Talbot came from behind twice to secure a valuable point and maintain their lead at the top after an end to end battle at Darvel played out in front of a bumper crowd.
As the rain and hail lashed down Talbot got off to a strong start winning in a free kick in a good area within the 1st minute after Boylan was sent tumbling. Wardrope took it and his shot clipped the wall & flew just wide of the right post.
It was the Bot making the early running and Talbot had another chance in the 3rd minute. Boylan whipped over a good cross from the right that Hyslop headed just wide of target.
Darvel showed their attacking intent in the 5th minute when a ball down the left found Mackenzie running in behind McPherson. He squared it across to the far side of the area where Miller drove a low shot on target which Leishman saved well with his feet.
Leishman came to Talbot’s rescue again in the 13th minute. McCracken’s pass from the back was intercepted and Darvel broke forward through Morrison whose shot from 22 yards was turned round the right post by Leishman.
The Bot then had a half chance down the other end when the Darvel defence failed to clear their lines as the ball zipped around their area. It eventually broke out to Aiden Wilson who blasted his shot well over the bar.
The opening goal came Darvel’s way with 21 mins gone. A ball through the centre caught the Bot defence square and MACKENZIE beat the offside trap to run through on goal and take it round Leishman before passing it into the net.
Darvel’s lead though proved to be short lived and Talbot drew level in their next attack in the 24th minute. Wardrope found space on the left and crossed it into the area. It took a deflection and sailed to the back post where KIER SAMSON turned it home – taking a head knock in the process.
Talbot had the ball in the net again in the 27th minute but the goal didn’t stand. Hyslop slipped the ball out to Boylan on the right and his cross hit off Caldwell and spun high in the air. Graham Wilson jumped with the keeper and forced it home but the ref awarded Darvel a free kick.
Two minutes later Talbot were denied the lead by the woodwork. Boylan gathered on the right and fed it down the line to the overlapping Samson. He swung a cross to the far post where Graham Wilson powered a header off the post with the keeper beaten.
The Bot were having a good spell and next to try his luck was Healy when he volleyed over the bar when he met a cross from the right.
The large travelling support & Talbot bench were enraged in the 32nd minute when Miller raced onto a ball down the right. He looked about 10 yards offside but the linesman was way off the pace and kept his flag down. Fortunately, no harm came of it as Miller drove the ball across the face of goal but there was no one in the centre. The referee then came across to book Tucker for his protests and moments later McPherson was yellow carded for a challenge on the far side.
In the 37th minute McCracken tried his luck from the edge of the area only to see his shot blocked and spin high toward goal. Graham Wilson pursued it in and challenged the keeper but he was booked for his trouble.
Healy almost gave Talbot the lead in the 38th minute when he drilled a left foot shoot just past the left post.
Darvel now swept up the other end and regained the lead with a well-worked goal. A quick series of one-twos ended with MCSHANE rifling an unstoppable shot past Leishman from 18 yards to make it 2-1.
Talbot looked for an early response and won a free kick just outside the area when Graham Wilson was downed. Wardrope took it but got underneath it and lifted it well over the bar.
A minute from the interval Samson got a sore one when Caldwell went right through him resulting in a booking for Darvel’s full-back and soon after the whistle sounded and Darvel went in with a narrow lead at the interval.
When the teams re-emerged for the 2nd half Darvel had made a change between the sticks with Avci coming on in place of Truesdale.
Just as they had from kick off Talbot made a positive start to the 2nd half and threatened the Darvel goal within a minute of the restart. Boylan gathered on the left and skipped past Darvel’s right-back before floating a cross onto the head of Healy who nodded it over the bar.
Talbot missed a golden opportunity to level on 50 minutes. Boylan drove forward through the centre before releasing it left to find Wardrope. He cut it back across goal where the defence failed to clear and it came to Graham Wilson who fired past the post from 15 yards.
Wardrope was next to have a go for Talbot. Boylan’s early ball found him breaking down the left. He cut inside onto his right foot but his shot lacked the power to test Avci.
