PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
Talbot made it four league wins in a row as they saw off Blantyre Vics at Beechwood.
The Bot started strongly and came close to opening the scoring in the 3rd minute. Kerr caught White just outside the penalty area and Samson’s free kick flew just past Currie’s right hand post.
Six minutes in and a defensive blunder handed Talbot a chance from the penalty spot. Currie bowled the ball out to Marshall inside his own penalty area. Boylan read it, closed him down & dispossessed him resulting in Marshall up-ending Talbot’s striker. Samson took the spot kick but his shot clipped the top of the bar on its way over.
How Talbot failed to score in the 9th minute is a mystery. Aiden Wilson & McCracken worked a one-two down the left which ended with Wilson flighting a cross into the back post. It broke to Glasgow inside the 6-yard area but despite several attempts he couldn’t force it home & when the ball broke to Samson his shot was also blocked inside the goal mouth.
Blantyre’s first glimpse at goal came in the 12th minute. Wilson misjudged a diagonal ball & ended up controlling it with his arm. The ball broke to McKenzie on the right of the area & the ref allowed the advantage & his low drive was held by Leishman.
Talbot’s opener came in the 14th minute. Lyle played it into the feet of Healy & he sent it out to the right wing where Boylan raced clear. He played it across the 6-yard area where KIER SAMSON slid in to meet it & although his effort hit Currie it spun inside the right post to put Talbot 1 ahead.
The visitors came close to levelling matters in the 17th minute. MacDonald’s shot from 15 yards was heading into the bottom corner til Leishman dived to his right to touch it away. It came out to Eeles but his follow up was blocked.
At the other end, Talbot nearly doubled their lead when Samson raced onto Glasgow’s ball down the left & rolled it inside where White flicked it up before half volleying it just over the crossbar from 20 yards out.
Talbot squandered a decent opportunity in the 25th minute when Armstrong’s slide rule pass opened up the Vics defence. Boylan squared it across the area where Samson & Glasgow seemed to get in each other’s way & in the end neither could get a shot away.
The Bot’s next attack saw Glasgow feed it out Boylan on the wing & he cut in off the right & drilled a fierce shot on target which Currie held.
It was looking comfortable for Talbot at this stage, with the Bot doing most of the pressing, but having little to show for it other than a series of corners which came to nought.
A single goal lead is always precarious and Vics grabbed a spectacular equaliser two minutes from the interval. Blantyre were awarded a free kick in their own half on the stand side which was flighted into the penalty area. It was headed clear and there didn’t appear to be any imminent danger when it fell to MCKENZIE 20 yards out with his back to goal but he controlled it on his chest & turned to hook a volley that dipped into the top right corner to make it 1-1 at the interval.
The half-time break worked in Talbot’s favour and the Bot regained the lead early in the 2nd half. In the 53rd minute Eeles impeded Armstrong & the ref awarded Talbot a free kick 25 yards out. Talbot took it quickly to release Glasgow & when he squared it across the box STEVEN WHITE ran onto it & fired a low drive through a ruck of players that beat Currie with the aid of a slight deflection.
The visitors were caught out again in the 59th minute by a quick free kick which sent Glasgow free on the right. Currie got down to cut out his low ball across the face of goal but couldn’t hold it & and a defender had to complete the clearance.
With 61 minutes gone Talbot moved further ahead. There seemed no danger as the ball was aimed up the left but Blantyre’s defender tried to head it back towards his keeper & BRYAN BOYLAN pounced on the weak header, shrugging off a challenge before drilling it through the advancing Currie to make it 3-1.
In the 64th minute Blantyre won a free kick 30 yards out after Samson shoved MacDonald. McKenzie got it up and over the wall but Leishman got down low to his right to hold it.
The visitors made a double switch in the 67th minute with Cunningham & Kearney coming on for McKenzie & McDonald just before facing a Talbot corner. When Glasgow’s corner came over from the right McCracken powered a header on target that Currie gathered at the 2nd attempt.
With 20 mins remaining Talbot made a double switch with Mason & Shankland replacing Healy & Boylan.
Glasgow had a good chance to extend Talbot’s lead in the 72nd minute. Samson won a header that sent him clean through on goal but Currie got the slightest of touches to his effort to send it wide of his left post.
Both sides now made their final changes with O’Donnell on for Eeles for the visitors and Shankland coming on for Samson.
Twelve minutes from time Blantyre launched a quick counter-attack following a Talbot corner. Currie unconvincingly flapped the corner away but Vics then quickly switched it up to Brennan who shifted it wide left to Kearney whose low drive across goal went a foot or so wide of the far post.
Six minutes from time Shankland had his name taken after wrestling with a Blantyre player following a short corner that had went wrong.
Five minutes from time Cunningham had a decent effort for the Vics from 25 yards when he turned and fired wide of the left post and that was it as far as chances went with Talbot seeing out the closing minutes to secure the win.
Another 3 points in the bag and next up for the Bot is the midweek visit of Largs.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Craig McCracken, White, Healy, Armstrong, Glasgow, Boylan, Samson
Subs – Mason, McDowall, Shankland, Graham Wilson, Robbie McCracken, Boyd, Hewitt
Blantyre Victoria – Currie, Jones, Allan, Marshall, Kerr, Boyle, McKenzie, Archer, MacDonald, Brennan, Eeles
Subs – Hughes, Cunningham, Gibson, O’Donnell, Kearney