Stagecoach West Region Premier Division
Saturday 2nd March , Beechwood Park, Auchinleck
AUCHINLECK TALBOT 4 (2)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
With Paul Murphy loaned out to Bo’ness United the captain’s armband was adorned by Paul McKenzie as Glenafton faced league leaders Auchinleck at an overcast Beechwood.
The home side were soon on the front foot moving the ball the length and breadth of the pitch with slick passing and quick thinking, former Glenafton striker David Gormely a key lynch pin in link up play with both flanks. On 5 minutes Richie McKillen was in the right place to head off the line as Graham Wilson looked to prod home a Bryan Young cross. The resultant corner kick was partially cleared and the ball lofted back out to the right for an airborne James Latta to head it back across the face of the goal where Colin Spence looked certain to head it home from a few yards out, only for Ally Semple to get down low and push the ball away and Ryan McChesney block Spence’s second bite at the cherry. Talbot continued to peg back the visitors with Young and Latta each getting to the bye line but their cut-backs were well defended.
Glenafton were content to launch high balls into the box and on 11 minutes the ploy looked to have paid off when the John Dempster beat Gavin Collins and Willie Lyle in the air to knock the ball down for Ross Robertson who from the corner of the six yard box drilled the ball low beyond the reach of Andy Leishman. The unlucky striker soon realised he was to have a third ‘goal’ in two games disallowed, this one for offside, a tight call but probably the right one.
Two minutes later Robertson saw off the aerial challenge of Collins and the ball fell for Danny Mitchell and his shot from 20 yards out cannoned off Gordon Pope and a flat-footed Leishman was relieved to look on as the ball dropped just over the bar. Brother Glen Mitchell won the header from the corner-kick and an alert Spence nicked in to deny McKillen at the expense of another corner, which Leishmann punched clear from under the bar as Danny Mitchell hovered with intent.
A quick break brought respite to Talbot defence and in a lightning quick move Wilson was through on goal but shot wide of target while later McChesney muscled Gormley off the ball allowing Semple to gather. In 28 minutes the home side took the lead when Young cut in from the left and the ball eventually picked up by Spence on the edge of the box who drove to the right before drilling a low hard shot beyond the outstretched leg of Semple, only for Graham Wilson to put the finishing touch to the net-bound ball. Glenafton raised arms claiming he had done so from an offside position waved away.
A speculative snap shot from distance by Gareth Campbell flew well wide of Leishman’s post as the visitors tried to strike back immediately. McKenzie and Danny Mitchell combined well down the right flank and for once the Glens got to the bye-line only for Leishman to clutch the cut-back safely as Dempster threatened. While at the other end Semple made a fine block at the near post as Talbot carved out another corner-kick.
With five minutes of the half remaining Talbot doubled their lead and again Glenafton appeals for offside were dismissed. Semple raced from his line to narrow the angle and make an excellent point-blank save from the wily Wilson who had worked his way into the box. As the ball rebounded Wilson lobbed it past the keeper to James Latta who headed it home him past McKillen, who appeared to be the only player between him and the goal-line.
Just before the break a free-kick played into the Talbot box saw Roberston fend off Wilson and Pope and feed the ball to Glen Mitchell in the six yard box but Wilson recovered to force the defender to shoot wide of target. H/T Auchinleck 2 Glenafton 0
Within a minute of the re-start the home side came close to extending their lead when Wilson fired from close range only for the ball to be blocked by Danny Mitchell and Semple and Craig McEwan join forces on the goal-line to snuff out Gormley from squeezing the loose ball home. A minute later McKenzie gathered the ball in the centre circle and showing Pope a clean pair of heels headed down the right flank only to have the aforesaid heels clicked before he broke into the box by the backtracking the defender, who was duly accepted the yellow card.
Collins cleared Dempster’s attempt from the resultant free-kick. The home side continued to press and Robertson’s determination in the box earned the visitors another corner which was partially cleared before being played back into a packed penalty box where the ball fell for Glen Mitchell and although he struck the ball sweetly it thundered inches wide of Leishman’s post. Up the park and a wicked shot from the impressive Wilson whistled narrowly wide with Semple stranded.
On 57 minutes Craig Potter and John Dempster were replaced by Gus Cochrane and Bobby Colligan and the latter was soon in the thick of it, but his final shot didn’t match his excellent run and it was well held by Leishman.
Talbot responded by laying siege to the Glens’ goal beginning with a fine passage of play down the left which saw Gormley break into the box and try to slot home from a narrow angle only for Semple to reach for a telling touch and Cochrane clear for a corner. The ensuing kick caused chaos Semple scurrying across his line to see off Latta and then make a stunning block at his post as Wilson tried to bury the loose ball. The keeper then rose to punch the corner kick clear as Wilson waited to head home.
The home side were not to be denied and on 63 minutes Pope and Gormley combined down the left to release Bryan Young who danced his way into the box and drove the ball home low and hard into the net at the far post.
Glenafton replaced the hard-working Robertson with Gareth Armstrong who was soon enjoying some classic tussles with Collins as the visitors tried to salvage something from the game. However, on 74 minutes, it was the home side that struck again. Gormley deep in the box set up Wilson whose effort from a few yards out was brilliantly beaten away by Semple but the keeper could do nothing to prevent substitute Kyle Faulds from lashing the ball into the gaping net. It was to be Gormley’s last action with Mick McCann his replacement. Three minutes from time Talbot almost added a fifth but the ball crashed off the junction of post and bar. Glenafton’s misery was complete when Gareth Campbell earned a second yellow card following a tackle on Craig Pettigrew. FT Talbot 4 Glenafton 0
Glenafton: Semple; McEwan, McChesney, G.Mitchell, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter (Cochrane), D.Mitchell, Campb ell; Robertson (Armstrong), Dempster (Colligan)
Auchinleck: Leishman; Lyle, Pettigrew, Collins, Pope; Latta, Spence, White, Young; Gormley, Wilson. Subs – Faulds, McCann, Hyslop
Other League Scores: Beith 0 Arthurlie 2, Irvine Meadow 2 Clydebank 0, Kirkintilloch 2 Petershill 3, Pollok 1 Cumnock 3, Shotts 1 Ashfield 1