In the 56th minute Meggatt received a caution for impeding Samson as he made to get onto a through ball. Wardrope took the free kick and aimed it in toward McCracken but it was just a shade too far in front of him in the centre.
The Bot had another good chance in the 59th minute when Boylan was sent free on the left. He raced into the area and knocked it wide of the keeper but went over in the box and was booked for simulation.
It was Talbot doing the pressing and the Bot had another glimpse at goal on the hour mark. Another ball threaded through the defence found Boylan on the left. He drove to the edge of the area and let fly for goal but a defender dived in to block his shot behind for the corner.
The heavy rain was making life difficult for the players and Avci nearly fell victim to it in the 63rd minute when he slipped when going to make a routine clearance. He managed to recover and partially cleared it but only as far as Graham Wilson who bent a cross over from the left but there were no takers at the back post.
Darvel hadn’t offered much in the 2nd half but they won a free kick in shooting range when McShane was brought down by Healy’s sliding tackle. Healy received a booking for the challenge and McShane took the set piece but it was easily held by Leishman.
In the 66th minute Mackenzie had an opportunity to tie it up for Darvel when the ball broke kindly to him inside the penalty area but his low drive was brilliantly saved by Leishman low to his left.
Tucker made his first change of the evening in the 71st minute when the tiring Samson made way for Glasgow and the change paid off immediately with Talbot levelling within a minute.
Wardrope cut in off the left and flighted a cross to the far side where Glasgow guided a header back across goal for DWAYNE HYSLOP to steer a header beyond the keeper.
Talbot were dealt a blow in the 74th minute – firstly when they conceded a free kick just wide of the penalty area – but also as McPherson picked up a knock and had to limp off with Crawford coming on in his place. The free kick was flashed across the goal mouth and flew behind for the goal kick.
With 10 minutes remaining Talbot came agonisingly close to taking the lead. Wardrope’s cross from the left was only cleared out as far as Healy on the 18 yard line and his low drive took a slight deflection before sliding inches wide of the left post.
Talbot made their final change in the 82nd minute with Shankland coming on for Boylan.
Both sides were tiring and Darvel’s no 10 and Glasgow both picked up cautions for fouls in the closing stages.
In the 87th minute Talbot had a late chance when Shankland laid the ball off toward Graham Wilson on the right of the area. He burst through on goal but Avci was quickly off his line to slide it clear. The ball came to Glasgow 16 yards out but his shot was blocked by a defender.
In the final minute of regulation time Wardrope split the Darvel defence with a ball out to the left to find Shankland breaking in behind but he lost his footing on the slippy surface and the chance was lost.
As the game moved into added time Darvel pushed forward looking for a late winner but couldn’t find a way through and the game ended all square.
A good away point for Talbot who now face an equally tricky midweek visit to Blair Park to face Hurlford as the Bot look to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
Darvel – Truesdale, Allan, Caldwell, Eadie, Mackenzie, McShane, Meggatt, Miller, Morrison, Stirling, Thomson
Subs – Avci, Boland, Galt, Kirkpatrick, Little, Reid, Moore
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Craig McCracken, Healy, Hyslop, Wardrope, Boylan, Samson, Graham Wilson
Subs – Shankland, Glasgow, Crawford, Armstrong, Robbie McCracken, Hewitt
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
Talbot produced an accomplished display to beat a hard-working Darvel side 4-1 and advance to the 2nd round of the Ayrshire cup.
The 1st chance came the way of the home side. Pope’s sloppy pass gifted possession to Darvel and Vernon advanced down the right & fired into the side-netting.
After this early scare, Talbot took control & might have moved in front in the 4th minute. White headed it out to Young on the left wing & Gillies met his cross at the back post; however his header went straight at Markey.
The Darvel keeper was called upon twice in succession as Talbot piled the pressure on. Firstly, Markey had to tip Young’s in-swinging corner over the bar and when the subsequent corner came in the keeper again had to flick it away. This time the ball came out to Pope who drilled a low ball across goal that Gaw cleared behind.
