Matches 2022/23

Raith Rovers v Auchinleck Talbot


Talbot bowed out of the senior cup, beaten but not disgraced, after three 2nd half goals saw Raith Rovers through to the 4th round.

On an afternoon when Talbot were set up to contain the Bot didn’t have many chances although they did have the first effort at goal after 6 minutes. Boylan pounced on a slip from a Raith defender and went for goal from 20 odd yards forcing a save from McDonald low to his left.

Two minutes later Raith threatened down the left when the ball was worked to Ngwenya whose low ball across the face was well cut out by Armstrong.

In the 10th minute Stanton had a half chance for the home side from outside the area but he dragged his left foot shot well wide of target.

Raith were seeing a lot of the ball but not producing very much in the final third. In the 18th minute a ball up the left found Connolly in space and when he crossed into the centre Stafford had to head it behind. When the corner came over Nolan got his head on it but glanced it wide of the left post.

The first card of the afternoon came in the 31st minute for Raith’s Brown for a late challenge in midfield.

A minute later Easton whipped a dangerous cross over from the right toward the back post that the Bot defence put behind for the corner.

Raith’s next attack saw Ngwenya drill a low ball in from the left which Aiden Wilson cleared at the near post, taking a knock as he did so for a free kick to Talbot.

The Bot then won a free kick down the other end wide on the left. Wardrope swung it into the penalty area where McCracken got his head on it but flashed a header well wide from 15 yards.

From then on til the half time whistle Raith huffed & puffed to no great effect and the sides went in level at the break with Leishman yet to make a save.

The home side came out fired up at the start of the 2nd half and in the 48th minute a Raith player let fly from 25 yards and his shot took a slight deflection as it flew just over the bar.

Talbot made their first change in the 49th minute when the injured Boylan made way for Mason.

In the 50th minute Wardrope won Talbot a corner out on the left when his cross was blocked. He took the corner and whipped a good low ball into the near post where Ngwenya dived to head it clear.

Three minutes later Mason met a shy from the left and flicked it inside to find Wardrope just outside the penalty area but he slipped as he went to hit it and it flew well wide of target.

Raith made their first change in the 56th minute with Connell on in place of Easton.

On the hour mark a ball slid through on the left found Connolly running in space out wide. He played it across the face of goal but there were no takers and Leishman was able to gather.

The breakthrough came in the 63rd minute. Connolly lifted a ball down the right to find the run of Brown and when he cut the ball back to CONNOLLY he cut inside onto his left foot and curled a peach of a shot for the far corner. Leishman managed to get his fingertips to it but couldn’t prevent it flying into the net.

Talbot now made a 2nd change with Shankland coming on for Graham Wilson.

Raith came close to grabbing the 2nd in the 67th minute. Millen swung over a dangerous cross from the right that flew off a defender’s head and clipped the top of the crossbar.

Two minutes later Brown tried his luck from distance but Leishman saw it all the way and made the stop.

Talbot then won a free kick out wide on the right after Taylor was caught. Wardrope lifted it into the edge of the box trying to find Armstrong but he was just beaten to it and the ball cleared.

It was game all but over in the 73rd minute when Raith doubled their lead. A low ball across the box broke into the path of CONNOLLY and his strike left Leishman wrong footed as it deflected off Boyle.

With 13 minutes remaining Tucker made a double switch with Park & Armstrong making way for Crawford & Ballantyne.

In the 81st minute Taylor received Talbot’s only caution of the afternoon.

Raith made their final change in the 84th minute with Coulson replacing Vaughan.

Five minutes from time Talbot had a brief glimpse at goal. A free kick was flighted down the centre and fell to Ballantyne 22 yards out in space. He could have shot but worked it out wide left and the move fizzled out.

The scoring was completed a minute later when Raith grabbed their third. A pass back was hit a little too wide for Leishman to gather out on the bye line. He was beaten to it and Raith calmly worked the ball across to CONNOLLY who passed it inside the left hand post to complete his hat-trick.

In the final minute Shankland cut in off the left and swung a cross into the goal mouth that McDonald gathered and soon after the ref blew up for full-time.

No one could fault Talbot for effort – the team gave their all – but came up short against a full-time side 4 tiers above us. Next up for Talbot it’s the short trip to Cumnock where they face their fierce rivals in the Scottish Junior cup.

Raith Rovers – Macdonald, Millen, Nolan, Spencer, Connolly, Vaughan, O’Riordan, Ngwenya, Stanton, Brown, Easton

Subs – McNeil, Dick, McBride, Lang, Connell, Ross, Coulson, Masson, Frederiksen

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Taylor, Aiden Wilson, Stafford, McCracken, Armstrong, Boyle, Wardrope, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Park

Subs – Shankland, Samson, Mason, Crawford, Ballantyne, Lennox, McHugh

Auchinleck Talbot v Neilston


It took Talbot a while to get going but in the end they ran out comfortable winners over Neilston in the South Challenge cup.

It was the visitors who made the early running and they had a chance in the 6th minute when MacKinnon swept a low ball in from the left. It broke into the path of Jones but he didn’t strike it cleanly and Leishman was able to save it by his left post.

In the 11th minute Neilston missed a sitter. Reilly got to the bye line and cut it back to Fletcher who looked certain to score but he bundled his shot wide of the left post from 6 yards out.

Talbot’s first meaningful move came in the 16th minute. A good move ended with Ballantyne on the left squaring the ball across the 6 yard area where it was cut out and cleared by the defence.

Neilston continued to have the upper hand without offering too much in the final third with play confined to the middle third.

