A depleted Talbot battled their way to the cup final against Gartcairn under the lights at the Celcius Stadium in a dour struggle void of any great excitement. A virus had ripped through the Talbot ranks forcing them to play assistant coach Alan McLuckie aged 50 at left back while other players were moved into different positions.
As expected the glens started on the offensive and on Dale sieon had a chance but sliced his shot. It took Talbot 15 minutes to create a serious chance when Steven White’s goalbound shot was deflected past for a corner. Both sides fashioned chances in a match bogged down in the midfield with Bryan Boylan having two chances both on both occasions the ball ended up in the keepers arms while Glasgow curled a shot netwards which Whyte managed to claw past the post. Just before half time Harry Mitchell tried his luck from well out but the ball fizzed past Leishman’s post.
Talbot started the second half with a bit more urgency and Kier Samson was unlucky not to score when his header hit the side netting. The breakthrough came in the 56th minute when Bryan Boylan who was a thorn in rutherglen’s side all evening chased down a clearance, skipped past Kerr and slid the ball to Kier Samson who prodded the ball past Whyte from a few feet out.
Although Talbot were playing with a makeshift defence the lads were defending stoutly and were forcing the home side further up the pitch. Samson nearly added to his goal when he sent a scorching shot at Whyte which took a wicked bounce which the big keeper managed to beat away. This was Samson’s last contribution to the match as he looked physically sick and retired straight to the clubhouse. The home side were now flinging everything but the kitchen sink at Talbot, including keeper Whyte who was sent upfield to contest a corner. However Talbot were savvy enough to hold onto their narrow lead much to the frustration of the home support. It was a tight game, but in the end Talbot can look forward to another final. Rutherglen Glencairn :- Whyte, Lachlan, Miller, Donaldson, Stevie Kerr, McGregor, Leyden, McGuire (Cochrane), McRobbie (Wingate), Simeon (Ciaron Smith), Mitchell. (Subs not used – Hewitt, McLellan (gk).) Auchinleck Talbot :- Leishman, Young, McLuckie (Steven Wilson), McPherson, White, Pearson, McDowell, McKinlay, Boylan, Samson (Hyslop), Glasgow. (Sub not used – Hewitt.)
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
It was déjà vu time for the Talbot support as Talbot won 2-1 with a last minute winner for the 3rd week in succession to claim all 3 points against Rutherglen Glencairn.
The Bot were facing into the gale force wind in the 1st half but it didn’t seem to hinder them early on with the Bot making all the early running.
The first chance came in the 4th minute. Armstrong won the ball midway inside the Glencairn half & fed it down to the left to Boylan. He whipped a low ball across goal which Samson just failed to connect with in front of goal.
The visitors had a chance on the counter-attack in the 9th minute. Talbot failed to make the most of a free kick & Rutherglen broke up field through Leyden who trundled a weak shot on target from outside the area.
A minute later Talbot were back in attack. Boylan’s cutback found Glasgow in the area but he mishit his shot across goal. Stephen Wilson retrieved it & played it back to Lyle whose fierce drive was blocked inside the 6-yard area. It came out to Stephen Wilson who slipped it across to Boylan & his shot produced a top save from McLellan who tipped it over the bar but bizarrely the ref awarded a goal kick.
Talbot had the ball in the back of the net in the 11th minute. Samson squared it to Boylan inside the area & he buried it beyond the keeper but the linesman’s flag went up and the goal didn’t stand.
The Bot kept pressing & forced a decent stop out McLellan on the quarter hour mark. Pope flighted a free kick into the box that Armstrong met and McLellan touched his effort over the bar.
It looked only a matter of time til Talbot made their pressure count but the home support were stunned when Glencairn took the lead against the run of play in the 16th min. McRobbie did well out on the left, holding the ball up before releasing it inside to LEYDEN who charged into the box & blasted a shot inside Leishman’s left post.
Talbot’s heads didn’t go down & they came close to levelling in the 22nd minute. Boylan raced clear on the right & fired it across the face of goal where Samson was inches from connecting.
Glencairn were happy to sit in & Talbot were seeing plenty of the ball but not able to make it count.
With 39 minutes gone Samson had a half chance when he surged down the right into the penalty area but he fired his shot into the side-netting.
The visitors were forced into a change soon after with Kerr being replaced in defence by Chrystal.
Talbot ought to have levelled in the 40th minute. Boylan dinked a cross in from the left that Samson met in front of goal but he headed over the bar from 4 yards out and Glencairn saw the half out to go in a goal ahead.
With the wind in their sails, Talbot pegged Glencairn back right from the start of the 2nd half as they shot toward the Beechwood Road end.
