MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot advanced to the first final of the season courtesy of a hard fought away win over Beith.
The Bot made an uphill battle of shooting down the slope in a forgettable first half where the physios were kept busier than either keeper.
It was Beith who had the best of it in the 1st period & Bradley had the first effort at goal in the 10th minute when he fired a shot across goal & wide of Leishman’s right post.
Four minutes later Beith were back on the attack. A ball down the left found McIlroy just inside the area & he pulled a shot across goal & past the left post.
The home side had a decent chance in the 19th minute. Beith won a free kick inside their own half which Milliken lifted over to the far side. The Bot defence failed to cut it out & the ball came to Green in space on the right side of the penalty area but he slashed his shot wide from a good area.
Beith were forced into an early change after 24 minutes when Ramsay limped off to be replaced by Fisher.
A calculator would’ve been required to tally up all the free kicks the referee was awarding Beith & he granted them a particularly soft one in the 28th minute just outside the Talbot box. McGlinchey curled it over the wall & Leishman had to be on his toes to push it past the left post.
Then nothing very much happened, barring more free kicks & theatrics from Beith, until the closing minutes of the half when Talbot suddenly came alive.
A bout of heady tennis ended with Hyslop nodding the ball on into the path of McDowall & he drilled a low shot just past White’s right post from 25 yards.
Two minutes from the break Talbot nearly took the lead. A shy from the right found Glasgow who in turn passed it to Hyslop inside the area. He rolled it to his right where Stephen Wilson was in space & his angled shot was destined for the bottom corner until Milliken made an impressive goal line clearance to ensure the sides went in level.
The Bot made a change during the break with Stephen Wilson off and Corey Pearson on in his place.
Talbot had an early chance when Young surged forward from defence and played in Glasgow down the left. He lifted a cross over to the far side of the 6-yard box where Pearson volleyed well wide of target under pressure.
In the 49th minute Beith took the lead. Christie created it, haring down the right before cutting a low ball across the face of goal where MCILROY bundled it home from inside the 6-yard area.
Talbot responded positively to falling behind and came close to a leveller within a couple of minutes. Aiden Wilson floated a ball over from the left that Hyslop challenged for in the air. The ball broke to Pearson just outside the area & he fired a shot just past the right hand post.
The Beith defence were posted missing a minute later when Talbot grabbed the equaliser. Hyslop headed the ball on down the middle & JAMIE GLASGOW raced onto it past the static defence before drilling a low shot inside White’s right post to make it 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later the Bot almost went ahead. Hyslop’s pass to Glasgow was blocked at full stretch by a defender who knocked the ball straight into the path of Pearson who hammered an effort just wide of the left post.
The referee had to reach into his pocket soon after following an altercation between Glasgow & Green that saw both of them cautioned.
Beith’s main danger was Christie & the winger caused the Bot defence problems in the 61st minute when he picked it up midway inside the Bot half before driving into the box & hitting a powerful shot straight at Leishman.
Within a couple of minutes Pearson also had his name taken for a late challenge as the Bot conceded a free kick just outside their own area. McGlinchey took it & his effort clipped the wall before flying just past the left post.
In Talbot’s next attack Glasgow nearly raced clean through the centre of the home defence again but this time Milliken came good with a sliding tackle to deny him.
Talbot threatened the Beith goal twice in a row in the 67th minute. Glasgow capitalised on a defensive error to play in Pearson who burst through on the keeper; however, White stood his ground & Pearson went for power with the keeper able to parry it away. The rebound fell to Glasgow & his shot sailed past the stranded keeper only for Docherty to defy him with a goal line clearance.
White prevented Talbot from moving ahead in the 71st minute with a superb reflex stop. Lyle lifted it up the line to Glasgow who quickly fed it on to McKinlay on the right of the area & his shot was flying inside the left post til White dived to turn it past.
Beith’s defence was looking shaky and the home side conceded a penalty in the 74th minute. McPherson pinged a ball over the defence to find Glasgow breaking into the penalty area. He looked to cut in past Docherty who lost his footing & then prevented Glasgow knocking it past him by using his arm; resulting in a Bot spot kick and a booking for the defender. Glasgow took it but fired it more or less straight down the centre & White was able to save.
Having been well on top for awhile Talbot could have paid a price for failing to take their chances when Beith nearly regained the lead in the 77th minute. Hyslop lost the ball to Bradley who raced clear on the left before firing a dangerous ball into the near post that Lyle managed to clear.
A minute later Talbot had another close call down the other wing when Christie got away from Aiden Wilson & whipped a cross into the centre which McIlroy missed in front of goal.
Tucker now made a double switch up front with Graham Wilson & Shankland providing the fresh legs in place of McKinlay & Glasgow.
Pearson came close to breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute when he gathered in space 30 yards out & drove forward before cracking a shot just wide of the left post.
Play was now switching from end to end with both sides looking for a late winner as the prospect of a penalty shoot-out loomed ever nearer. With a minute remaining of regulation time McIlroy had his name taken when he clipped the heels of a Bot defender.
AJust when it seemed penalties were inevitable Talbot popped up with an injury time winner. Graham Wilson played it up the right to find Shankland just outside the area. He squared it inside to find Healy whose shot was blocked but it spun back out to MARK SHANKLAND on the right of the area & he kept a cool head to steer a low shot across White & inside the right post to seal the win for Talbot.
Next up for Talbot it is back to cup duties as they travel through to the east to face Camelon in the 2nd preliminary round of the William Hill Scottish cup this Saturday.
Beith Juniors – White, McGlinchey, Milliken, Docherty, Green, Wilson, Christie, Frize, McIlroy, Ramsay, Bradley
Subs – Haggarty, Fisher, McMahon, McKenzie, McQueen
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, Young, McPherson, Hyslop, Healy, Stephen Wilson, McKinlay, Glasgow, McDowall
Subs – Shankland, Graham Wilson, Pearson, Armstrong, Pope