Photographs by Paul Flynn.
MURRAYS MATCH REPORT
Talbot turned in a below par performance but did enough to secure the win at a blustery Valefield park in a dour encounter.
The Bot started well enough without really threatening the Ladeside goal. The first dangerous attack came in the 7th minute when Samson fired a low ball across the face of goal that Wilton spilled in the goal mouth but the defence were able to scramble it clear.
Twelve minutes in Talbot had a half chance from a long throw. Samson hurled it into the area where Graham Wilson beat Wilton to the ball near the bye line but unfortunately he couldn’t take advantage of it; hitting a tame ball across goal that didn’t trouble the keeper.
The conditions weren’t helping either side & the ball was zipping about from end to end with little in the way of football.
Both keepers had been underworked but Leishman was called upon in the 24th minute. McPherson misplaced a back pass to give Ladeside a corner down the left. When it came over McCracken headed it out but it came straight to McGill. He guided a header on target that Leishman did well to hold inside his left post.
Having survived a scare at one end Talbot went straight down the other and took the lead. Glasgow slipped a neat pass down the left to find KEIR SAMSON racing forward & he carried on into the box & cut inside his man before bending a right foot shot into the bottom corner.
Samson had a half chance to extend Talbot’s lead four minutes later. Graham Wilson did well to control Leishman’s long ball down the centre before sliding it out right to Samson who burst into the box but lashed his shot well over.
A minute later Talbot tested the Ladeside keeper. The Bot won a corner on the left that the defence only cleared out as far as Stephen Wilson. He played it down the right to Armstrong who whipped a dangerous low ball across that Wilton did well to cut out.
Leishman kept Talbot ahead in the 32nd minute when he produced a top stop to deny Scullion the equaliser. Finlay’s cross from the left was headed clear by McCracken but it fell to Scullion at the edge of the area who met it on the volley. He couldn’t have caught it any sweeter but Leishman was well positioned and held it inside the right post.
In the last minute of the half Graham Wilson went on a mazy run that saw him speed past several players. He burst into the box between two Ladeside defenders & went flying. The away fans were expecting a penalty but instead the ref booked the Talbot man for diving and that was it for the 1st half.
Talbot had a chance to put the game to bed three minutes after the re-start. Pope swept a cross over to find Armstrong in space 8 yards out but he chose the wrong option; going with his foot rather than the header and steered a tame shot at the keeper.
In the 51st min Glasgow had a decent effort at goal. The ball broke to him on the right of the area & he angled a shot across goal and just wide of Wilton’s right post.
With only a goal in it Kilbirnie weren’t out of it but were doing very little in the final third. Scullion showed quick feet in the 58th minute to create an opening but then blazed his shot way over.
Tucker made his 1st change in the 59th min when McIlroy replaced Graham Wilson.
Kilbirnie had a promising break in the 65th min when Scullion switched play quickly out to the right to free Finlay but his shot from 20 yards was blocked just inside the area.
Talbot now made a 2nd change with Kemp coming on for Samson.
There had been little to write home about but Glasgow nearly produced a wonder finish in the 71st minute. The ball came to him just inside the Kilbirnie half and spotting Wilton way off his line he went for goal & his shot sailed just wide of the left post with the relieved keeper scrambling back.
Kemp came close to sealing it for Talbot in the 74th minute. He cut in off the right wing into the area & hammered a left foot effort just over the crossbar.
With quarter of an hour remaining Mitchell had his name taken for a shove on Stephen Wilson. Talbot now completed their changes with McDowall replacing White.
Talbot were making most of the running but lacked the composure in the final third to turn pressure into clear chances.
The home side, although only a goal adrift, were toothless up front and giving Talbot few, if any problems defensively.
The home support were aggrieved 4 minutes from time when Ramsay appeared to be fouled by Glasgow 30 yards from goal but the referee waved play on.
As the game meandered to an end Talbot saw it out comfortably enough & had one final opportunity to grab a second. Pope sent a ball over the top to McIlroy on the left of the area. He drilled a low shot on goal from a tight angle that Wilton initially spilled but gathered at the 2nd time of asking.
Not much of a spectacle for the paying punters but the Talbot fans left content with another 3 points gathered on the road. Talbot are back in league action this Wednesday when they host Irvine Meadow at Beechwood.
