MURRAY’S MATCH REPORT
Talbot made it 3 wins on the spin with two 2nd half goals seeing off Arthurlie in Talbot’s last home game of the season.
With Arthurlie fighting the drop there was plenty of effort on display but a lack of quality in the final third meant that neither goalie was seriously tested in the opening spell.
In the 23rd minute a headed clearance from a Lie free kick landed at the feet of Leyden in space 25 yards out but he fired well-wide of goal and a minute later at the other end Wardrope comfortably cleared the crossbar when he met Smith’s square ball 20 yards out.
The first effort on target came in the 31st minute and produced a top save from Scott to deny Talbot the lead. A shy from the left found Smith inside the area and his shot was heading into the roof of the net til Scott tipped it over the bar.
From the resultant corner Talbot came close again. Lie fielded the initial corner but when the ball came back in a 2nd time from the right it found Samson whose low drive was turned away by Scott’s outstretched leg. Talbot kept the pressure up and a cross to the far post found Wilson but his header went straight at the keeper.
Arthurlie had a chance in the 35th minute. Armstrong bundled Kerr over just outside the area and Leyden drilled the free kick just wide of the left hand post.
Four minutes later the visitors had another chance. Kerr used his pace to get wide of Stafford and hit a cross cum shot into the centre that Leishman blocked at the near post before it was cleared.
Arthurlie finished the half on the front foot but without looking like scoring and the sides went in goal less at the break.
Talbot were caught day dreaming right after the re-start when a ball in behind freed McGregor on the right. He squared it in to Carroll who spurned a great chance to take the lead – taking a fresh air swipe at it.
A minute later Stafford received a yellow card down the other end for throwing the ball away after he disputed the linesman awarding Arthurlie a shy.
Talbot threatened the Lie goal in the 48th minute after Smith forced a corner down the right. When it came in McCracken headed it across the area where it came to Wardrope whose cross just eluded Smith at the left post.
The game became scrappier the longer the half wore on and in the 68th minute Talbot made a triple substitution with Mason, Park & Wardrope making way for Taylor, Lennox & Boyle.
The changes paid off in short order as Talbot took the lead in the 70th minute. Lennox was fouled just wide of the box on the right and Taylor whipped the free kick across goal to the back post. The defence managed to head it clear but only into the path of ROSS SMITH who drilled a low shot past Scott from 16 yards.
Talbot now made a further change with Ballantyne on for Wilson.
In the 74th minute McGregor fired a good cross over from the right towards Carroll in the centre but McCracken did just enough to deflect it away before Stafford completed the clearance.
Talbot doubled their lead in the 76th minute. Taylor’s header sent Samson racing free on the left where he won a corner. Taylor took it and delivered it at pace into the near post where GARETH ARMSTRONG powered a header home.
Arthurlie now made a double switch with Smith & Miller coming on for Carroll & Warnock.
Talbot threatened a 3rd in the 77th minute. Taylor played a good ball in behind the defence to find Samson speeding down the right side of the penalty area but a defender managed to block his shot behind for a corner. Arthurlie couldn’t clear the 1st corner and were forced to concede a 2nd. When this one came in Lennox laid it out right to Taylor who planted a cross right onto the head of the unmarked McCracken who atypically failed to hit the target – heading well wide of goal.
Seven minutes from time Talbot made their final change with Crawford coming on for Stafford.
Deep into added time Arthurlie came close to grabbing a consolation effort. A ball out right found Miller in space and he squared it into McGregor whose low shot was turned round the left post by Leishman. When the corner came over Roulston met it but steered his header over the bar.
Next up for Talbot it’s a Tuesday evening trip through to face Largs before Friday night’s cup final against Clydebank.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Wardrope, Park, Samson, Smith, Mason
Subs – Taylor, Boyle, Lennox, Ballantyne, Crawford, Fisher
Arthurlie – Scott, Bilham, Kerr, Roulston, Jeanes, Magee, McGregor, Leyden, Carroll, Warnock, MacNeil
Subs – McLachlan, Pearce, Simeon, Strain, Smith, Miller, Nolan
Talbot v Arthurlie – Man Of The Match Awards
Ross Smith received all five sponsors’ Man of the Match awards. Ross opened the scoring and was a constant threat throughout the match with his movement and hold up play.
Old Crocks – presented by Cammy Torrance.
Riverside Inn Lads, Newmilns – presented by Matt Barrow.
Mauchline BC – presented by Liz Watson.
Loons Supporters Club – presented by Lex O’Hara (Kitty Custodian).
Ex Players MOM award – presented by Kevin Hitchell.
Match Ball Sponsor – Emerald Contracts.
Dennis Gray our record goal scorer presented Graham Wilson with a gift from the ex-players to mark his Testimonial Season.