In the 35th minute Crawford picked up a caution for a foul on Fletcher.

Thirty nine mins in and Talbot took the lead following their first shot on target. Shankland slipped the ball through for Aiden Wilson whose cut back was met by Graham Wilson 15 yards out. Hay dived to his left to parry his shot but the ball broke off MACKINNON and into the net for an own goal.

Three minutes later Mackinnon found himself in the ref’s notebook following a rugby tackle on Samson. Shankland took the free kick and whipped a dangerous ball over that flew off a defender’s head and went wide of goal for the corner. Shankland’s corner into the near post was headed clear but came out to Taylor who cut in onto his left foot only to see his shot blocked.

Talbot continued to press but Neilston held out and the Bot went in 1-0 up at the interval.

Talbot stepped it up a gear or two after the half-time break and had the visitors under pressure from the off and it paid off in the 51st minute when Talbot doubled their lead.

Taylor burst in off the right and played it into the feet of Samson inside the area. He returned it back and ROSS TAYLOR hammered a low drive past the keeper to make it 2-0.

In the 55th minute Talbot won a free kick in a good area. Crawford was caught late as he took a shot from just outside the box and the ref pulled it back for the free kick. Shankland stepped up but lifted it well over the bar.

A minute later Talbot were back on the attack. Shankland laid it out wide for Taylor and Hay had to claw his dangerous cross behind for the corner. The corner was taken short and Shankland hit an inch perfect cross to the back post but no Bot player was on hand to take advantage.

Moments later Talbot thought they’d grabbed their 3rd of the afternoon. Taylor gathered on the right and flashed it low across the face of goal where Samson turned it home from close range but was flagged for offside.

The goal was coming though and Talbot grabbed their 3rd on the hour mark. Taylor raced onto a ball over the top and raced past Doyle in the area before being hauled down for a stonewaller. MARK SHANKLAND took the spot kick and sent Hay the wrong way to make it 3-0.

Two minutes later Shankland had a half chance to grab another. Samson raced in off the left past Doyle and when he was challenged the ball broke out to Shankland at the edge of the area but he sent his shot well wide.

In the 64th minute Graham Wilson received a caution for a challenge on Halliday.

Neilston now made a double switch with Convery & Jones making way Henry & Haddow. Talbot responded with a double change of their own – Park & Graham Wilson being replaced by Boylan & Wardrope.

With 20 mins remaining Talbot found themselves a man down for the 2nd week in a row. Crawford took a heavy 1st touch and when Smith nipped in to claim it Crawford caught him and the ref produced a 2nd yellow card.

However, it was still Talbot looking the more likely to add to the score line and the Bot came close in the 72nd minute. Boylan robbed Reilly of the ball deep in the Neilston half before carrying it forward and hammering a shot that flew across goal and just wide of the right hand upright.

The Bot were back on the attack in the 76th minute. Wilson’s ball over the top found Samson racing free down the left. He darted into the box and cut it back toward Boylan but it had a shade too much pace on it.

Neilston now made a further change with Adam on for Reilly and Talbot made their final change with Mason replacing Shankland.

Eight minutes from time Talbot won a free kick out on the right touchline – wide of the penalty area. Wardrope fired a good ball over toward Boylan but a defender managed to head it behind for the corner.

In the final minute of regulation time Mason pounced on a loose ball in the Neilston half and slotted an early ball out right to find Boylan in space. He sped free down the wing but overhit his final cross.

Deep into injury time Talbot came close to making it four. A poor attempt at a back pass was intercepted by Samson inside the area but Hay did well at his right post to block the shot behind for a corner. When the corner came in it was only cleared as far as Ballantyne at the edge of the area who sent his shot over the bar in what proved to be the last chance of the match.

A good win for the Bot who travel through to the kingdom of Fife next Saturday to face Raith Rovers in the senior cup.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, Park, McCracken, Ballantyne, Taylor, Graham Wilson, Samson, Shankland, Crawford

Subs – Boylan, White, Mason, Wardrope

Neilston – Hay, Halliday, MacKinnon, Doyle, Clark, Gallacher, Convery, Smith, Fletcher, Jones, Reilly

Subs – Henry, Adam, Davis, Haddow, Hamilton

Aaron Fairbairn

Ali Boyle

BIO: Ali was signed at the beginning of November 2022 from Craigmark Burntonians. The talented youngster can play anywhere in midfield and definitely knows where the goals are. Ali will be another player that manager Tommy Sloan has brought up from the lower leagues and with Tuckers track record no doubt Ali is going to fit in well at Beechwood.

Auchinleck Talbot v Muirkirk Juniors

Talbot kept their winning streak going with a 4-1 win over Muirkirk to book their place in the 2nd round of the West of Scotland cup.

The Bot nearly opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. Taylor played it through the centre to find Samson but he was stretching as he hit and prodded it just wide of the left post.

In the 8th minute Aiden Wilson forced a corner out on the left and when Taylor’s low driven corner kick came over NEIL MCPHERSON met it to side-foot it home.

The visitors had an effort on target in the 14th minute. McPherson cleared O’Neill’s ball into the area but it came out to Collins at the edge of the box and he drilled a low shot on goal that Leishman smothered.

Crawford had a chance to double Talbot’s lead in the 17th minute after Boyle conceded a needless corner. When the corner came over from the right Crawford met it 6 yards out but powered his header over the bar.

In the 23rd minute Bogle produced a good save to prevent Talbot moving further ahead. Stafford drove forward before squaring the ball inside to Taylor. He slid it right to find Crawford breaking into the area and his strike was turned round the left post.