Kilbirnie Ladeside – Wilton, Wood, Mitchell, Juskovice, O’Byrne, McGuinness, Finlay, Anderson, Ramsay, Scullion, McGill
Subs – Brown, Gray, McVey, Lafferty
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, White, Stephen Wilson, Armstrong, Glasgow, Graham Wilson, Samson
Subs – Kemp, McIlroy, McDowall
Talbot finally managed to beat their bogey side & in keeping with previous encounters it was a dour battle settled by a solitary goal.
The 1st chance of the match came Talbot’s way. Graham Wilson lifted the ball down the left to send Milliken racing in behind the defence. He knocked it past the advancing Hughes but couldn’t gather it & the ball went behind for a goal kick.
Kilbirnie then took over in midfield, and created two chances in quick succession when firstly Forde tested Leishman from 20 yards out & then Johnstone cut in from the left wing before firing a low shot which Leishman also held.
Chances were few & far between though Talbot did put together a good move in the 16th minute. Pope released G Wilson down the left & he squared it across the 6-yard line where Milliken was challenged just as he was about to hit it.
Kilbirnie were enjoying the bulk of the pressure & Talbot had a lucky escape in the 22nd minute. Kilbirnie won a free kick on the right touchline which was fired across to the far edge of the area to Forde. He played it back across the area where Green missed a sitter; mishitting wide from straight in front of goal.
Thus far Hughes had been a virtual spectator with Talbot creating little in the final third & the Blasties keeper could do little but watch as Talbot took the lead out of the blue in the 34th minute. A shy from the right came in to MCCRACKEN & he lashed an unstoppable shot inside the right post to put Talbot 1-0 ahead.
Kilbirnie huffed & puffed but couldn’t make any headway against a resolute Talbot defence & the half meandered to a finish with neither side looking like scoring.
Kilbirnie made a change at the interval with Haxton on at left-back in place of Gray.
Talbot had an early chance to double their lead. Staunton conceded a free kick out on the left. Pope delivered it into the centre where McCracken rose to meet it but placed his header over the bar from 8 yards out.
Just as in the 1st half clear cut chances were in short supply. Kilbirnie did threaten in the 58th minute when Ronald fizzed a free kick into the area from the left touchline. Forde controlled it but Harvey got across to tackle him before he could get his shot away.
Rafferty was cautioned in the 59th minute for a scything challenge on Steven Wilson. Young took the resultant free kick & lifted it into the box where Hyslop glanced a header just wide of the right post.
Kilbirnie were being stymied by the Bot defence & unable to test Leishman in the 2nd half. Their 1st effort of the half didn’t come until the 68th minute when they won a free kick 35 yards out. Rafferty took it & whist it was a good effort his shot was always flying high & wide of target.
Talbot now made their 1st change with White on for McCracken.
Young had a half chance to double Talbot’s lead in the 70th minute. G Wilson slid the ball through to find him inside the area & he cut inside to create space but fired wildly over the bar from 15 yards.
Haxton became the 2nd Blasties player in the book when cautioned for a late challenge on G Wilson.
It should have been game over in the 76th minute. Young & Milliken worked a neat one-two down the left to send Milliken free. He whipped the perfect cross over to the back post where Graham Wilson placed a free header over the bar from close range.
Both sides now made a further change with Shankland replacing G Wilson & the home side bringing on Anderson for Harkins.
Talbot’s failure to add to their lead ensured a nervy ending as the home side pushed forward to salvage a point. They won a free kick in a dangerous area in the 85th minute when Talbot were caught cold by a short corner. It was worked to Haxton who was impeded just outside the penalty area with Lyle picking up a caution for dissent. Forde whipped it across the 6-yard area where Hyslop headed it clear. Talbot had the opportunity to catch Ladeside on the counter but a poor final ball from Milliken saw the chance go a begging.
With 2 mins remaining Shankland sent Milliken through on the left. He succeeded in taking it wide of Hughes but ran out of space & couldn’t prevent it drifting behind for a goal kick.
Tucker now made a final change with Stevenson on for Milliken.
As the game moved into injury time the home side were reduced to 10 men when Haxton picked up his 2nd caution.
Somehow the referee managed to find almost 5 minutes of added time but Kilbirnie couldn’t get past the Bot defence & Talbot stood firm to claim all 3 points.
