards.
Fortunately, no harm was done as Talbot took the lead in their next attack. Leishman knocked the ball out to Young & he scurried forward from midfield before releasing it out right to MILLIKEN who slammed a low drive past Johnson to put Talbot 2-1 ahead in the 84th minute.
Cumnock looked a beaten team & frustration got to Ronald who picked up a caution for a clumsy challenge on Milliken.
Tucker made a late change in the 87th minute when Love limped off the field to be replaced by Findlay. The sub almost made the perfect impact, lobbing a shot on target from out wide on the right that Johnson had to claw away from his right hand post.
In the closing seconds Wood managed to escape a yellow card despite persistent chirping at the ref, only to get booked in injury time for flattening Shankland by the corner flag. Talbot took the free kick short & worked it back to Hyslop who thundered a shot over the bar from 25 yards in the last action of the match.
This was a good performance from the Bot who could and should have won by a more convincing margin. Next for Talbot is the season’s finale at Newlandsfield where they will be presented with the league trophy before facing Renfrew in the Evening Times final.
Cumnock – Johnson, Wood, Crawford, Lundie, Murphy, Esplin, Ronald, Samson, Watt, Malone, McKenzie
Subs – Scott, Quinn, Lowe, Shepherd
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Hyslop, White, Boyd, Young, S Wilson, Milliken, Shankland, Love
Subs – Sloan, McLuckie, Findlay, Johnstone
Talbot paid the penalty for failing to build on an early lead as they lost out in a spot kick shoot off to Beith following a 1-1 draw.
The game had an end of season feel about it & there were few clear cut chances created by either side.
The 1st to show was the home side, after 3 minutes, when Reid narrowly volleyed past the post from 18 yards out.
However it was Talbot who opened the scoring with their 1st real attack after 12 minutes. Hyslop’s pass released Young on the left & he in turn fed it on to G Wilson. He crossed to the far post where MILLIKEN volleyed it on target & Grindlay couldn’t prevent it going in at his left post.
A good passing move ended with Pope free on the left of the penalty area & Sheridan did well to knock his low centre behind for the corner. Shankland lifted the corner to the far post where Hyslop looped a header over the bar.
Talbot won a free kick 30 yards from goal in the 20th minute when Shankland was impeded by Sheridan. Shankland took it himself but his shot hit the defensive wall.
Grindlay kept the home side in it on the half hour mark. S Wilson ran onto a weak clearance and thumped a shot on target that the keeper did well to tip over his bar at full stretch.
McLean missed a good chance to level the match in the 32nd minute. He met Burke’s corner at the near post but steered his free header wide of Leishman’s left post.
The assistant ref got it badly wrong a few minutes later when he kept his flag down as McLean raced free down the left. He looked clearly offside, but in the end no harm was done as he lost his footing inside the area & the ball trundled behind for the goal kick.
The final chance of the half came Beith’s way in the 45th min. Watt lifted a cross over beyond the far post where Burke rose to head it on target but Leishman was well positioned to make the stop.
The home side made a change during the interval with Clark coming on for McArthur.
Shooting down the slope Beith started the 2nd half strongly & forced a save out of Leishman within a minute. Watt shifted the ball right to find Frize racing into the area & his low shot across goal was turned away by Leishman.
Tucker made a change in the 51st minute with Boyd coming on for G Wilson.
Talbot were unlucky on the hour mark when a slick passing move ended with Lyle inches from connecting with Shankland’s through ball. The pass took out the central defence but Grindlay read the danger & was quickly off his line to smother at the feet of Lyle.
Two minutes later Shankland carved out another opportunity. This time he whipped a cross over from the left that just required a touch to put it in but Boyd failed to make contact at the back post.
Within a minute Talbot threatened again. This time, Milliken curled a good cross over from the right which Hyslop headed for goal. Grindlay was beaten but his looping header just cleared the bar.
Beith now made their 2nd change with Collins on for Reid.