The Muirkirk keeper did well again two minutes later. Leishman bowled it out to Wardrope on the right touchline and he hit a quick diagonal pass looking to find Taylor as he raced forward but Bogle was quickly off his line to clear.

Talbot were forced into a change in the 34th minute when Wardrope took a knock and left the field to be replaced by Graham Wilson.

Crawford had his name taken a minute later for a shirt tug on O’Neill. Clark took the resultant free kick and curled it into the goal mouth where McPherson headed clear.

In the final minute of the half Taylor gathered out on the left and passed it inside to Samson who in turn teed it up for Shankland who drove it over the bar from 20 yards and the sides went in with Talbot a goal ahead.

Talbot made a positive start to the 2nd half with Taylor skinning his man down the left and sliding it inside for Samson who fell foul of a marginal offside call.

In the 49th minute Armstrong’s ball in behind found Samson racing down the left and his ball across goal was bundled behind for a corner by Boyle at the back post. When the corner came in McPherson met it and his header was cleared off the line just inside the left post.

Muirkirk gave the small band of travelling fans something to shout about when they grabbed the equaliser in the 50th minute. The defence didn’t clear a ball into the area and as it broke off a defender it landed at the feet of COLLINS on the left of the box and he placed it into the top corner to make it 1-1.

The loss of the goal galvanised Talbot and they moved back in front in the 53rd minute. Stafford was fouled out by the touchline and when Shankland whipped the free kick into the box KIER SAMSON swept it home from close range.

Clark then picked up a caution for a late sliding tackle on Taylor as he broke forward.

In the 57th minute Talbot won a free kick 30 yards from goal out on the right following a foul on Shankland. He took it himself and delivered it beyond the back post where NEIL MCPHERSON met it to squeeze a header inside the right post from a tight angle.

On the hour mark Muirkirk made a change with Gray coming on for Hay.

Talbot were controversially reduced to 10 men in the 62nd minute. Armstrong went into a full blooded challenge on Wight which seemed hard but fair, taking the ball first, but the referee shocked the home fans when he produced a straight red.

The loss didn’t change the momentum of the game and Talbot continued to push forward and nearly added to their lead in the 65th minute. Graham Wilson hit the bye line before pulling it back to Taylor who saw his first effort blocked and his subsequent attempt cleared off the line.

Muirkirk made a triple change in the 66th minute with Peck, Monan and McLean coming on for Marriott, Wight and Gordon.

Taylor did well in the 70th minute, turning Bryan inside out inside the area, before firing just wide of the right post.

A minute later Talbot did grab their 4th goal to put the game beyond any doubt. Aiden Wilson’s cross was headed behind for a corner on the left which Shankland delivered to the back post where NEIL MCPHERSON met it unchallenged to head home for his hat-trick.

In the 76th minute Bryan conceded a free kick 19 yards out for a barge on Samson. Shankland went for goal but his shot slipped just wide of the right post and into the side-netting.

Ten minutes from time Shankland’s disguised pass opened up the defence as Crawford raced down the right. He cut it back into the path of Samson whose shot was blocked behind for a corner.

With 7 minutes remaining Talbot made a double change. Samson and Shankland making way for the return of Boyd from injury and Fairbairn from the under 20 squad.

Fairbairn made an immediate impact bursting forward on the right before helping the ball onto Boyd who saw his shot blocked.

In the final minute of regulation time Muirkirk had a good chance to snatch a late consolation effort. Monan met O’Neill’s cross from the right but sent his header just over the bar.

Deep into injury time Fairbairn slid a pass through to Taylor inside the area and he managed to get away from a couple of challenges before hitting a low drive on target that Bogle held.

A comfortable enough win in the end for Talbot who are back on cup duty next Saturday when they host Neilston in the South Challenge cup.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Ballantyne, Armstrong, Wardrope, Taylor, Samson, Shankland, Crawford

Subs – Graham Wilson, Fairbairn, White, Mason, Boyd

Muirkirk – Bogle, Collins, Marriott, Bryan, Boyle, Rough, O’Neill, Hay, Wight, Gordon, Clark

Subs – Peck, Monan, Patton, Gray, McLean, Bishop

Kilwinning Rangers v Auchinleck Talbot

Talbot hit 6 as they hit top gear to blow away the Buffs at a wet, windswept Kilwinning sports stadium.

The Buffs were intent on creating their own problems in the opening spell, trying and failing to play the ball out from the back whilst Talbot snapped into a high press. In the opening minute Shankland latched onto a poor ball from the back and played it through for Boylan who was just beaten to it by Gordon.

Three minutes in and Armstrong pounced on a poor clearance and headed for the box before brought down – resulting in a Talbot free kick 25 yards out. MICHAEL WARDROPE took it and Gordon could only stand and watch as it sailed over the wall and under the bar to put Talbot into an early lead.

Kilwinning responded positively and put the Bot defence under a period of pressure as they pegged Talbot back and won a string of corners but the Bot defence held out.

With 17 mins on the clock Talbot won a penalty. McPherson flighted a free kick up the right that Graham Wilson headed on and when Park went down under a challenge from the back the ref pointed to the spot. MARK SHANKLAND stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to double Talbot’s lead.

The penalty award didn’t go down well with the Buffs bench and before play could resume one of the coaching staff was shown a red card and made the short journey up to the clubhouse.

In the 19th minute Kilwinning won a free kick out on the left which Wood curled into the centre where it came off a defender’s head and dropped just over the crossbar. The resultant corner was whipped into the back post but no one read it and it headed out for a goal kick.