When the corner came over the defence managed to clear it out but only to S Wilson who slid a great ball through for Gillies. He was just poised to sweep it home from 6 yards out when Gaw recovered to intercept & put it behind for yet another Talbot corner. The corner again wasn’t cleared by the defence & it came out to Pope 16 yards out but his shot was easily held by Markey.
Darvel survived this siege on their goal but Talbot remained in control with the action largely confined to the Darvel half.
Parris had his name taken in the 20th minute for a late challenge on S Wilson.
The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. Gillies played a good early ball down the left for G Wilson to chase. He raced into the area where he was tripped by McPherson and the ref pointed to the spot. POPE took the spot kick & sent Markey the wrong way to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.
The referee evened the cautions up in the 31st minute when McCracken received a yellow card for a late challenge.
Leishman had been a spectator for most of the 1st half but he was called upon in the 34th minute. Darvel won a corner on the left which was drifted beyond the far post. Talbot failed to clear their lines & Armour crossed it back into the centre where Ryan headed it goal ward & Leishman touched it over the bar.
Talbot came close to adding to their lead in the 38th minute. S Wilson charged up the right & when his advance was halted, he laid it off to Hyslop. He in turn squared it inside to G Wilson who hammered a shot from 25 yards that flew just past Markey’s left post.
Two minutes later Talbot doubled their lead. Hyslop won a corner on the right and Young hit it deep to the far post. Hyslop climbed to head it back across goal where G WILSON ran onto it to head home from close range.
A minute later & it was game over as Talbot moved 3 ahead. S Wilson broke through the centre only to be caught by Moody 25 yards out. G WILSON took the free kick & hit an absolute beauty, curling it over the wall & inside Markey’s left post to make it 3-0 to Talbot at the interval.
There was no slacking from Talbot after the re-start as they went hunting for more goals.
Hyslop was unlucky not to get on the score sheet in the 54th minute. G Wilson slid the ball across the area to find him in space on the right. He lifted a shot past Markey that cannoned off the face of the bar before being cleared.
Within a minute Hyslop was involved again. He exchanged passes with G Wilson before sliding the perfect ball across the 6-yard line. Unfortunately, Gillies couldn’t reach quite reach it in the centre.
The 4th goal came in the 57th minute. Gillies swung a cross in from the left which G Wilson knocked down into the path of POPE who drilled a low right foot drive past Markey.
Tucker now made a double substitution with Shankland & Love coming on in place of G Wilson & Gillies.
Shankland tested the keeper in the 64th minute when he tried to bend a right footed shot past Markey but the keeper moved to his left to block to it.
Talbot now made their 3rd change with Milliken replacing Young and Darvel made their own changes with Henderson & Gilmour making way for Johnston & Robertson.
The tie was long over but Darvel had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 71st minute. Hyslop barged over Ryan inside the area and the ref pointed to the spot. Moody took the penalty but Leishman dived to his right to make the save. Ryan attempted to put the rebound away but fired over the bar as Leishman raced off his line to pressure him.
Five minutes later Darvel had another chance from the spot after a foul from Lyle. This time, ROBERTSON was entrusted with the penalty and he tucked it away to make it 4-1.
Talbot were soon back on the front foot and had a chance to make it 5 in the 85th minute. Shankland fed the ball out to Love on the right and when his cross came over Shankland looked certain to head home from close range, but he seemed to take his eye off the ball under pressure from a defender and didn’t make a clean contact.
In the final minute Love had one final chance to add to Talbot’s lead as he sped past Moody down the right but he fired into the side-netting from a tight angle.
This was a good display by Talbot who took control of the tie from the off and won with a bit to spare.
Next up for Talbot it is back to league duty as they visit Glasgow to face Petershill.
Darvel – Markey, Walsh, Moody, Gaw, McPherson, Parris, Armour, Henderson, Vernon, Ryan, Gilmour
Subs – Johnston, Lyle, White, Robertson, Caldow, Houston
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McGoldrick, McCracken, White, Young, Hyslop, Gillies, G Wilson, S Wilson
Subs – Latta, Shankland, Love, Boyd, Milliken, Johnstone