PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
They who laugh last laugh longest and the Bot support had the last laugh in this thrilling derby encounter as the Bot came back from two goals adrift to clinch a win over Cumnock.
Talbot couldn’t really have made a worse start and Cumnock looked the more determined side, forcing a corner within a minute and shortly after Frye turning inside the box but firing well wide of goal.
Therefore it wasn’t really a shock when Cumnock took the lead in the 4th minute. The goal was a poor one to lose from Talbot’s point of view; initially conceding an unnecessary corner down the left & then being caught sleeping by the ball into the near post where FERRY nicked in to power a header home.
It took until the 10th minute before Talbot fashioned a chance. Mason squared the ball inside to find Glasgow in space just outside the area but he curled his shot well over the bar.
In the 16th minute Cumnock won a free kick in a good area after Stafford was penalised for a challenge on Martin. The free kick was swept into the centre where Leishman rose to punch it clear. Talbot now launched a swift counter-attack with Healy finding Wilson down the left & he in turn played it up to Glasgow. Talbot had a good penalty shout when Murdoch tugged the shirt off Glasgow inside the area but the officials waved play on and Talbot had to settle for a corner that came to nothing.
The home side came close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute. Conn latched onto a ball down the right and showed a clean pair of heels to McPherson & McCracken before cutting the ball back across goal where Osadolor ran onto it & steered a shot at goal that Leishman touched onto the bar and over.
One minute later Talbot conceded a dubious penalty following the intercession of the assistant ref. Glasgow jumped & blocked a cross from the right but it appeared to hit his arm just outside the area. Initially the referee gave nothing but following vociferous appeals from Cumnock & a consultation with his assistant he gave the penalty. FRYE took it and sent Leishman the wrong way to put Cumnock 2-0 ahead.
The 2nd goal spurred Cumnock on and they looked well in control & the more likely side to grab the next goal. In the 29th minute a diagonal pass found Martin wide on the left & he teed it up for Frye whose shot was blocked behind by the head of McPherson.
A defensive mix-up by Cumnock gifted Talbot a corner in the 34th minute. A misjudged back pass forcing Hughes to scramble the ball behind for the corner and when it came over Stafford glanced a header wide of target.
Cumnock were forced into a change in the 40th minute when Martin left the field following a facial injury to be replaced by Douglas.
Gradually Talbot began to exert some pressure and ended the half on the front foot. In the 42nd minute Glasgow won a free kick out on the left. He took the set piece & played it into the centre where Samson’s head flick on broke off a Nock defender and drifted wide of the far post.
In the closing minute of the half Healy did well out on the left to cut into the penalty area & float a cross over to the back post where Glasgow headed it against the left post.
The half ended with a traditional derby stramash with players from both sides jostling one another in the centre & when the dust settled the ref booked Frye and called the 1st half to a halt.
Talbot emerged unchanged for the 2nd half but with a greater sense of urgency than they’d shown in the 1st period. The Bot won a couple of free kicks in decent areas in the opening spell but failed to test the keeper on either occasion. Firstly, Mason fired into the wall from 30 yards out and then Glasgow’s free kick into the centre was met by McCracken but he glanced it wide of goal.
Tucker made what proved to be an inspired double switch in the 62nd minute with Boyd & Mason making way for Shankland & Boylan.
Glasgow was very unfortunate not to cut back Cumnock’s lead in the 64th minute when he struck a shot from 20 yards that had the keeper beatne but struck off the crossbar.
Cumnock hadn’t emerged from their defensive shell after the re-start but they had the Bot defence at full stretch in the 67th minute when Conn made a lung bursting run through the centre, leaving players in his wake, before finally being impeded by McCracken just outside the area; resulting in a booking for Talbot’s centre-half & a free kick in a dangerous area. McAusland took it but fired it straight into the wall.
The Talbot fightback commenced in the 70th minute. McCracken gathered the ball out on the right & delivered a superb cross right onto the head of KIER SAMSON who rose to nod it past Hughes from 6 yards out.
The goal rattled Cumnock as much as it energised Talbot & five minutes later it was all square. Shankland released Stafford on the overlap down the right & when he pulled it back across goal Hyslop was fouled as he went to hit it & the ref pointed to the spot for the 2nd time. MARK SHANKLAND took it & thumped it inside Hughes’ right hand post to level the match at 2-2.
Cumnock weren’t done yet though and their main threat was the pace of Conn. He burst forward in the 77th minute & managed to rush into the penalty area but was forced wide and could only steer a tame shot straight at Leishman who immediately bowled the ball out to set Talbot off on the counter. It came to Shankland who played it down the right channel for Stafford & he steered it over to the back post where BRYAN BOYLAN raced onto it to side-foot Talbot into the lead.
Talbot now made a further change with debutant Stafford making way for Lyle and Cumnock made a double switch with McGill on for Osador & Smith replacing Wilson.
Boylan had a half chance in the 83rd minute when a mishit clearance landed at his feet 16 yards out but he snatched at his shot & fired over the bar.
Cumnock now had to push forward in numbers and this left them vulnerable at the back & Talbot had a chance to kill the game off two minutes from time. Boylan swung over a good cross from the left that Glasgow met in front of goal but he couldn’t climb high enough to get above it & sent his header flying over the bar.
The Bot support had one final nervy moment in the closing minute when McAusland’s ball up the right found Douglas inside the area but he couldn’t hit the target from a tight angle; sending his shot into the side-netting.
Talbot then closed the game out well to secure the win to the delight of the large & noisy travelling support.
As wins go this was more enjoyable & dramatic than most & maintained Talbot’s excellent record at Townhead park. Next up Talbot are back on the road as they travel through to South Lanarkshire to face Blantyre Victoria.
Cumnock Juniors – Hughes, McAusland, Ferry, McIntyre, Murdoch, Wilson, Bell, Frye, Osadolor, Conn, Martin
Subs – McGill, Veitch, Smith, Douglas, Berry
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, McPherson, Wilson, Stafford, McCracken, Boyd, Healy, Hyslop, Samson, Glasgow, Mason
Subs – Shankland, Boylan, McDowall, Lyle, White, Pope, Hewitt