Talbot got in behind the home defence in the 27th minute. Graham Wilson’s bending ball up the left found Wardrope in behind and he fired a good early ball across that just eluded Boylan in front of goal.

Kilwinning were showing signs of frustration and with half an hour gone Marshall opted to go for goal from a free kick all of 40 yards out and unsurprisingly hoofed it miles over.

Two minutes later Talbot were back on the attack when Wardrope slipped a pass through the defence. Boylan was just beaten to it by Gordon and the loose ball came to Shankland who couldn’t get his shot away and had to settle for a corner.

The Buffs picked up a caution in the 36th minute when a defender went through the back of Shankland.

Talbot were looking dangerous on the break and in the 38th minute Boylan skinned Nicoll before racing up the left wing. He cut it back toward Wardrope but he was well challenged inside the area before he could get the shot off.

Five minutes before the interval Boylan received a yellow card following an aerial challenge with the Buffs keeper and a minute later Nicoll was cautioned for flooring Shankland.

In the closing moments of the half Talbot won a free kick outside the box for a trip on Park. Wardrope angled the ball across trying to find Graham Wilson but it was just taken off him by a deflection for a corner and Talbot had to settle for the two goal cushion.

Talbot had no thought of resting on their laurels and made the early running after the re-start. Boylan freed Shankland on the right edge of the area but he was well-tackled as he tried to cut inside.

Stafford then did well, bursting between 2 defenders, to make the bye line and drill it low across goal where Gordon smothered it at the near post.

Kilwinning now made a change with Gavin Millar on for Chris Millar.

The Bot won a free kick just wide of the box in the 50th minute when M Millar caught Boylan as he raced onto a ball over the top. Wardrope took it and swept a great ball beyond the back post where McCracken met it unchallenged but he sent his header into the side-netting.

Leishman wasn’t called upon too often but when he was he proved equal to the task. He made a good stop to his left to turn away a powerful drive from the edge of the area and also recovered in time to block the rebound, though it wouldn’t have counted in any case as the assistant flagged for offside.

Graham Wilson was the next into the book for – receiving a booking for an aerial challenge in the Buffs half.

Talbot now made a change with Boylan going off following a heavy knock to be replaced by Samson.

The game was effectively over as a contest in the 63rd minute when Talbot grabbed their 3rd. Samson hunted down a ball in behind the defence and pressured Gordon into a hurried clearance. He hit it straight out to Graham Wilson who teed it up for MARK SHANKLAND and he took his time before slotting the ball home.

The Buffs now made a triple change with MacIntyre, Marshall and Lamont making way for Lewis, MacCalman and Stuart.

Gordon prevented Talbot from extending their lead in the 66th minute. Samson met Wardrope’s corner from the left and his powerful header was well saved by the keeper.

In the 73rd minute Talbot made a double switch with Taylor and Ballantyne coming on for Shankland and Graham Wilson.

With the Buffs pushing bodies forward they were vulnerable on the break and were nearly caught out with 15 mins remaining. Samson swept a quick ball right to left to find Wardrope racing in on goal but the ball broke off him and ran through to the keeper.

With 12 mins remaining Talbot made a further change with new signing Ali Boyle on for his debut in place of Wardrope and the new face made an early impact as his accurate early pass released KIER SAMSON through the centre to tuck home goal no. 4 in the 81st minute.

A minute later Boyle hit another good early ball but this time Gordon was quickly out his box to beat Samson to it and clear for a shy.

Five minutes from time Talbot made it 5. Samson sped away on the left and quickly switched it to the opposite flank where ROSS TAYLOR cut inside into the box before placing it beyond Gordon.

In the 87th minute Samson appeared set to race through on the end of Taylor’s well-weighted pass but he was halted in his tracks by a dubious offside decision.

In the final minute of normal time the Buffs were reduced to 10 men. Armstrong was caught by a late tackle and at first the referee only produced a yellow before he belatedly realised that he’d already booked him and sent him off – with Kilwinning’s strip design it was difficult to see which number he wore.

Talbot wrapped up the scoring in injury time. Taylor showed neat footwork inside the area to skip away from MacCalman who promptly went through the back of him. The ref pointed to the spot and KIER SAMSON drilled it past Gordon to make the final score 6-0 to Talbot.

Off the top of my head, this must be one of Talbot’s largest winning margins on the road in a league game, certainly for some time and a good 3 points on the board and boost to the goal difference.

Next up, Talbot are back in cup action this Saturday when they host Muirkirk in the West of Scotland.

Kilwinning Rangers – Gordon, Boland, Mark Millar, Nicoll, Marshall, Chris Millar, Wood, MacIntyre, Mackin, Collins, Lamont

Subs – Torrance, Lewis, MacCalman, Stuart, Gavin Millar, McMahon, Henderson

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Wardrope, Park, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Shankland

Subs – Taylor, Samson, Mason, Crawford, Ballantyne, Boyle

Auchinleck Talbot v Glenafton Athletic

Tucker must have fired a rocket or two at half-time as Talbot went from a damp squib of a first half to a different level after the break to run out comfortable winners over Glenafton.

The opening effort came in the 3rd minute when Stevenson hurtled a shot on target from 40 yards that flew straight at Leishman.

Talbot’s first threat came in the 10th minute when Shankland fed the ball to Boylan down the left and he played it low into the centre where Park just failed to reach it and Markey gathered.

