Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 21
Monday 27th April, Beechwood Park , Auchinleck
AUCHINLECK TALBOT 3 (1)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
Glenafton made one change to the side that drew with Arthurlie in their last competitive game just over three weeks ago, with Darren McGill replacing the suspended Michael Wardrope. In stark contrast Auchinleck were lining up for their third game in 5 days as they play catch up in their outstanding league games.
There was certainly no evidence of match fatigue as the hosts carved out a host of half chances in the opening minutes on a bright but bitterly cold Beechwood, all of which however failed to test Brian McGarrity in the Glens’ goal. On 15 minutes the former Talbot keeper had to be alert to beat former Glenafton striker David Gormley to the ball as he hunted down a deflected shot by Steven White from the edge of the box.
The visitors found their feet with Alan Cairns and Darren McGill combining well down the left flank, the latter picking out Alain Kinney in the middle of the park who in turn found the overlapping Joe Andrew only for his shot from wide right in the box to whiz wide of keeper Andy Leishman’s near post. Played flowed to the other end and in a flash Martin McGoldrick’s clearance was gathered by Gordon Pope who slipped the ball to Mark Shankland . The striker with space and time deep in his favour box fired for goal and although his angled shot beat McGarrity at full stretch, time seemed to stand still as the ball took an age to drift wide of target and clip the outside edge of the post.
Glenafton were coming more into the game and enjoying lots of possession in the middle of the park and the industrious McGill posing a constant threat down the left. During one such foray he got the jump on James Latta to burst into the box only for his cut back across goal to be gathered by Leishman before the incoming Andrew could threaten. Back came McGill and after his twist and turn had left Latta languishing on the lush Beechwood turf he set up Daniel Orsi but his shot from the edge of the box was deflected over the bar. The corner kick was cleared by the home defence as was the one earned soon after as the visitors continued to press.
However, on 28 minutes it was the home side that opened the scoring and with some style. Gormley found Shankland and with a killer pass he threaded the ball through a clutch of red and white shirts to complete the one-two before Gormley blasted the ball beyond McGarrity from almost the identical spot where Shankland’s shot had previously struck the post.
The visitors responded with Jamie McKernon the lynch pin as four or five passes moved the ball from deep in the Glens half to edge of their opponents box only for the midfielder to lose his balance as he prepared to apply the finishing touch. Another Glenafton corner came to nothing before McGarrity, at the other end, pulled off a great save from a Gormley drive and sprang to his feet to prevent Ally Park poking home the rebound. Back came Glens and Orsi’s well- timed pass saw McGill beat the offside trap only to scoop his shot over the bar, as the back-tracking defenders closed in.
Ten minutes from the break the visitors had an appeal for a penalty waved away after Kinney’s header from a corner kick appear to be blocked by the outstretched hand of White. Up-field and the lively Shankland fashioned another chance but again his shooting didn’t match the build-up play. On the stroke of half time Orsi suffered the same misfortune when from the edge of the box he drilled McGill’s cut back over the bar.
H/T Auchinleck 1 Glens 0
Two minutes after the restart Andrew gave McGoldrick the slip before the defender took the feet from him and although McKernon’s free kick from 24 yards beat the wall the ball sailed over the bar and disappeared in the fading light, and so too clear cut chances for the Glens as the home side began to dominate. Another Shankland shot zoomed inches over the bar and McGarrity pushed a Gormley shot wide as the strike force looked to double Talbot’s lead. Gormley’s optimistic appeal for a spot-kick after a block in the box was duly dismissed.
Some respite for the visitors as McGill’s determination had him progress down the left before picking out Andrew deep in the box, but McGoldrick was in no mood to let the striker fashion a shot at goal and mopped up the danger. The hosts counter-attacked and although Gormley beat the outrushing McGarrity to the chase for a long ball he was forced wide toward the corner flag and with Chris Meikle in close attendance he still managed to whip the ball back into the six yard box over the head of the keeper, now at his near post, for the incoming Shankland to guide the ball into the gaping net; Talbot 2-0 up after 64 minutes.
McGill’s shift and half was over and he was replaced by Craig McGuffie as the visitors tried to salvage something from the match. Andrew got the better of McGoldrick in the box but his effort cannoned off the shins of Gordon Pope befofore the ball fell kindly for McKernon and although he smacked the ball sweetly it zoomed wide of Leishman’s post.
Further substitutions followed with Andrew replaced by Aarron Connolly and the Talbot goalscorers coming off for Keir Millken and Graham Wilson; the pair soon in the thick of the action. Wilson and and Jamie McGeoghegan engaged in an aerial battle for a ball clipped into the box with Glens defender adjudged to have used a hand. Up stepped Pope to convert the spot kick and put the home side three ahead with 10 minutes to go.
Within a minute the Glens appealed for handball in the Talbot box by Colin Spence, but to add salt to the wounds, the official penalised Orsi for impeding the last of the home side’s substitutes. McGarrity prevented Pope’s brace with another fine save before Milliken & Wilson combined well to create another notable chance but there was to be no further scoring. FT Auchinleck 3 Glenafton 0
Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Park, Pope, Hyslop (Spence), McGoldrick, Boyd, Latta, White, Shankland (Milliken), Gormley (Wilson), Young. Subs: Cochrane, Lavan
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McGeoghan, Meikle, Menzies, Cairns; Orsi, Hay, McKernon, McGill (McGuffie) ; Kinney & Andrew (Connolly) Subs: McChesney, Thompson, Buchanan (gk)
More photos here