Not one of Talbot’s better perfomances but another clean sheet & 3 points gained. Next up for Talbot is Pollok’s visit to Beechwood in the league.
Kilbirnie – Hughes, Staunton, Gray, Green, Donnelly, Rafferty, Ronald, Harkins, Grehan, Forde, Johnstone
Subs – O’Byrne, Smith, Anderson, Haxton, Kerr (gk)
Talbot – Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McGoldrick, McCracken, Hyslop, S Wilson, Milliken G Wilson, Young
Subs – Shankland, White, Stevenson, Boyle, Pooler
Kilbirnie Ladeside 2 Auchinleck Talbot 1 (HT 1-0) | Auchinleck Talbot Forum
The home side should have taken the lead in the 4th minute. Young conceded a free kick out on the right which Miller delivered to the far post. Anderson laid it back across goal for Forde who somehow put it wide from 6 yards out.
Graham Wilson had his name taken in the 5th minute for leading with his arm in an aerial challenge.
The Blasties threatened the Bot goal in the 11th minute when they were awarded a soft looking free kick out on the left. It was delivered to the far post where Grehan headed it back across goal, forcing McGoldrick to slice it behind.
Kilbirnie were piling on the pressure & mounting up the corners & one almost came off for them in the 14th minute. Grehan met a corner from the right & his header for goal was glanced on by Forde but cleared at the far post by White.
Talbot’s first effort at goal came in the 17th minute when Young sliced a shot wide from 20 yards.
The Bot goal had a lucky escape in the 23rd minute. Anderson sped into the box down the left & laid it across to the back post where Gold fired wide of target from close range.
Steven Wilson had an opportunity to give Talbot the lead a minute later when he ran onto Young’s cross from the left wing but he lifted his free header over the bar.
As the half wore on, it looked as though Talbot had weathered the early storm, but with 3 minutes remaining Kilbirnie took the lead. MCALEER raced onto a good diagonal ball & cut inside past Young before curling a first time shot in off the right hand post to give Kilbirnie a 1-0 lead at the interval.
The 2nd half was only a minute old when Hyslop had his name taken. He went over in the penalty area when cutting across the box but the ref judged him to have taken a dive & produced a yellow card.
Graham Wilson hit the target in the 50th minute. He drilled a decent shot inside the right hand post from 20 yards but Hughes was well positioned to make the save.
Kilbirnie doubled their advantage in the 55th minute with a well taken goal. Anderson sent the ball out left to Forde who swung it across to the far corner of the 6-yard area where GREHAN side-footed it into the corner of the net.
Anderson picked up a yellow card in the 56th minute, and perhaps was lucky it wasn’t red, as he went in very late on White.
Tucker made a change in the 66th minute when Shankland came on in place of Boyd.
Kilbirnie also made a change in the 72nd minute with Turner on in place of Grehan.
Talbot were thrown a lifeline with quarter of an hour remaining. Staunton had been guilty of a few dubious aerial challenges & when he jumped into Graham Wilson with his arm extended, the ref pointed to the spot & booked him.
GRAHAM WILSON took the spot kick & sent Hughes the wrong way to make it 2-1.
Kilbirnie were showing signs of cracking under pressure & had two players cautioned in quick succession. Firstly, Turner for dissent following the award of a free kick to Talbot and then Hughes for time-wasting.
Talbot pushed bodies forward in the closing stages but never really fashioned a clear cut opening & almost lost a 3rd on the counter-attack in the 84th minute. McGoldrick was beaten to the ball by Turner who raced into the area but sent his shot wide of the right post under pressure from McCracken.
Any hopes of a late fight back were ended with a minute of time remaining when Graham Wilson received his 2nd yellow card of the evening leaving Talbot down to 10 men.
Not one of Talbot’s better nights but the Bot will be hoping to bounce back with a West of Scotland quarter-final against Clydebank to look forward to this Saturday.Kilbirnie Ladeside – Hughes, Rafferty, Bennett, Staunton, Houston, Anderson, Gold, Miller, Grehan, Forde, McAteerSubs – Meechan, Brannan, TurnerAuchinleck Talbot – Leishman, White, Lyle, McGoldrick, McCracken, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, Graham Wilson, Milliken, Steven Wilson
Subs – Shankland, Love, Findlay, Johnstone