Two minutes later a Glens defender was caught on the ball by Boylan who robbed him before sliding it to Shankland in space to his right. He blasted it on target where Markey blocked it with his legs.

With quarter of an hour gone Talbot fell behind, thanks in large part to the assistant ref. A ball in behind down the right found KERR who looked a couple of yards offside but the flag stayed down and he ran on before slotting the ball past Leishman.

Two minutes later Talbot won a free kick in a good area when Wardrope was fouled just outside the area. Shankland took it but his shot hit off the wall and spun behind for the corner.

In the 24th minute Talbot nearly drew level through an own goal. Wardrope played it out left to Aiden Wilson and he in turn fed it up the line to Graham Wilson whose dangerous cross hit off McMullin and went just wide of the right post.

It was Glenafton’s turn to threaten the Bot goal in the 32nd minute. Stevenson won a free kick 35 yards out which Paton played into the area. McPherson managed to head it clear but Glenafton retrieved it outside the area and played it to Stevenson on the right. He got past his man and knocked over a dangerous cross that was heading for Kerr at the back post til McCracken got a slight touch on it to put it behind for the corner.

A defensive blunder gave Talbot their next opening. McMullin’s back pass was too heavy and Markey was at full stretch to prevent it going out for a corner; however he only succeeded in playing the ball straight to Boylan. He passed it to Shankland who swept a cross over to the back post but there were no takers.

In the 40th minute Rowe had his name taken for taking out Park and moments later Shankland was up in arms when he latched onto Wardrope’s through ball and thought he was clean through only for a marginal offside call to go against him.

Shortly before half-time McCracken took a knock when challenging Murphy but was able to run it off and the sides went in with Glens having a slender lead at the break.

Talbot made a change during the break with Samson on in place of Boylan.

The Bot made the perfect start to the 2nd half – drawing level within a minute of the restart. From a shy on the left Graham Wilson played it on to Shankland who hit the bye line and swung over a cross for KIER SAMSON to head home from close range.

In the 49th minute Talbot had a good chance to take the lead. Graham Wilson fired a ball in from the left that saw shouts for handball. Nothing was given and the ball broke to Shankland 12 yards out but he sent his right foot shot wide of the left post.

The Glens then nearly regained the lead in their next attack. The defence stood off Sean McKenzie and he slid a pass in behind to send Kerr through on the keeper but Leishman spread himself to make a big save.

Talbot were soon back on the attack and the Glens defence did well in the 52nd minute to cut out Samson’s cross before it found Shankland in space in front of goal.

Two minutes later Wardrope gathered on the left and swung a good cross over to the far post which just eluded Graham Wilson and Samson.

The Bot’s next chance came from a well-worked counter-attack. Wardrope hit a good early ball to find Samson racing down the left and he switched it to the far side of the area to pick out Shankland racing in on goal but Markey got down to make a good save to deny him but there was nothing he could do seconds later when the ball came out to MICHAEL WARDROPE 25 yards from goal who arrowed a shot across goal and into the far corner to put Talbot ahead after 56 mins.

Within a minute Talbot nearly added to their lead. Armstrong’s pass found Shankland in space inside the box and his angled drive took a slight deflection as it headed wide of the right hand post. Wardrope took the resultant corner and delivered it into a good area but no one could get a touch on it.

The chances kept coming and Markey produced a good stop in the 59th minute to prevent Talbot extending their lead. Samson raced onto Shankland’s cutback and drilled a powerful shot on target that the keeper managed to block.

In the 62nd minute route one almost paid off for the Bot. Samson challenged for Leishman’s long ball down the centre and the ball broke back to the feet of Park. He dinked a pass through the defence for Samson that had just a fraction too much on it for him to get on the end of it and Markey was able to gather.

A minute later Armstrong chipped a ball down the right that Shankland headed on into the path of Samson whose low drive produced a fine save from Markey who turned it behind. When Wardrope’s corner came over MARK SHANKLAND met it inside the front post to glance a header home to make it 3-1.

Glenafton now made a change with Cameron McKenzie coming on for Stevenson and Talbot made their 2nd change soon after with Taylor on for Shankland.

In the 69th minute Taylor cut in off the left and fired a shot at goal that was blocked into the path of Wardrope on the right. His cross took a deflection as it dropped just over the bar to land on the roof of the net.

The Glens now made a further change with Kerr making way for Blyth.

With quarter of an hour remaining McPherson did well, out-muscling Cameron McKenzie before lifting a ball over the defence that Markey had to race out his area to head clear to prevent Taylor getting on the end of it.

A minute later Glenafton had a chance to pull one back when Sean McKenzie’s cutback from the right found Blyth in space inside the area but he lashed his shot over the bar.

Talbot now made a double switch with Park and Graham Wilson making way for Ballantyne & Crawford.

With 10 minutes remaining McKee swung a good cross beyond the back post where Cameron McKenzie headed it back down and across. Paton was first to it but his shot for goal was blocked by McCracken.

Six minutes from time Armstrong picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Blyth.

A minute later Talbot were in behind the Glens defence when Armstrong’s header found its way through to Samson who hit it first time sending it wide of the right hand post.

Two minutes from time Talbot had a strong penalty appeal dismissed. A ball was flighted in behind the defence for Samson to chase. Pettigrew just got there first but then stumbled and appeared to handle the ball on the deck but the referee waved play on.

Deep into injury time Talbot almost added a fourth. Ballantyne’s ball in from the left broke to Taylor in space on the left of the area and he tried to pass it into the far corner only for Markey to dive to his left to make the stop.