Talbot were left to rue those missed chances in the 66th minute when Beith levelled. McGowan flighted a high cross in from the right which Leishman misjudged. The ball came to BURKE beyond the back post & he passed it into the empty net.
Tucker now made Talbot’s 2nd change with Love coming on for Shankland & moments later S Wilson picked up the 1st caution of the afternoon when he prevented Beith from taking a quick free kick.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot won a free kick 30 yards out after Sheridan fouled Hyslop. The large travelling support weren’t slow in letting the ref know this was Sheridan’s umpteenth offence but the ref chose to keep his cards in his pocket.
Hyslop fired the free kick over the wall but it also flew just over Grindlay’s bar.
Tucker made his final change in the 82nd minute with Gillies replacing Milliken.
Beith had a chance in the 85th min. Following a bout of heady tennis around the Bot penalty area the ball came through the centre to McLean & he nearly got on the end of it but just failed to connect & the ball ran through to Leishman.
In the final minute of the 90 Talbot were denied a late winner by a great save from Grindlay. Young had his heels clipped 25 yards out resulting in a free kick on the right. Young rolled the ball square to Pope & he drilled a shot heading inside the left post until Grindlay tipped it wide. Boyd retrieved it but his attempted cross was blocked for a corner that the defence cleared & so it came to penalties.
MacDonald went first for Beith but Leishman saved his effort; Hyslop was 1st up for Talbot & he sent his pen inside the left post; Collins tucked his pen into the corner for Beith and Young sent Grindlay the wrong way to keep Talbot 2-1 ahead; Burke levelled the score, although Leishman was unlucky, guessing the right way & getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out; S Wilson was next up for Talbot & he hit a penalty he’ll want to forget, steering it well wide of the right post; McLean put Beith ahead before Gillies levelled for Talbot; Reid made it 4-3 to the home side & Pope sent Grindlay the wrong way to level at 4-4. Docherty put Beith 5-4 ahead meaning that McGoldrick had to score, but unfortunately Grindlay went the right way & dived to his right to make the save.
Next up for Talbot is Monday night’s derby clash with Cumnock at Rosebank in the semi-final of the Evening Times Cup.
Beith – Grindlay, McArthur, Docherty, MacDonald, Sheridan, McGowan, Watt, Frize, McLean, Reid, Burke
Subs – Collins, Clark, McGregor
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McGoldrick, White, S Wilson, Young, Hyslop, G Wilson, Shankland, Milliken
Subs – Boyd, Love, Gillies, Johnstone
Hurlford 0 Talbot 1 (H-T 0-0) | Auchinleck Talbot Forum
Hurlford needed the win to have any chance of overhauling Talbot but it was Talbot who were quickest out the blocks & the Bot nearly opened the scoring inside a minute. Milliken laid the ball back to G Wilson who curled it to the far post where Young just failed to connect.
The home side had an opportunity to test Leishman a minute later. Kean went down rather easily outside the Talbot box & the ref awarded Hurlford the free kick. M Brown took it but fired a wild shot off target.
Hurlford were expending a lot of energy for very little reward as Talbot’s defence mopped up every high ball thrown at them, with Leishman not being called upon at all.
The only thing missing for the Bot support was a goal to settle the nerves and Talbot ought to have moved in front in the 17th minute. Hyslop stroked the ball down the right to find Milliken wide of the area. He whipped a cross into the near post where G Wilson powered a header just wide of the left post.
Wilson came close again in the 24th minute when the Bot were awarded a free kick 22 yards out after a shove on Hyslop. G Wilson lifted it over the wall but it flew narrowly past Brown’s right hand post.
There hadn’t been many scares down the Talbot end but Hurlford did have a half chance in the 29th minute when McKenzie fired a low ball into the centre which broke out to Kean. He turned & fired for goal only to see his shot deflected for a corner.
The home side seemed bereft of ideas in the final third and Talbot played out the remainder of the half quite comfortably to go in goal less at the interval and only 45 minutes away from the title.