In the 52nd minute McLellan kept Talbot out with a fine save. The Bot won a free kick out on the left when Lachlan obstructed Glasgow. Glasgow took the free kick & it was curling inside the left post until the keeper dived to turn it round the post.
It was now all Talbot but Rutherglen were defending resolutely & frustrating was growing amongst the Bot support.
Eventually, Talbot’s pressure told & they drew level in the 63rd minute. Samson’s shy from the right came into the area where Boylan hooked it across goal & STEPHEN WILSON bundled it home from close range.
This proved to be his last involvement as Tucker made a double switch with Wilson & Glasgow making way for Shankland & Hyslop.
Rutherglen hadn’t offered much going forward but gradually came out their shell & McRobbie forced a save out of Leishman when he angled a shot in from wide on the right that Leishman held at his left post.
In the 69th minute a ball over the top found Weir racing into the penalty area but Lyle recovered to get back & slide it behind for the corner.
Down the other end Talbot forced a series of corners which ended with McLellan dropping the ball under pressure from Hyslop but the referee awarded a soft free kick in favour of the keeper.
Talbot came close to taking the lead in the 74th minute. Armstrong was fouled just outside the area resulting in a free kick wide on the right. Shankland delivered it into the box where Armstrong glanced a header to the back post where Hyslop slid in to meet it but sent his shot wide.
Rutherglen now made two changes with McKay replacing McRobbie & then Gormley coming on for Weir.
With 10 minutes remaining Talbot nearly moved in front. Shankland cut in off the left & his shot was deflected behind. His first corner was headed behind by a defender and his 2nd attempt was curling in under the crossbar until McLellan turned it over.
The visiting keeper came out on top again in the 84th minute. Talbot won a free kick down the left that Pope flighted into the box. McCracken headed it on target & McLellan stretched to tip it over the bar.
Tucker now made his final change with McDowall on for Glasgow.
Just when it looked as though Glencairn were going to cling on for a point Talbot struck late to secure the win. Pope angled a good cross in from the left & KEIR SAMSON did the rest; glancing a header inside the keeper’s left post to put Talbot 2-1 ahead.
Deep into injury time Talbot almost added to their lead. Boylan cut inside off the right & arrowed a shot for the far corner that the impressive McLellan tipped around his right post.
A hard shift but 3 valuable points for Talbot as they keep pace with the Buffs. Next up for Talbot is a Tuesday night visit to Townhead to face a rejuvenated Cumnock.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, White, Stephen Wilson, Glasgow, Boylan, Samson
Subs – Shankland, McDowall, Hyslop, Aiden Wilson, Young
Rutherglen Glencairn – McLellan, Lachlan, McGregor, Donaldson, Kerr, Hewitt, Mitchell, Leyden, Weir, McGuire, McRobbie
Subs – Gormley, McKay, Chrystal, Cochrane, Wingate
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot left it late again but succeeded in claiming all 3 points in an incident packed encounter that saw the referee send off 4 players; with Rossvale finishing the match with 8 men & Talbot reduced to 10.
The Bot got off to the perfect start and took the lead with only 2 minutes gone. Armstrong lifted in a cross that Samson met in the centre & his glancing header was deflected wide of target off a defender. Shankland lifted the corner over & DWAYNE HYSLOP met it to nod Talbot into the lead.
The home side weren’t discouraged & Rossvale had a chance to test the Talbot defence in the 4th minute when McCracken conceded a free kick out on the right. It was angled in toward the far post where Hyslop did enough to glance it behind for the corner. When the corner came over it came to Higgins beyond the back post & and he fired a volley on target that Leishman blocked at his left post.
Talbot now raced onto the counter-attack with Shankland releasing Stephen Wilson & he in turn swiftly switched play to free Samson down the left. He drilled a low ball across the face of goal but it was just behind Graham Wilson in the centre & Niven swept it out for a shy.
Talbot were soon back on the attack & Stephen Wilson did well to win the ball deep in Rosssvale’s half before drilling a low ball across the face of goal but there were no takers in the centre.
The next chance also came Talbot’s way. Pope’s ball over the top found Graham Wilson pacing clear down the left & Healy met his cross beyond the far post but blasted it high & wide from a tight angle.
Samson missed a glorious chance to double Talbot’s lead in the 10th minute when he raced clear of the defence into the box but fired his shot straight at the keeper.
Rossvale showed their own attacking intent two minutes later. A diagonal ball released Leadbetter down the left & he skipped past Armstrong before firing a ball across goal that Leishman tipped away to safety.
Talbot were soon back on the front foot & came close to moving two clear in the 16th minute. Graham Wilson slid a pass through to send Samson through on the keeper & he attempted to pass it under Donnelly but it caught the keeper’s heels.