A good win for Talbot who similarly to last week could have won by a bigger margin. Next up Talbot are on their travels as they head through to Kilwinning on Wednesday night to face the Buffs.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Wardrope, Park, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Shankland

Subs – Taylor, Samson, Mason, Crawford, Ballantyne, White

Glenafton Athletic – Markey, El-Zubaidi, McMullin, Pettigrew, Rowe, Paton, McKee, S McKenzie, Kerr, Stevenson, Murphy

Subs – Caldwell, Blyth, Nisbet, Martin, Okane, C McKenzie

Auchinleck Talbot v Darvel


Talbot produced their A game when it mattered to see off Darvel in an enthralling Scottish Junior cup tie at Beechwood.

The Bot had the 1st chance of the afternoon. Graham Wilson’s ball up the left found Boylan and he held it up before squaring it across to Park who snatched his shot well wide of target.

Eight minutes in and the referee, for the first but not the last time, infuriated the home support when he harshly booked Graham Wilson for backing in at a shy.

In the 12th minute Boylan had an opportunity when he pounced on a loose square pass by the Darvel defence but he drilled his shot straight at Avici.

A minute later Talbot won a corner down the left when Shankland caught a defender dawdling on the ball. The corner was taken short and Wardrope swung a great cross beyond the far post where Armstrong rose to head it back across goal but it cannoned off Boylan and behind for the goal kick.

Darvel’s first chance came in the 14th minute when McGowan won a corner down the left. When the corner came over toward the back post Robertson got his head to it but his header back across goal drifted well wide of target.

The referee angered the Bot support again in the 16th minute. Talbot thought they’d won a free kick around halfway for a foul on Wardrope but the referee booked Talbot’s midfielder for diving.

Two minutes later Darvel threatened down the right when Reilly fed it back to Morrison and his dangerous cross was sliced behind by Stafford.

Consistency was obviously not a consideration for the ref in the 21st minute when Eadie threw himself down looking for a foul and the ref waved play on but chose not to book the Darvel man.

In Darvel’s next attack McShane had a chance to shoot from just outside the box but instead tried to slip a pass through to Morrison but McPherson read it and got across to clear it.

Darvel were having a good spell of pressure and they had a half chance in the 22nd minute when Stirling squared the ball across to Reilly 20 yards out but his shot was blocked en route by Armstrong.

No could accuse the referee of being a homer and he had the Bot fans up in arms again in the 24th minute when Graham Wilson was caught late in a sliding tackle. It was a foul and probably a booking but the ref gave nothing.

In the 29th minute McShane won Darvel a corner down the right. When it came over it landed at Robertson on the left of the area and his deflected cross skipped off the head of McCracken and Leishman beat it away only for it to hit off a Bot defender and go just wide of the post.

On the half hour mark, Shankland thought he’d beaten the offside trap as he burst through the middle but the assistant flagged for offside and Shankland was then cautioned for dissent.

Two minutes later Talbot grabbed the opener. Leishman knocked it forward and Graham Wilson then Shankland helped it on to find Boylan inside the penalty area. He cut inside Meechan who sent him tumbling and the ref pointed to the spot. MARK SHANKLAND took it and kept a cool head to dink a panenka down the centre to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.

Unfortunately, the Bot’s lead proved to be short-lived as Talbot gifted Darvel an equaliser in the 36th minute. There appeared to be no danger when Darvel hit a long diagonal ball from left to right but Aiden Wilson and Leishman got into a fankle just outside the penalty area and STIRLING was left with the simple task of passing the ball into the empty net.

However 3 minute later Talbot regained the lead thanks to a howler from Avici. For reasons unknown the Darvel keeper collected a back pass and attempted to run with it only for BRYAN BOYLAN to stick in a leg to steal it and roll into the empty goal.

The Bot could have extended their lead shortly before the break. Shankland slid a great square pass inside to find Wardrope running onto it inside the area but his shot went straight at the keeper and the sides went in with Talbot a goal to the good.

Talbot came out flying in the 2nd half and had a good chance to move 2 ahead in the 47th minute. Boylan got free on the right of the area and he pulled it back to the unmarked Shankland but his effort from 12 yards was well-saved by Avici. The referee then booked Meechan who had committed a foul in the build-up.

In the 53rd minute Talbot missed a golden chance to extend their lead. Stafford’s ball down the right was met by Boylan who laid off to Shankland. He in turn back-heeled the ball to Boylan who took it round the keeper and tried to pass it into the net only for a Darvel defender to clear it off the goal line.

Talbot were breaching the Darvel defence at will and in the 55th minute a good ball in behind the defence sent Boylan free down the left but he fired his shot wide of target.

Boylan had his name taken in the 58th minute for dissent.

With an hour gone Talbot came close again to grabbing their third. Graham Wilson hooked the ball down the left to send Boylan through one on one with the keeper. His low drive was blocked by Avici and spun to Shankland whose follow-up effort was cleared off the line.

Darvel weren’t at the races and made a quadruple substitution in the 62nd minute with Mackenzie, Morrison, Reilly and McGowan making way for Moore, Caldwell, Glasgow and Allan.

Talbot nearly paid for their missed chances in the 68th minute. Stirling cut in off the left and cut it back to Glasgow whose shot clattered the right hand post.

Having survived that scare Talbot then nearly scored at the other end. Boylan beat his ma on the right side of the box and angled a low drive across goal but once again Avici produced a good stop.

Moments later Boylan got in behind the defence and took it wide of the keeper before chipping it back towards Shankland but McShane got there first to volley it over his own bar..

