PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot extended their lead at the top of the table thanks to a hard fought away win over a stuffy Glencairn side.
The Bot had an early opportunity after O’Byrne was penalised for a karate kick like challenge that resulted in a free kick 30 yards out. Shankland whipped it into the centre where Armstrong glanced a header wide of target.
The home side then threatened when a dangerous cross from the right had to be headed clear by White at the back post. The ball came out to the left of the area where Glencairn’s player saw his attempted shot blocked away by White.
The blustery conditions weren’t helping either side and little was happening in the final third.
Talbot did come close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when they won a corner down the right. Shankland drove the corner in low to the near post, where Armstrong got across his man to meet it but sent his shot just wide of the far post.
In the 25th minute Shankland was impeded down the left & took the free kick quickly to release Wilson on the overlap. He hit the bye line & cut a dangerous ball back across the face of goal but there were no takers in the centre.
A minute later Wilson won a corner down the left which Shankland played into the near post. O’Byrne clearly headed it over his own bar under pressure but the officials awarded the goal kick.
Talbot were doing well down the left & threatened again in the 31st minute when Wilson skipped past his man & drilled it into the near post; however Glencairn defended it well.
As the half drew to a close Glencairn had their best spell. White did well to head a cross from the right behind for a corner and when the corner came over Leishman was forced to touch it away behind for another corner. When this one came in Lone met it at the back post but couldn’t keep his header down and the sides went in level at the break.
Rutherglen made the early running in the 2nd half, Mitchell cutting in off the right, and firing on target but it went straight at Leishman.
The home side had another chance to test the Bot defence in the 51st minute when Shankland conceded a free kick wide on the right. The ball was crossed into the goal mouth where Leishman punched it clear.
Neither keeper had been over busy but McLellan produced a top save to prevent Talbot from taking the lead in the 54th minute. Shankland fed the ball to the overlapping Wilson & when he cut the ball back it broke into the path of Healy whose volley was brilliantly turned over the bar by the keeper.
Glasgow came within inches of putting Talbot ahead in the 63rd minute. The Bot won a free kick out on the right touchline for a foul on Armstrong & Samson rose to head on Shankland’s free kick. It fell to Glasgow on the left of the area & his right foot effort had the keeper well beaten but came back off the base of the left post.
McLellan got a lucky break in the 65th minute. A pass back to the keeper was a yard or two too short, allowing Samson to close him down and block his clearance. It could have went anywhere but unfortunately for Talbot it spun wide of goal.
Glencairn’s keeper was in action again in the 67th minute when he did well to prevent Shankland’s corner from the left creeping in under the bar; stretching to tip it away to safety.
Tucker now made a switch with McDowall on in place of Shankland.
McDowall was involved almost immediately. He gathered on the right & slid a diagonal pass to find Glasgow that was well cut out by the defence.
With quarter of an hour remaining Talbot made a further change with Hyslop replacing Healy.
Both sides had looked dangerous at set pieces and Talbot’s next effort at goal came from Glasgow’s corner on the left that White met at the near post & flicked just over the bar.
Glencairn’s most effective weapon was their long throw ins and it nearly paid off for them in the 82nd minute. A shy from the right was headed on at the near post and McIlveen hooked a shot just past Leishman’s right hand post.
Having survived this left off the Bot then swept down the other end and scored a fine goal to claim all 3 points. Glasgow played a neat one-two with JACK MCDOWALL who raced clear on the left before coolly passing the ball beyond the keeper into the bottom corner.
Glencairn then wheeled out their long throw specialist again to test the Bot defence. This time the shy was partially cleared and came to a Glencairn player at the edge of the area whose shot was blocked.
Action then switched to the other end when a Bot counter-attack saw Glasgow skin his man before whipping a cross over to the back post which just eluded the in rushing Armstrong.
Talbot held firm in the closing stages to see the game out for an impressive away win over a Glencairn side who were on a good run.
Next up, Talbot are back under the floodlights at Beechwood where they face Beith on Wednesday night.
Rutherglen Glencairn – McLellan, Shields, Schoneville, Coleman, O’Byrne, Leitch, McGuire, Wingate, McIlveen, Mitchell, Lone
Subs – Gormley, Pearson, Malcolm, Smith, Chrystal, Fraser, McGinley
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, White, Armstrong, Boyd, Healy, Shankland, Glasgow, Samson
Subs – Robbie McCracken, Hyslop, McDowall, Hastings, Hewitt