Talbot started the 2nd half as they had the 1st and won a free kick wide on the left after McKenzie tugged back Shankland. Pope delivered a dangerous ball to the back post but only R Robertson attacked it & he managed to head clear.
The decisive moment came in the 53rd minute. Young released G Wilson down the left & he cut inside & made a beeline for the penalty area. Chisholm fouled him right on the edge of the box and SHANKLAND took full advantage, bending a superb free kick over the wall & past a static Brown to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.
The home side now made a change with Donnelly coming on for Creaney.
Hurlford needed a goal back quickly & they were presented with a decent chance when Wilson was penalised for handball just outside the penalty area. R Robertson drilled it low past the wall but Leishman was down low by his left post to hold it.
Talbot were awarded a free kick within shooting range in the 66th minute after G Wilson was shoved in the back 30 yards from goal. Shankland again took the set piece but this time got too much on it & lifted it over the bar.
Hurlford now made their 2nd change with Borris replacing Chisholm, but it continued to be Talbot who looked the more likely to net the next goal. Even Hurlford’s manic bell ringer appeared to be losing hope as he fell silent.
A 2nd goal would have sealed it and Talbot did their best to produce it. In the 73rd minute Shankland whipped a superb cross in from the left which McKillen just nicked off the head of Hyslop who was poised to head home at the back post.
A few minutes later McKillen almost scored an o.g. Shankland fired a cross in from the left which he headed on target from 6 yards out but fortunately for him it went straight at his keeper.
Tucker made a change in the 77th minute with Steven Wilson replacing Shankland.
The sub was involved soon after coming on. Milliken’s diagonal ball found him breaking into the left side of the penalty area but the ball skipped up off him & broke through to the keeper.
Hurlford hadn’t looked like scoring & their chances went from slim to non-existent in the space of a few minutes. McKenzie received a deserved caution for persistent fouling after catching White and then two minutes later dived in recklessly on the same player, and the ref sent him to the clubhouse.
Talbot saw the clock out with little difficulty & as the game headed into injury time all Hurlford could produce was a late caution for R Robertson who had his name taken for a late tackle on G Wilson.
The final whistle saw the celebrations begin, as Talbot fans hailed another title triumph, made all the sweeter by clinching it on Hurlford’s park. After an up & down season, Talbot have ended on a high note, saving their best form for when it mattered.Hurlford – A Brown, M Brown, McKillen, G Mitchell, C Robertson, D Mitchell, McKenzie, Chisholm, Kean, R Robertson, Creaney
Subs – Donnelly, Borris, Byrne, Nisbet, MurchieTalbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, McGoldrick, McCracken, White, Young, Hyslop, G Wilson, Shankland, Milliken
Subs – Love, S Wilson, Boyd, Lyle, Johnstone
Talbot won their 1st trophy of the season, claiming the West of Scotland cup, after a fairly comfortable victory over Hurlford.
The Bot made a strong start & won a free kick near the Hurlford box inside the 1st minute. Young curled it to the back post where McClune beat Hyslop to it to head behind for a corner. The corner was whipped in from the left & Brown managed to punch it clear. He didn’t get it very far though & Hyslop beat McKenzie to it on the right of the area & flighted the ball across the 6-yard box where SHANKLAND guided a header inside the right post to give Talbot an early lead.
Talbot were fired up for it & threatened again in the 8th minute. Young’s accurate pass found Milliken breaking down the left & he sped clear & fired a dangerous ball across goal but it came to nought as there was no one in the centre to take advantage.
You have to strike whilst the iron is hot & Talbot made their strong start count when they doubled their lead in the 13th minute. Donnelly conceded a free kick just outside his own box after he took a heavy touch, lost the ball, and tumbled Shankland over when trying to retrieve it. G WILSON took the set piece & curled a beauty of a shot over the wall that left Brown spectating.
On the night Hurlford created few clear cut chances but they did come close after 27 minutes. McKenzie played it to Borris on the right of the penalty area & he slid it across to the far post. Donnelly tried to prod it in at the post but was beaten to it by McCracken’s slide tackle & Leishman gathered.