In the 71st minute Talbot made a double switch up top with Shankland and Boylan making way for Samson and Taylor.

Moore then became the latest name in the book for a clumsy aerial challenge on McCracken.

Avici was single-handedly defying Talbot and the keeper reacted quickly again in the 74th minute when Wardrope slid a pass through to Samson in the centre of the box; the keeper racing off his line to make the block and taking a knock for his trouble.

With 10 minutes to go Darvel broke down the right and Meechan’s low ball into the box was sliced over his own bar by Armstrong. When the corner came over Leishman took it comfortably.

In the 83rd minute the ref waved away strong Talbot claims for a free kick and possible red card when Avici raced to the edge of his area and appeared to grab the ball outside the box to prevent Samson from getting to it but the ref ignored Talbot’s appeals.

A minute later the game was done & dusted as Talbot finally grabbed their third. Taylor climbed well to meet a ball chipped into the area and headed it back down and across for KIER SAMSON to fire past the keeper.

Darvel’s misery was complete in the 88th minute when they were reduced to 10 men. Allan forearm smashed Taylor as they chased after a ball in the Bot half and the ref produced a straight red.

From the resultant free kick Talbot flighted the ball up the centre where it broke back to Park who struck it well but his effort flew over the bar from 25 yards.

An excellent win for Talbot, who could and should have won by a more convincing margin, and now face the short trek to Cumnock in the next round.

Next up though it’s back to league business when Glenafton visit Beechwood next Saturday with Talbot looking to keep their momentum going against their local rivals.

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Wardrope, Park, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Shankland

Subs – Taylor, Mason, Samson, Ballantyne, Crawford, White

Darvel – Avici, Meechan, Eadie, Meggatt, McGowan, Reilly, Robertson, McShane, Morrison, Mackenzie, Stirling

Subs – Allan, Kirkpatrick, Moore, Truesdale, Caldwell, Glasgow, Scott

Bo’ness United v Auchinleck Talbot


Talbot did it the hard way – edging a nerve wracking 2nd round tie after penalties to book their place in Monday’s 3rd round draw of the senior cup.

The Bot made a sprightly start to this tie and in the 1st minute Shankland fed the ball into Samson on the left of the area who turned his man and whipped in a dangerous cross that was well cleared.

Talbot continued to press but were sucker punched in the 6th minute when Bo’ness opened the scoring the first time they’d been in the Talbot half. Stevenson spread the ball out to the overlapping Hawkins whose cross into the centre was headed clear. It came out to GEMMEL just outside the box and he thumped a shot into the roof of the net giving Leishman no chance.

The game now became very stop/start with Talbot winning a series of free kicks 30+ yards out but unable to produce a ball into the box that got the better of the home sides defence.

In the 19th minute Walker had his name taken for a late challenge on Wardrope and two minutes later McCormack was fortunate not to join him in the ref’s book when he was penalised for the 2nd time for a clumsy aerial challenge.

Both sides were competing fiercely in midfield but with neither making any openings in the final third.

On the half hour mark Wardrope slung over a good cross from the right touchline but it just eluded G Wilson and Samson in the centre.

In the 37th minute Talbot won a free kick wide of the Bo’ness penalty area after Miller clipped Graham Wilson’s heels. Wardrope curled it beyond the back post where McCracken got a glancing header on it but it went well wide.

Three minutes later Talbot won another free kick in a dangerous area – this time wide on the right following Genmel’s shirt tug on Samson for which he was booked. Wardrope fired it into the centre but as they’d done all first half Bo’ness did well to head it clear under pressure.

A minute before the interval Samson was almost through on the keeper as he raced onto a ball through the centre but McCormack got back to make a crucial recovery tackle to clear the danger.

The half ended in controversy when Genmel caught Shankland late. It looked as though the ref was reaching for his pocket but then thought better of it when he realised Genmel had already been booked and this sparked a protest from the Talbot bench which saw Alan McCluckie booked for dissent, shortly before the sides trooped off the field.

Talbot came out strongly at the start of the 2nd half and won a free kick 30 yards from goal in the 47th minute. Shankland went for goal but his shot hit off the wall and spun behind for a corner which Talbot wasted.

Two minutes later Talbot came within a whisker of drawing level. Aiden Wilson’s cross broke into the path of Shankland inside the area and he aimed a low shot just inside the right hand post that saw Dibaga dive full length to tip it round the post.

Talbot’s pressure paid off in the 53rd minute when the Bot grabbed the equaliser. A good passing move saw the ball moved from the left into Shankland in the centre. He might have opted to go for goal himself from 18 yards but slotted the ball to his right to find ALLY PARK in space and he blasted a shot across Dibaga and into the far corner to make it 1-1.

Two minutes later Graham Wilson met a shy from the left and touched it into the path of McCracken 20 yards out but his shot flew over the target.

The home side now made a change with Watt coming on for Miller.

In the 57th minute Talbot won a free kick 40 yards out following Locke’s foul on Samson. Wardrope whipped a great ball over and Graham Wilson looked set to score but fired wide though it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the assistant flagged for offside.

Bo’ness hadn’t really been seen as an attacking force since the re-start but they gave Talbot a scare in the 62nd minute. Watt looked suspiciously offside as he ran onto a ball over the top but the flag stayed down and he cut the ball back across goal to Smith but it went behind him and with his back to goal he wasn’t able to turn on it. He knocked it back to Watt at the edge of the area but he was closed down as he went to shoot.

