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