PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
Talbot were the definite saints and sinners in this league encounter where they went from 4-1 up only to leave Barrfields with the narrowest of wins, although it was a valuable three points at a ground where today’s visitors tasted defeat. A decent crowd had gathered in the sun which was remarkable as the match clashed with the Vikingar Festival which provided a free air show during the half time interval.
Talbot who were playing in all blue took the lead as early as the 12th minute when a Willie Lyle cross was laid off by Graham Wilson into the path of Jamie Glasgow who’s shot was deflected into the path of Gareth Armstrong who set up Mark Shankland to pass the ball into the net.
Ten minutes later Talbot were 2-0 in front when the Talbot defense broke up a Largs attack where the ball was passed out to Stephen Wilson who’s slide rule ball up the wing was pounced on by Glasgow who out muscled his marker and although under pressure as he made his way into the box he kept a cool head and struck the ball past past Lundy the home keeper and into the net.
Talbot were three up on 39 minutes when Stephen Wilson collected the ball outside the Largs box where he picked out Mark Shankland who’s pinpoint cross was headed into the net by the unmarked Glasgow.
Talbot were still trying to sort out their defense after losing Neil McPherson to a hamstring injury and replacing him with Aiden Wilson when Largs struck. They had forced a corner on 44 minutes which McBryde dropped into the six yard box and was missed by the Talbot defence where George Sewell nodded past Leishman to fling the home side a lifeline.
The second half was three minutes started when Talbot made it 4-1 after S.Wilson and Shankland harried a defender into a poor clearance which Steven White passed into the feet of Shankland and his cross flew over the head of Lundy and into the net.
Near the hour mark the home side were back in the game when a speculative ball was lobbed into the box where Young got his head to it but seemed to be barged and the ball fel into no man’s land between Lyle and Leishman where Brophy pounced to tap the ball into the net.
In the final minute Largs got their third thanks to a clumsy penalty given away by Dillon Young. With the attacker be forced wide of the goals by Young he seemed to stumble on top of his opponent forcing a penalty which Jamie McKenna hammered past Leishman.
Photographs by Paul Flynn.
Talbot kicked off their league campaign with a well deserved away win at Barrfields.
Play took a while to settle but once Talbot found their feet it was the visitors who were taking the game to the home side.
The first clear opportunity came in the 9th minute. A long diagonal ball found Graham Wilson out on the left & he cut inside past Orr before drilling a shot inside the near post which Cousar did well to keep out.
A minute later Talbot threatened again. Shankland threaded a good pass through the defence to find Graham Wilson racing through on the right side of the area. Cousar was alive to the danger & again the keeper did well, coming quickly off his line & managing to get a block on it as Wilson attempted to clip the ball past him.
It was one-way traffic as far as goal threats were concerned and the next chance came Talbot’s way in the 18th minute. Stephen Wilson charged through the midfield, despite Fleming’s attempt to halt him, and fed the ball out to Graham on the left. He darted inside Orr & fired a shot across the face of goal & wide of the far post.
The referee then booked Fleming for his earlier foul on Stephen Wilson.
The game entered a scrappy phase with little of note occurring; Harvey became the 1st Talbot player in the book when he received a caution after half an hour for a foul on Carter.
Talbot broke the deadlock in the 35th minute. Lyle clipped a ball down the right into the Largs penalty area. Graham Wilson did well with his back to goal to hold off the challenge of Jamieson before squaring the ball across the 6-yard area where CALVIN KEMP slid it home at the back post.
Cousar came to the home side’s rescue again in the 38th minute. Armstrong climbed to flick on a long ball down the right to send Shankland racing clear of the defence but the keeper raced out of his box to slide the ball out of play.
Leishman had largely been a spectator but he was called into action in the 42nd minute. Harkins gathered outside the box & slipped a pass out to Carter on the left. He fired it low across goal & Leishman smothered it.
Talbot started the 2nd half positively, looking to grab a 2nd goal to give themselves a cushion. In the 50th minute Graham Wilson surged inside off the right & blasted a shot at goal but it was blocked by a wall of defenders.
Two minutes later Kemp did well, latching onto a long ball down the left, and although he was forced wide, he tested Cousar from a tight angle, drilling a low shot that the keeper blocked at his post.
The Bot kept the pressure up & created another chance soon after. Shankland lifted a deep cross beyond the back post where Graham Wilson headed it back down into the centre. Armstrong ran onto it but his shot was blocked by a defender & deflected over the bar.
Slack play at the back from the home side gifted Talbot their next chance in the 64th minute. Cousar rolled the ball out to McMaster & the full-back tried to play the ball across the edge of his own box. Kemp intercepted it & lashed a volley just past Cousar’s left post.
Armstrong had his name taken in the 69th minute for a challenge on McMaster.
Both sides then made a change a piece, Talbot bringing on Glasgow in place of Kemp & Largs replacing Fleming with Adam.
Adam’s introduction proved to be a cameo role, as he walked on then off before having a chance to touch the ball, receiving a straight red for elbowing McPherson when going for a high ball.
Talbot made a further change in the 76th minute with Hyslop coming on for Shankland.
It should have been game over a minute later. McPherson’s ball down the right found Glasgow in behind the defence. He floated a cross into the centre where Graham Wilson looked a cert but he went for power & hammered a volley over the bar from 5 yards.
Lyle became the 3rd Talbot player in the book when he was cautioned for a foul on Black.
With 10 minutes remaining Tucker made his final change with McIlroy on in place of Graham Wilson.
With only a goal in it Largs kept going til the end but without really mustering much of a threat. With 3 minutes remaining Pope had a half chance when he let fly from just outside the area but he didn’t catch it quite right & his shot skidded wide of the left post.
Talbot saw the closing stages out without any alarms to claim all 3 points. Next up for the Bot it is back to league duty when they host Troon in mid-week.
Largs Thistle – Cousar, Orr, McMaster, Little, Jamieson, Fleming, Black, Muir, Struthers, Harkins, Carter
Subs – Adam, McKie, McVey, Ewing, Graham
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McPherson, Armstrong, S Wilson, White, G Wilson, Shankland, Kemp
Subs – McIlroy, Glasgow, Hyslop, Waite, Hewitt
This end of season dead rubber lived up to its expectations providing the meager crowd that turned up zero entertainment as two patched together sides battled away to a no score bore.
With the Ayrshire Cup final looming Talbot introduced Colville Park Amateur player Thomas Airlie at right back with 52 year old Tommy Sloan grabbing a jersey. The game should have been won by Talbot due to a few good chances that were fashioned the best coming to Graham Wilson in the second half where he beat the offside trap only to smash the ball into the body of Largs keeper Lundy.
Talbot best spell came in the later stages of the first half with Tommy Sloan heading a Mark Shankland corner off the post and minutes later Dylan Stevenson found himself through on goals but shot well past. On the 26th minute Shankland and Wilson combined to give Bryan Young an opportunity and he pulled a decent save out of Lundy.
Largs had a good effort by Bennet but it was easily saved by Leishman, and soon after Jamieson kept the home sides hopes up when he blocked a Thompson netbound shot. The first half came to an end with Graham Wilson forcing Lundy into superb stop, while James Marks should have done better with a free header.
The second half was void of any real action and apart from Wilson’s squandered effort the game petered out without any major talking points.
Leishman, Airlie, McCracken, White, McPherson, Thompson, Young, Sloan, Shankland, G.Wilson, Stevenson. Subs: Latta, Lyle, S.Wilson, Hyslop, Hewitt