The home fans appealed for a penalty in the 65th minute when Walker got away down the right and pulled it back into the path of Genmel whose shot was blocked. Bo’ness appealed for handball but the officials weren’t interested.

Tucker now made a double switch up top with Shankland & Samson making way for Boylan & Mason.

Both sides soon made further changes with Bo’ness bringing on Hamilton in place of Smith and Talbot introducing Taylor for Park.

Taylor made an early impact winning Talbot a free kick on the right angle of the penalty area when he was tumbled over. Wardrope swung it into the centre where Graham Wilson headed it wide but once again the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.

In the 73rd minute Taylor surged in off the right and ran toward the box. Graham Wilson took over just outside the penalty are but was crowded out and the chance was lost.

Bo’ness now made a further change with Grant on for Hughes.

Talbot won umpteen free kicks and won another in the 76th minute when Wardrope was fouled 30 yards from goal. Wardrope took it himself and sent a shot sailing over the wall that forced a good stop from Dibaga who dived to his left to turn it wide.

In the 81st minute Bo’ness put together a good move down the right that saw Watt cut the ball back from the right into the path of Walker but his shot was deflected wide of target off one of his team mates.

Talbot then threatened down the other end when Wardrope swept over a great cross from the right that Graham Wilson met but he was stretching to reach in it and could only glance wide of target.

In the 83rd minute Talbot had a great chance to take the lead. Taylor’s pass found Mason in space inside the area. He took a good 1st touch but didn’t seem to realise how much time or space he had and pulled a right foot shot wide of the right post.

With 3 minutes to go Walker tumbled inside the Talbot box looking for a penalty but the referee waved away their appeals.

As the game moved into injury time Taylor whipped over a great ball from the right that looked to be heading for Boylan but McCormack did well to intercept and head it over his own bar and the Bo’ness defence managed to deal with the resulting corner.

Deep into injury time Talbot had a glorious chance to win it with what would have been the last kick of the ball. Mason’s pass sent Boylan free on the left. He burst through on goal but opted to take it early rather than carry on into the box and fired his shot wide of target.

It was now down to extra time though this was delayed by the bizarre spectacle of a rammy breaking out in the Bo’ness dug-out. The altercation went on for a few minutes, with Todd very fortunate not to be sent off before he even came on, but somehow the match officials all contrived to miss it.

When extra time did finally get under way it was the home side who made the early running. They had a great chance within a minute of added time when a cross from the right was met by McCormack in the centre but he sent his free header wide of goal.

Bo’ness now made a further change with Todd coming on to replace Locke.

Play was going from end to end with Wardrope firing a half-volley wide of the left post from distance and moments later Grant trying to thread a pass through to Walker inside the penalty box but it was a shade too hard and Leishman gathered.

In the 96th minute Graham Wilson held the ball up well under pressure before releasing it to Taylor on the right and his ball across the face of goal only needed a touch but there were no takers.

Two minutes later Boylan had a half chance on the right of the penalty area but his shot lacked the power to test the keeper. The referee then booked Graham Wilson for an earlier incident out on the left which owed more to the reaction of the Bo’ness players and fans as the referee clearly hadn’t seen it.

In the 102nd minute Taylor was cautioned for a late challenge as Bo’ness broke down the left.

In the final action of the 1st period of added time Graham Wilson knocked the ball into the path of Boylan on the right of the box but he lost his footing and the chance was gone.

The 2nd period saw both teams tiring with fewer attacks though Bo’ness had a good chance to snatch it in the 113th minute when Stevenson gathered on the left in space and angled the ball back into the path of Grant who fired over the bar from 15 yards.

Talbot had to make an enforced change a minute later when Mason hobbled from the field to be replaced by Crawford.

The game ended with another flurry of yellow cards. Armstrong was cautioned for a shove on Hamilton and then Todd received a booking for dissent.

In the final seconds of the match Bo’ness conceded a corner down the left which the defence failed to clear. Two defensive headers went straight up into the air and the ball fell to Crawford on the right of the area who went down inside the box but was booked for simulation.

After 120 hard fought minutes it was now down to penalties to decide it.

First up it as Boylan for Talbot and he drilled the ball low inside the right hand post as Dibaga went the other way.

Grant was first up for Bo’ness and made no mistake as he blasted it high down the middle.

Next up for Talbot it was Graham Wilson and he replicated Boylan’s earlier effort – sending the keeper the wrong way.

It was now Walker’s turn for Bo’ness and Leishman went the right way – diving to his right to touch it onto the post and it was now advantage Talbot.

Gareth Armstrong made it 3-1 to Talbot with an almost identical penalty to the first two successful efforts.

Stevenson pulled one back for Bo’ness to make it 3-2 before Taylor rattled a confident penalty inside the left hand post to put Talbot 4-2 ahead.

It was now sudden death with Hamilton needing to score but he kept his cool – placing it inside the right post to make it 4-3.

Wardrope stepped up for Talbot and beat Dibaga with a well-placed pen inside the right post to send Talbot into the next round.

A good away win over Lowland League opposition and next up for Talbot it is back to Beechwood where they host high flying Darvel in the Scottish Junior cup.

Bo’ness United – Dibaga, Hawkins, Jacobs, McCormack, Locke, Genmel, Miller, Hughes, Smith, Stevenson, Walker

Subs – MacAuley, Grant, Hamilton, Heeps, Watt, Todd, Ward, Johnston, Sanchez (gk)

Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, McCracken, Armstrong, Park, Wardrope, Graham Wilson, Samson, Shankland

Subs – Mason, Boylan, Taylor, Crawford, White, Hewitt (gk)