Within a minute Talbot hit the woodwork when Shankland jinked in off the left & curled a right foot shot off the face of the crossbar.
The first of the afternoon’s dismissals came after 27 minutes. Graham Wilson played it early to release Samson down the right & as he raced toward the penalty area he was tripped by Donnelly who had raced out his area. The referee had no choice but to send the keeper packing & Higgins took over in between the sticks.
Strangely, the red card seemed to knock Talbot out their rhythm & it took until the 36th minute before they tested the makeshift keeper. Shankland stepped in off the left & fired a low shot on target that Johnstone parried & he just managed to gather at 2nd attempt before Samson could prod it home.
Rossvale levelled in the 39th minute. McCracken was beaten to the ball outside the box by McNab who broke down the right before cutting it across goal where MGONIGLE knocked it past Leishman.
Two minutes later Talbot thought they’d restored their lead. Hyslop played it into Graham Wilson & he in turn found Shankland on the left of the area. He passed it into the opposite bottom corner of the net but the goal was chalked off by a debatable call from the assistant ref.
In the final action of the half Rossvale conceded a cheap corner down the left. Shankland curled it beyond the far post where Pope headed it back across goal but Graham Wilson couldn’t keep his header down & so the sides went in level at the break.
Talbot started the 2nd half positively up to a point; that point being the final third. Rossvale were pinned back deep in their own half but Talbot failed to find the necessary quality in their final pass or crosses to test the keeper.
The Bot did have a clear chance to regain the lead in the 58th minute. Pope angled a cross to the back post where Hyslop cushioned a header back across goal that Graham Wilson met 6 yards out but he blasted his shot over the bar.
In the 62nd minute Rossvale found themselves two men down. Johnstone slid in late on Hyslop. It looked like a caution would suffice but the ref went straight to the top pocket and sent him off.
The game exploded in the 67th minute with both sides seeing a player sent to the clubhouse. McGonigle was guilty of a shocking challenge on Healy who then lashed out in retaliation & off they both went.
Down to 8 men Rossvale were left with little option but to pack their defence & McNab was sacrificed to make way for Alexander.
The game re-started with a Bot free kick which Shankland shoved wide of the wall into the path of Graham Wilson. He crosssed it to the far post where Hyslop headed it back across goal & Shankland fired a shot at goal that was blocked in the crowded goalmouth.
Talbot seemed to have left the shooting boots at home. In the 72nd minute Samson raced up the right & swept over a cross that Hyslop headed down into the path of Shankland but he tugged his shot wide of target from the edge of the area.
Two minutes later Talbot had a penalty shout. Pope fired a ball across goal where Graham Wilson went over in the centre. The ref waved play on & it came to Shankland who blasted it into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Tucker now made a double switch with Shankland & Samson making way for Boylan & Glasgow.
In the 76th minute Graham Wilson had a half chance when he found himself in space 18 yards out but failed to test Higgins who stopped his shot with his outstretched foot.
The match officials took centre stage again in the 78th minute. Armstrong pinged over a cross from the right that Boylan met with his head. Higgins threw himself to his right to claw the ball away with Talbot claiming the ball was well over the line before Higgins scooped it back out but the referee dismissed Talbot’s appeals for the goal.
Talbot were camped out about midway inside the Rossvale half but the longer the game wore on the less likely it looked that they’d manage to find a winner; with crosses either being over hit or not beating the first man & shots either being blocked by a wall of defenders or sailing harmlessly high or wide.
Just when it looked as though Talbot had run out of steam the Bot grabbed a late winner from an unlikely source. NEIL MCPHERSON steered a left foot shot from the edge of the area that came through a ruck of players & into the back of the net.
It wasn’t over yet though & Talbot had one last bit of defending to do deep into injury time. The referee awarded a dubious offside call against Graham Wilson just inside the Rossvale half allowing them one final chance. The free kick was floated straight down the centre where Niven glanced a header on that was floating toward the top right hand corner until Leishman touched it over to ensure Talbot left with all 3 points.
A frustrating afternoon for Talbot who made heavy work of it for spells in the 2nd half but will be relieved to have ground out a valuable away win. Next up for Talbot it’s back to Beechwood where they host Rutherglen Glencairn in the league.
Rossvale Juniors – Donnelly, McDowall, Leadbetter, Niven, Bradley, McGrath, Higgins, Johnstone, McNab, Slattery, McGonigle
Subs – O’Sullivan, Giffin, Alexander, Biggar, Brennan
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Armstrong, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, Healy, Hyslop, Stephen Wilson, Graham Wilson, Samson, Shankland
Subs – Boylan, Glasgow, White, A Wilson, Young