Donnelly won a cheap free kick just outside the Bot penalty area in the 37th minute when he threw himself down under McCracken’s challenge. McClune stepped up to hit it but his tame effort was easily held by Leishman.
In the closing minutes of the half both teams fashioned decent chances. R Robertson met Borris cross from the right but directed a free header over the bar from 10 yards out and then in the last action of the half Milliken showed good ball control to beat a couple of men down the left before sweeping it into the area.
Wilson dummied it & Young following in behind flashed a shot just wide of Brown’s right post.
Hurlford made a change during the interval with M Brown on at right-back in place of McClune.
A 3RD goal would’ve killed the game & Talbot very nearly got it in the 50th minute. Hylsop released Shankland on the left & he was brought down by McClune just outside the area, resulting in a caution & a free kick to Talbot. Shankland struck it low past the wall & his shot was arrowing inside the left post until Brown made a full length save to tip it round the post.
Hurlford huffed & puffed but couldn’t blow Talbot’s walls down and it was no surprise when they made their 2nd change after 62 mins, with Kean on to replace Donnelly.
Hyslop was having a good night & he created Talbot’s next opening, releasing Young on the right with a disguised pass, and Butch drilled a shot on target from a tight angle which Brown parried. It came straight out to Hyslop & his low drive looked to be heading into the bottom corner until blocked away by the outstretched leg of a defender.
Hurlford made their final change in the 68th minute when Nisbett came on for Borris.
Milliken had his name taken in the 70th minute when he tried to prevent Brown from taking a quick free kick inside the Hurlford area.
The main goal threat continued to come from Talbot & Pope deserved better in the 73rd minute when he angled a dangerous ball in from the left that no Bot player could turn home in front of goal.
Hurlford hadn’t offered much but they did stretch the Bot defence in the 75th minute. R Robertson rose to flick a header out left into the path of Kean & he broke into the Talbot box & fired a dangerous low ball across goal which McGoldrick did well to intercept at the expense of a corner.
Talbot made a change in the 77th minute with Love replacing Shankland up top.
Hyslop was inches from adding to Talbot’s lead a minute later. Wilson fed the ball out left to Young & Hyslop very nearly converted his looping cross at the back post but just failed to connect.
As the clock ticked down Hurlford threw bodies forward & piled pressure on in the last 10 mins. They had won numerous corners throughout the game to little effect but they did work a good one in the 82nd minute. It was taken short & found McKenzie outside the area & his low drive took a couple of deflections in a crowded goal mouth before heading wide of the left post.
With 6 minutes remaining Talbot made their 2nd change with Boyd on for Wilson.
Hurlford had run out of ideas & out of steam & Talbot saw the closing stages out comfortably. Frustration got the better of McKenzie two minutes from time & the Hurlford winger was cautioned for a foul on Young.
Talbot’s form has been as unpredictable as the Ayrshire weather but they produced their A game when it mattered to record a thoroughly deserved victory over Hurlford & claim the West again. Next up for Talbot is a repeat encounter as they travel to the lunar surface of Blair Park to face Hurlford in the league, knowing a win or a draw will be enough to retain the league championship. Here’s hoping for a similar performance & a double on Wednesday night.
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, McGoldrick, McCracken, White, Young, Shankland, Milliken, G Wilson, Hyslop
Subs – Love, S Wilson, Boyd, Gillies, Johnston
Hurlford – A Brown, McClune, McKillen, G Mitchell, C Robertson, D Mitchell, McKenzie, Chisholm, Donnelly, R Robertson, Borris
Subs – Creaney, M Brown, Kean, Nisbett, Murchie
Talbot produced the great escape with no Steve McQueen required as they staged an unlikely late fight back to snatch a point away to Beith. A point which could have a major bearing on the title as Hurlford were held to a draw by Glenafton meaning a draw at Blair Park now guarantees Talbot the title.
