PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot left it late again but succeeded in claiming all 3 points in an incident packed encounter that saw the referee send off 4 players; with Rossvale finishing the match with 8 men & Talbot reduced to 10.
The Bot got off to the perfect start and took the lead with only 2 minutes gone. Armstrong lifted in a cross that Samson met in the centre & his glancing header was deflected wide of target off a defender. Shankland lifted the corner over & DWAYNE HYSLOP met it to nod Talbot into the lead.
The home side weren’t discouraged & Rossvale had a chance to test the Talbot defence in the 4th minute when McCracken conceded a free kick out on the right. It was angled in toward the far post where Hyslop did enough to glance it behind for the corner. When the corner came over it came to Higgins beyond the back post & and he fired a volley on target that Leishman blocked at his left post.
Talbot now raced onto the counter-attack with Shankland releasing Stephen Wilson & he in turn swiftly switched play to free Samson down the left. He drilled a low ball across the face of goal but it was just behind Graham Wilson in the centre & Niven swept it out for a shy.
Talbot were soon back on the attack & Stephen Wilson did well to win the ball deep in Rosssvale’s half before drilling a low ball across the face of goal but there were no takers in the centre.
The next chance also came Talbot’s way. Pope’s ball over the top found Graham Wilson pacing clear down the left & Healy met his cross beyond the far post but blasted it high & wide from a tight angle.
Samson missed a glorious chance to double Talbot’s lead in the 10th minute when he raced clear of the defence into the box but fired his shot straight at the keeper.
Rossvale showed their own attacking intent two minutes later. A diagonal ball released Leadbetter down the left & he skipped past Armstrong before firing a ball across goal that Leishman tipped away to safety.
Talbot were soon back on the front foot & came close to moving two clear in the 16th minute. Graham Wilson slid a pass through to send Samson through on the keeper & he attempted to pass it under Donnelly but it caught the keeper’s heels.
Within a minute Talbot hit the woodwork when Shankland jinked in off the left & curled a right foot shot off the face of the crossbar.
The first of the afternoon’s dismissals came after 27 minutes. Graham Wilson played it early to release Samson down the right & as he raced toward the penalty area he was tripped by Donnelly who had raced out his area. The referee had no choice but to send the keeper packing & Higgins took over in between the sticks.
Strangely, the red card seemed to knock Talbot out their rhythm & it took until the 36th minute before they tested the makeshift keeper. Shankland stepped in off the left & fired a low shot on target that Johnstone parried & he just managed to gather at 2nd attempt before Samson could prod it home.
Rossvale levelled in the 39th minute. McCracken was beaten to the ball outside the box by McNab who broke down the right before cutting it across goal where MGONIGLE knocked it past Leishman.
Two minutes later Talbot thought they’d restored their lead. Hyslop played it into Graham Wilson & he in turn found Shankland on the left of the area. He passed it into the opposite bottom corner of the net but the goal was chalked off by a debatable call from the assistant ref.
In the final action of the half Rossvale conceded a cheap corner down the left. Shankland curled it beyond the far post where Pope headed it back across goal but Graham Wilson couldn’t keep his header down & so the sides went in level at the break.
Talbot started the 2nd half positively up to a point; that point being the final third. Rossvale were pinned back deep in their own half but Talbot failed to find the necessary quality in their final pass or crosses to test the keeper.
The Bot did have a clear chance to regain the lead in the 58th minute. Pope angled a cross to the back post where Hyslop cushioned a header back across goal that Graham Wilson met 6 yards out but he blasted his shot over the bar.
In the 62nd minute Rossvale found themselves two men down. Johnstone slid in late on Hyslop. It looked like a caution would suffice but the ref went straight to the top pocket and sent him off.
The game exploded in the 67th minute with both sides seeing a player sent to the clubhouse. McGonigle was guilty of a shocking challenge on Healy who then lashed out in retaliation & off they both went.
Down to 8 men Rossvale were left with little option but to pack their defence & McNab was sacrificed to make way for Alexander.
The game re-started with a Bot free kick which Shankland shoved wide of the wall into the path of Graham Wilson. He crosssed it to the far post where Hyslop headed it back across goal & Shankland fired a shot at goal that was blocked in the crowded goalmouth.
Talbot seemed to have left the shooting boots at home. In the 72nd minute Samson raced up the right & swept over a cross that Hyslop headed down into the path of Shankland but he tugged his shot wide of target from the edge of the area.
Two minutes later Talbot had a penalty shout. Pope fired a ball across goal where Graham Wilson went over in the centre. The ref waved play on & it came to Shankland who blasted it into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Tucker now made a double switch with Shankland & Samson making way for Boylan & Glasgow.
In the 76th minute Graham Wilson had a half chance when he found himself in space 18 yards out but failed to test Higgins who stopped his shot with his outstretched foot.
The match officials took centre stage again in the 78th minute. Armstrong pinged over a cross from the right that Boylan met with his head. Higgins threw himself to his right to claw the ball away with Talbot claiming the ball was well over the line before Higgins scooped it back out but the referee dismissed Talbot’s appeals for the goal.
Talbot were camped out about midway inside the Rossvale half but the longer the game wore on the less likely it looked that they’d manage to find a winner; with crosses either being over hit or not beating the first man & shots either being blocked by a wall of defenders or sailing harmlessly high or wide.
Just when it looked as though Talbot had run out of steam the Bot grabbed a late winner from an unlikely source. NEIL MCPHERSON steered a left foot shot from the edge of the area that came through a ruck of players & into the back of the net.
It wasn’t over yet though & Talbot had one last bit of defending to do deep into injury time. The referee awarded a dubious offside call against Graham Wilson just inside the Rossvale half allowing them one final chance. The free kick was floated straight down the centre where Niven glanced a header on that was floating toward the top right hand corner until Leishman touched it over to ensure Talbot left with all 3 points.
A frustrating afternoon for Talbot who made heavy work of it for spells in the 2nd half but will be relieved to have ground out a valuable away win. Next up for Talbot it’s back to Beechwood where they host Rutherglen Glencairn in the league.
Rossvale Juniors – Donnelly, McDowall, Leadbetter, Niven, Bradley, McGrath, Higgins, Johnstone, McNab, Slattery, McGonigle
Subs – O’Sullivan, Giffin, Alexander, Biggar, Brennan
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Armstrong, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, Healy, Hyslop, Stephen Wilson, Graham Wilson, Samson, Shankland
Subs – Boylan, Glasgow, White, A Wilson, Young