There wasn’t much on show to keep the fans excited at this league clash, with neither side creating many clear cut opportunities in a drab encounter.
The home side had an early chance when the ref, who had a poor afternoon, awarded them a soft free kick out on the touchline inside the 1st minute. McCrone whipped a dangerous ball across the face of goal but there were no takers & it went out for the goal kick.
One of the few efforts on target came in the 7th minute. Talbot were guilty of failing to clear their lines, allowing Blanco onto the ball at the edge of area. He fed it out to McCrone wide on the left & he blazed a fierce drive on target that Leishman had to help over the bar.
Talbot’s first chance came after 9 minutes. Milliken headed a ball down into the path of Shankland who cut in from the right before steering a low shot across goal and wide of the right post.
The home side put together a good move a minute later. Anson spread the ball out to McCrone whose deep cross was headed back across goal by Boyle but Lyle was there to clear in the centre.
Milliken tested Halliwell in the 17th minute. Young’s ball down the right found him breaking into the area and Halliwell could only parry his left foot drive before a defender swept the rebound behind for a corner.
Young’s corner was well delivered and Hyslop just failed to get on the end of it.
Talbot had a penalty shout in the 19th minute. Young appeared to be bundled over from behind as he burst into the area but the ref waved play on.
Talbot were enjoying the bulk of possession but the final ball was lacking and they had nothing to show for their efforts other than a few corners which the Ton defence defended well.
The game gradually degenerated into a midfield slog with the ball in the air more often than not and McCracken coming out in top in his personal aerial duel with Anson.
A rare moment of quality saw Talbot threaten in the 38th minute. McGoldrick’s perfectly weighted pass sent Young in behind McGuigan and his low ball across the goal mouth took a nick off Dickson & behind for the corner.
Despite plenty of effort from both sides neither team could make any headway in the final 3rd and the half-time whistle came as a relief.
The Bot made a brighter start to the 2nd half & came close in the 49th minute. Milliken dribbled clear on the left & drilled a good ball across the 6-yard area which Dickson hooked clear.
A minute later Talbot won a free kick out on the right. Lyle crossed it over onto the head of Hyslop who headed it across goal. Shankland got on the end of it & his low drive was deflected inches wide of Halliwell’s left post.
As the half wore on the chances dried up and the game again became a succession of head tennis & tackles in the middle third.
Tucker made his 1st change in the 66th minute with G Wilson on for Shankland.
Leishman had barely saw the ball in the 2nd half but came up with the goods when called upon in the 72nd min. McCrone lifted a ball over the defence to find Anson running through straight on goal. He went for accuracy rather than power & Leishman dived to his right to turn his side-footed effort past the post.
Talbot came within a fraction of taking the lead in the 74th minute. A free kick was awarded 30 yards out for handball & McCracken hammered a shot over the wall & inches past the left upright with Halliwell well beaten.
Two minutes later the Shettleston keeper again saved his side. Firstly, he was quickly off his line to block Hyslop’s effort after he was sent through by Wilson. The ball came to Milliken and his attempt came off a defender and behind for a corner. When the corner came over Hyslop met it unopposed and his header looked in all day, but Halliwell threw himself to his right to make a fantastic reaction save.
The referee had got a few minor decisions wrong and compounded his earlier errors with a terrible call in the 80th minute. Wilson went on a tremendous run, cutting in from the left & progressing up field despite a blatant shirt tug from McGuigan. He hammered through the centre & knocked it past McIntosh who took him out with no attempt to play the ball. Wilson would’ve been clean through on the keeper & it looked a certain red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity but the ref bottled it and booked both Shettleston players for their challenges on Wilson.
This was McIntosh’s last involvement as he was subbed soon after with McGillion coming on and Tucker made Talbot’s 2nd change with Gillies on for Milliken.
With 4 mins remaining White had an effort on target. He did well to win the ball just outside the Ton box & hit a 1st time shot but it went straight at Halliwell.
Shettleston then went straight down the pitch and had a chance to grab a late winner. Blanco got the better of McGoldrick on the right of the penalty area and fired a low shot on target from a tight angle which Leishman turned round the post.
Talbot made a late substitution with S Wilson on for Boyd and he had a half chance, moments after coming on. Pope pinged a great cross over the back post where Wilson looked set to meet it but he misjudged it and failed to connect with his head.
The Bot pushed forward in the closing minutes and Halliwell had to look sharp in the last minute to keep out Young. Pope lifted a ball in behind the defence for the run of Young but Halliwell read the danger & raced off his line to punch it clear.
Talbot have had better days at the office but with Pollok losing & the Glens and Troon drawing no harm was done to the title challenge. Next up for Talbot is a visit to Blair Park to face Hurlford in the last 8 of the Scottish.
Shettleston – Halliwell, McGuigan, Jugkowiak, Dickson, McIntosh, Dalzell, Blanco, Boyle, Anson, Parker, McCrone
Subs –McGillion, Mailey
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McGoldrick, McCracken, Boyd, Young, White, Milliken, Shankland, Hyslop
Subs – S Wilson, G Wilson, Gillies, Latta