Talbot started the game on the front foot and nearly went ahead within the 1st minute. A free kick up the right skated off Docherty’s head & behind for a corner. When it came into the 6-yard area Beith failed to clear & the ball fell to Hyslop whose low drive was heading inside the left post until blocked by Docherty.
The Bot fashioned another opening in the 7th minute. Wilson fed the ball into the box from the right into Young & he squared it across for Milliken who powered a shot on target from 15 yards but straight at Watson.
Unfortunately Talbot’s strong start didn’t last & Beith took the lead with their 1st meaningful attack after 10 minutes. Burke jinked down the left, leaving Latta & White in his wake. He lifted a cross to the back post which S Wilson headed clear but it only came out to the unmarked CHRISTIE at the edge of the area & he carried it forward before burying it low into the bottom corner.
Beith came within a whisker of doubling their lead soon after. Burke played it into the near post where Christie looked set to tap it in but he failed to make contact & the ball ran across the face of goal.
Talbot were shooting up the slope & shot themselves in the foot when they gifted Beith a 2nd in the 19th minute. McCracken was short with a back pass from the left touchline & Watt raced clear on the right. He slid it across goal & although Christie couldn’t reach it MCGOWAN was following in behind to slide it home.
The game was slipping away from Talbot, and as the half wore on, the nervier Talbot looked, with passes going astray & no one looking comfortable on the ball.
Beith nearly killed the game off in the 25th minute. Once again a cross from the left caused the Bot defensive problems & when White headed clear it came straight to McGowan. It looked like he was shooting from 25 yards but instead slipped a pass through to Watt inside the area & his shot was deflected just wide of the left post.
Wilson had Beith’s next effort when he attempted a volley from 30 yards that flew just wide of the right post.
Talbot almost reduced the deficit in the 29th minute. Milliken headed Hyslop’s cross down into the path of Young & he blasted it on target from 8 yards out but Watson dived to his left to make an impressive stop.
Talbot’s next chance, in the 36th minute, also came to Young. A corner on the right was swept in low to the near corner of the 6-yard box where Butch met it but side-footed over the bar.
In the closing stages of the half the sides picked up a booking a piece, firstly Beith’s McArthur for holding Milliken and then G Wilson for a late challenge but there were no further chances & Beith went in with a two goal cushion.
Beith made the sprightlier start after the interval & nearly ended the game as a contest in the 50th minute. Burke forced a corner on the left off Hyslop & when it came into the near post Christie glanced a header across goal that flashed wide of the far post.
In Talbot’s next attack Steven Wilson had a real chance to pull a goal back when he raced onto Graham Wilson’s head flick, however he scooped his shot over the bar from a good position on the left of the area.
Watson did well in the 55th minute, coming out his area to thwart Milliken but at the expense of a corner. Young curled the corner to the far post where Clark headed it behind. This time when the corner came in it broke to Young 15 yards out whose attempt on target was headed clear inside the 6-yard area.
Tucker made a change in the 61st minute with Shankland coming on in place of Steven Wilson & a few minutes later Beith made a change with Elliot replacing Christie.
A goal for Talbot would shake things up & Shankland had a decent chance to pull one back in the 65th minute when he ran onto Wilson’s head flick but he drilled his shot wide of the left post from 18 yards.
Wilson came close a couple of minutes later when he turned sharply & fired a shot narrowly past Watson’s right post.
Beith now made a further change with Martin replacing Watt.
Hyslop joined Wilson in the ref’s notebook in the 70th minute when he tripped Burke.
Collins ought to have killed the game off in the 73rd minute. McCracken & White failed to cut out a ball up the right channel & it came through to Collins inside the area but he couldn’t beat Leishman who made a terrific stop.
Both sides now made their final changes with MacDonald coming on for Clark for the home side & Love replacing Boyd as Talbot went for broke.
As substitutions go, this proved an especially inspired one, and LOVE gave the large travelling support something to cheer in the 82nd minute when he ran through a gaping hole in the Beith defence before coolly slotting home to give Talbot some hope.
Talbot were now pushing all out for an equaliser & it was Beith’s turn to look nervy as the home side dropped deeper inviting pressure onto them.
