PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
Talbot returned to winning ways at the start of 2022 with a 2-0 win away at a rain soaked Dalmellington.
Craigmark were up for it and they made the early running without being able to test the Talbot defence. The first chance of the match came Talbot’s way in the 7th minute when Glasgow slipped a pass into the path of Samson who burst into the box but over-carried it & Johnson came off his line to smother it.
Leishman was called into action in the 14th minute when Boyle cut the ball back to Cherrie who hammered a shot on target from 25 yards that flew straight at the Talbot goalie.
The home side would have grabbed the opener in the 23rd minute but for a great reflex save. Aiden Wilson conceded a free kick wide on the right which Newton delivered toward the back post. McCrum met it to power a header on goal that Leishman managed to turn behind for the corner.
When the corner came over Talbot cleared it and countered through Glasgow who was hauled to the ground by Lamont who received a caution. Healy drilled the free kick into the box where Graham Wilson flicked it on to Samson racing in behind the defence. He looked set to score but Johnson pulled off a good stop to deny him.
Talbot were slowly gaining the upper hand and threatened the Craigmark goal twice in a minute. Firstly, Boylan did well down the right before squaring it across the area to Glasgow whose side-footed effort was deflected wide of the right post. When the corner came over it found Aiden Wilson at the back post and his effort came back off the woodwork.
In the 32nd minute Talbot had another chance to take the lead. A poor goal kick by Johnson was headed in behind the home defence allowing Samson a clear run on goal. He took it round the keeper and tried to pass it into the net but Kirkwood was on hand to clear it off the line.
Next to try their luck was Healy who brought out a decent save from Johnson in the 37th minute when the keeper dived to his left to save his shot from just outside the area.
A minute later Talbot passed up a good opportunity. Boylan raced free down the left & cut it back into the path of Graham Wilson who misjudged it and got the ball stuck between his feet and the chance was lost.
In the 39th minute Graham Wilson fed the ball out to Boylan on the left and he surged forward before cutting inside and blasting a shot across goal and wide of the left post.
Talbot kept pushing but to no avail and half-time came at just the right time for a Craigmark side under increasing pressure.
The 2nd half started where the 1st had left off with Talbot on top and the Bot were inches from taking the lead in the 49th minute. Glasgow’s shot for goal was blocked but the ball spun into the path of Graham Wilson 25 yards out and he cracked a shot off the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.
Robbie McCracken had his name taken in the 52nd minute when Connelly turned him and he hauled him back.
A minute later Talbot were back on the attack. Graham Wilson’s diagonal ball clipped off the top of Lamont’s head but still found its way out to Boylan in space on the right. He clipped it into the near post for the run of Samson who tried to slide it in but saw his effort deflected behind for the corner.
Craigmark made the game’s first change in the 57th minute when Tan left the field to be replaced by Ryan Caddis.
Talbot’s next chance came in the 59th minute following a Craigmark corner. Connelly crossed it in from the right only for Armstrong to head it clear and Talbot to break quickly up field. The ball was switched out to Boylan on the right but his cross was headed clear at the near post.
Johnson had been having problems with his goal kicks all afternoon and he bodged another in the 63rd minute, forcing one of his defenders to rush a pass back to him which the keeper gathered just inside the area, resulting in an indirect free kick to Talbot. As customarily happens, the referee couldn’t get the defensive wall to retreat the full distance and when the ball was touched off to Graham Wilson his shot was blocked by a defender only a few yards away.
Johnson now received a yellow card for time-wasting and was joined in the book moments later by Stafford who was penalised for a foul on Connelly.
Unfortunately, by this time torrential rain was falling which not only made life difficult for the players but isn’t ideal for match reporting either as it rendered my notepad all but illegible leaving me falling back on my dodgy memory.
At some stage Hyslop came on in place of Robbie McCracken.
The deadlock was broken in the 71st minute. Armstrong won a corner out on the right which he took himself. He fired it low into the near post where it was cleared out to the edge of the area where GRAHAM WILSON lashed an unstoppable shot beyond Johnson to put Talbot 1-0 in front.
Talbot now made another change with McDowall coming on for Boylan.
The game was made safe in the 81st minute when Talbot doubled their lead. Craig McCracken swept over a good cross from the right which JAMIE GLASGOW stooped to meet in front of goal and head past the keeper.
Tucker now made a final change with Boyd on in place of Glasgow.
As the game headed into added time Talbot almost added a third. The ball broke to Craig McCracken inside the penalty area and he drilled a shot at goal from 15 yards out that Johnson did well to keep out.
A good win in atrocious conditions and the prize for Talbot is a place in the 4th round of the Junior cup where they host Irvine Meadow next Saturday.
Craigmark Burntonians – Johnson, Newton, Smith, Kirkwood, Lamont, Cherrie, Boyle, McCrum, Adam, Tan, Connelly
Subs – Smith, McKay, Boyd, Hill, R Caddis, D Caddis (gk)
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, Robbie McCracken, Craig McCracken, Armstrong, Healy, Graham Wilson, Boylan, Samson, Glasgow
Subs – McDowall, Boyd, Hyslop, Lyle