Shanks and Wil­son climb off bench to make sure Tucker’s men join last 16

Evening Times - - SPORT - BY JIM O’DON­NELL AT BEECHWOOD PARK

JU­NIORS AUCHINLECK 3 CUMNOCK 1

ON paper, Auchinleck Tal­bot’s 3-1 vic­tory over Cumnock on Sat­ur­day that ex­tended their un­beaten run to 13 games and in­flicted a third de­feat of the sea­son on their ri­vals might look all too fa­mil­iar.

In re­al­ity how­ever, Tal­bot, of­ten frus­trated by Ally Sem­ple’s hero­ics be­tween the posts, made some­what heavy weather of clinch­ing a last-16 spot in the Ardagh Group West of Scot­land Cup, a fact ac­knowl­edged by no less than boss Tommy Sloan.

He said: “I felt the guys were to­tally dom­i­nant in the first half so to come in at 1-1 was dis­ap­point­ing, but it was not so much down to a lack of a clin­i­cal touch as the Cumnock keeper hav­ing a de­cent day of it

“The game then hit a lull with a lot of stop-start pas­sages of play and though still on top, we weren’t cre­at­ing as much so we turned to the bench and that’s what made all the dif­fer­ence.

“Shanks [Mark Shank­land] has a bit of qual­ity about him, as has Gra­ham Wil­son whom we rested with next week’s game against Ayr United in mind and they put us back on the front foot over and above both scor­ing goals.”

Tucker was equally as forth­right in giv­ing his view on the dis­al­lowed Cumnock goal near­ing the hour mark that would have put the vis­i­tors 2-1 ahead.

He added: “I didn’t see it my­self but a cou­ple of guys in our du­gout have said the ball was out of play be­fore the Cumnock full-back has crossed in from out wide on the left touch­line and in fair­ness the lines­man has raised his flag im­me­di­ately.

“I wouldn’t have liked go­ing 2-1 down but it didn’t really mat­ter be­cause I felt the guys played de­cent stuff through­out the sec­ond half and prob­a­bly de­served more than just a two-goal win­ning mar­gin.”

Auchinleck’s noses were in front from the eighth minute when a truly au­da­cious Keir Sam­son flick found Dwayne Hys­lop bang in front of goal and he touched the ball home from point blank range.

The one-way traf­fic con­tin­ued and Cumnock’s goal sur­vived sev­eral other near things on top of goal­keeper Sem­ple deny­ing Sam­son and Jamie Glas­gow with ter­rific block­ing saves be­fore the vis­i­tors equalised against the run of play near­ing half­time as new cen­tre-back sign­ing Alan Mur­doch’s header from an in-swing­ing cor­ner kick crept over the line.

Lit­tle changed in the over­all run of the game as Tal­bot stayed on the as­cen­dancy when the sec­ond half got un­der­way but without mak­ing any break­through and it was vis­it­ing sup­port­ers who were cheer­ing again when a Greg Ferry cross was glanced low into the cor­ner of the net by Robert Pat­ter­son, how­ever he and his team­mates’ cel­e­bra­tions were cut short by whistler Wil­lie Wil­son on the say so of his as­sis­tant and much to the fury of the Cumnock play­ers.

The near thing sparked Tal­bot into life and a fur­ther boost ar­rived with the in­tro­duc­tions from the bench of Shank­land and Wil­son which cul­mi­nated in Wil­son sub­limely flick­ing home a Shank­land driven cor­ner be­fore turn­ing goal­maker him­self with a cut-back that caused a melee which saw his part­ner wheel to fire home from six yards out for a 3-1 score­line.

Cumnock boss Paul Burns was an­gry about the dis­al­lowed goal and fumed: “The ball was never out and it was just an­other one of the many big de­ci­sions we didn’t get over the 90 min­utes.

“But it was cer­tainly a mas­sive game-changer and I had said as much to my play­ers at half-time in stress­ing the im­por­tance of nab­bing the next goal so to be wrongly de­nied in the cir­cum­stances is a real sick­ener.

“Tal­bot have taken heart from their lucky es­cape and have gone up­field for Wil­son to score shortly af­ter­wards and the galling thing for me is see­ing us done by yet an­other set-piece goal so we have work to do on that area.”

Sub­sti­tute Mark Shank­land fires home the third goal of the day for Auchinleck Tal­bot after ini­tially be­ing rested ahead of their Scot­tish Cup game against Ayr United

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