It looked as though Beith were going to hold out but in the final minute a poor passback gifted a chance to LOVE and he took full advantage when sent clean through and knocked home the equaliser.
The final whistle saw loud cheers from the relieved Bot support, grateful to have earned a point the hard way, and buoyed by the news that Hurlford had slipped up against the Glens.
Next up for Talbot is a Friday night trip to Newlandsfield where they will face Hurlford in the final of the West.
Beith – Watson, Fisher, Docherty, McArthur, Clark, Wilson, Watt, McGowan, Christie, Collins, Burke
Subs – MacDonald, Martin, Ryan, Elliot, Grindlay
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, White, McCracken, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, G Wilson, Milliken, S Wilson
Subs – Shankland, Love, McGoldrick, Findlay, Johnstone
The first of the testimonial matches proved to be a decent affair as select squad representing Talbot proved too strong for the Under 20 side from Maryhill. The Talbot faithful were reunited with some old favourites in the starting line up with Gavin Collins, Mick McCann, Kieran Paterson, Ricky Robb and John Boyle. With Talbot still in the hunt for silverware only Martin Findlay and David Gillies took an active part while James Latta and Bryan Young played for 10 minutes at the start of the game. However with Troon’s season done and dusted the crowd were treated to a sterling display by Colin Spence who proved to be a major player in a ding dong battle.
Spence was to prove to be a thorn in the young Jags defence and this was proved in the 7th minute when he forced Cullen into a decent save. Findlay had a crack from way out on the 15th minute but the shot ballooned over. Scott Johnstone who’s first half display kept Talbot in the game made a superb double save at the feet of McLaughlan and Nisbet on the 15th minute mark and moments later the Talbot keeper was relieved to see a McLaughlan shot whistle past the foot of the post.
The game was being fought in the middle of the park but on 32 minutes Gillies crashed a wicked shot off the post and minutes later Johnstone was forced into a smart save from McLaughlan. With the game heading for half time Nisbet had a great chance to open the scoring but once again Johnstone thwarted his effort and on the last kick of the ball the keeper made a class one handed save from Nisbet.
Talbot introduced a trialist for Mick McCann at the start of the second half and he should have put Talbot in the lead but missed an open goal. Talbot were starting to find chinks in the Partick defence and Gillies tested Cullen with a stylish hook shot. Talbot’s trialist had another decent chance which he put over the bar and this saw him promptly hooked to be replaced by one of James Latta’s family. Talbot finally opened the scoring on the 75th minute when they were awarded a penalty which Colin Spence hammered past Cullen. Partick hit back straight after their set back and Johnstone had to look lively as he stopped a Prentice rocket.
Talbot doubled their lead on the 78th minute when Gillies headed a Paterson corner past Cullen and two minutes later Spence pounced on a bad pass back to round Cullen and finish the scoring. The last chance of the game came from Alan McLuckie who thundered a 25 yarder towards goal but Cullen made a decent save.
Talbot: Johnstone, Findlay, Boyle, Baird, Collins, Paterson, Spence, Young, McCann, Gillies, Latta. Bench. Cochrane, Robb, Latta, Trialist, McLuckie, Trialist.
A strong 2nd half performance saw Talbot overpower Pollok & run out comfortable winners, and the win also now means it is officially a two horse race for the title, as Hurlford are now the only team who can overhaul the Bot.
Talbot might have won a penalty in the 2nd minute when Milliken went down inside the box under Walker’s clumsy challenge but the referee waved away the appeals.
Milliken then had a good chance to put Talbot ahead in the 5th minute. G Wilson stroked a pass through the defence to find Milky clear on the left side of the area. He shot on target but his effort lacked power & Longmuir was able to block with his feet.
Two minutes later Pollok ought to have taken the lead. A swiftly taken free kick caught out the Bot defence allowing Bradley to stroll straight through on Leishman but Andy produced a superb stop to keep out his effort.
The opening goal came in the 11th minute. MILLIKEN flicked a ball inside Sideserf into space. He reacted quickest to the situation & raced onto his own pass before drilling a low shot across goal & inside Longmuir’s right post.
Pollok were looking threatening in the final third and Leishman did well to maintain Talbot’s slender lead in the 26th minute when he parried Rowan’s powerful drive behind for a corner. McAleenan swept the corner beyond the far post where Winters headed it back across goal for Bradley to flick on target but it lacked the power to test Leishman.
Milliken did well in the 28th minute, showing quick feet to create some space 22 yards out before drilling a left foot shot over the crossbar.
Pollok then equalised via route one. Longmuir’s hefty clearance went straight down the middle & bounced over McCracken. D WINTERS ran onto it & had the easy task of passing it beyond Leishman to level the score.
The goal lifted Pollok who began to dominate possession, forcing Talbot back into their own half. However, they couldn’t make their possession pay & had nothing to show for it beyond a few corners & free kicks which the Talbot defence fielded confidently.
In the final minute of the half it was Talbot who had a good chance to regain the lead. Rowan fouled Milliken just outside the penalty area & Young whipped the free kick into the centre & onto the head of McCracken but he nodded over the bar from 6 yards out.
The 1st opening of the 2nd half went the way of the visitors. Bradley got free down the right & hit a cross to the far post. White cleared it out the area where Rowan reacted quicker than S Wilson, beating him to the loose ball & firing just wide of Leishman’s left post.
D Winters picked up the first caution of the afternoon after 49 mins when he was penalised for simulation.
From the resultant free kick, G Wilson had a decent chance to put Talbot back ahead. The ball was flighted down the centre, the Lok central defence made a hash of dealing with it, and the ball broke to G Wilson 8 yards out but he lashed his shot over the bar.
Milliken came close to his 2nd of the afternoon in the 52nd minute. Hyslop slid the ball through to him & his effort was heading into the roof of the net until Longmuir tipped it over the bar.
At the other end of the field, Leishman produced an equally fine stop to deny Monti; diving to his left to turn his 25 yard shot wide of target.
Talbot made a change in the 63rd minute when Latta had to leave the field injured. Shankland came on in his place & Boyd dropped back to fill in at right-back.
McAleenan became the 2nd Lok player in the book when he was cautioned for a late challenge on Milliken.
The game was delicately poised but that all changed in the 67th minute due to a calamitous backpass from Walker. He left it woefully short & Shankland raced onto it, and rounded Longmuir who hauled him to the deck. The ref was left with little choice but to send the keeper off & point to the spot. Hanlon took over goalkeeping duties but there was little he could do to prevent G WILSON from restoring Talbot’s lead, as he thumped the penalty inside the right post.
Pollok made a change in the 72nd minute with McCabe coming on for Williamson.
Talbot came close to extending their lead in the 74th minute. Milliken won a corner on the left & Shankland curled it to the far post where Hylsop was inches from connecting.
Tucker made his 2nd change with quarter of an hour remaining, going for fresh legs up front with Love on for G Wilson and Pollok followed suit a few minutes later with Mackenzie replacing Monti.
The game was done & dusted in the 81st minute when Talbot moved 3-1 ahead. Shankland placed a cross right onto the head of HYSLOP and he did the rest, steering it inside the right post.
Talbot completed the scoring in the 84th minute. Pope threaded a ball through to find Love free on the left & he clipped it across goal for SHANKLAND to head home.
With 3 minutes remaining Talbot made their final change with Gillies on for Milliken.
This was a very good win for Talbot, not only for the 3 points but also because it helped extend their goal difference advantage over Hurlford.
Next up for Talbot is another league clash, this time with the other Junior finalist, as they travel through to Beith on Monday night.
Talbot – Leishman, Latta, Pope, White, McCracken, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, G Wilson, Milliken, S Wilson
Subs – Shankland, Love, Gillies, Findlay, Johnstone
Pollok – Longmuir, Hanlon, Sideserf, Gallacher, Walker, Rowan, Bradley, Williamson, D Winters, Monti, McAleenan
Subs – McCabe, R Winters, Mackenzie, Hepburn, Higgins
Talbot dominated the opening period & had a couple of half chances to take an early lead. Hyslop bent a good ball over from the right to find G Wilson in front of goals but the ball broke off him & ran through to McGarrity.
Hyslop created the next chance too, clipping the ball over the defence for the run of S Wilson. He was challenged before he could shoot but the ball fell kindly to Latta who shoved his effort wide of the post under pressure from Cairns.
S Wilson would have been clean through on the keeper in the 12th min after a one-two with Young but Butch’s final pass was too heavy.
G Wilson came close to the opener in the 14th min. Milliken intercepted the ball just the Glens box & fed a quick pass through to G Wilson who knocked it past the advancing keeper but wide of the right post.
The Glens 1st look at goal came after 19 mins when McGuffie forced a corner on the left. Hay drove it in & McCann glanced a header well wide of target.
Talbot won a free kick in a dangerous area in the 24th min when G Wilson was tripped just outside the box. Hyslop’s shot smacked into the wall & spun out to S Wilson on the right of the area. He didn’t make the best of connections but managed to steer his shot inside the left post. The goal should have stood but bizarrely was chalked off for an offside call only the standside linesman spotted.
Justice was done though a minute later as Talbot took the lead & a cracking goal it was too.
G WILSON outpaced Meikle down the left before rifling an unstoppable shot over McGarrity to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.
Glenafton now began to come into the game & Cairns tested Leishman with a long range effort.
There was a momentary panic in the Bot defence when McGuffie got in behind on the right & stood a cross up into the centre where Leishman failed to take it under the challenge of McCann. It came out to Andrew on the left & Latta did well to block his shot behind. When Hay’s corner came over McCann nodded it wide of the far post.
Talbot’s rocky spell continued when Latta lost his footing inside the area. McGill pounced on the loose ball & fired a low shot on target that Leishman smothered.
Right on the stroke of halftime Talbot almost gifted the Glens an equaliser. White misjudged a high ball down the middle as it bounced in behind him he was outmuscled by McCann who prodded a shot on target that Leishman gathered at the 2nd time of asking.
Talbot started the 2nd half sluggishly & their cause wasn’t helped when the ref harshly booked Milliken for an innocuous challenge. The Bot were then temporarily reduced to ten men when McCracken left the field for treatment & the Glens nearly took advantage. A cross into the centre skidded off Hyslop & landed at Andrew whose low drive was blocked by Pope.
Glenafton were on top & they forced a string of corners around the hour mark but could find no way through the Bot defence. From the last of these corners Talbot looked to counterattack through Milliken but he was hauled down by McChesney who received a caution.
A minute later he was joined in the book by Cairns who scythed down Boyd.
Talbot settled their nerves with a 2nd goal in the 65th minute. BOYD capitalised on Meikle’s error to nip in behind the centre half & carry on into the box before coolly passing it inside McGarrity’s right post.
The two Wilson brothers were involved in Talbot’s next chance. Steven robbed McGuffie of the ball before releasing Graham down the left and he saw his shot turned behind at the near post.
Glenafton made a change in the 73rd min bringing Marlow on for Cairns & Talbot soon made their first change with Shankland replacing G Wilson.
Tucker had to make a further change in the 79th min when Latta limped off to be replaced by Love.
Talbot largely controlled the game in the closing stages, though McGill forced a decent stop from Leishman with five mins remaining.
Menzies let frustration get the better of him in the final minute and picked up a silly caution for booting the ball away.
This win sets Talbot up nicely for the weekend visit of Pollok.Talbot – Leishman Latta Pope McCracken White Boyd Young Hyslop Milliken G Wilson S WilsonSubs – Shankland Love Findlay Johnstone
Glenafton – McGarrity Menzies Cairns Meikle McChesney Hay McGuffie Gray Andrew McCann McGill
Subs – Dallas Marlow Orsi Potter Buchanan