Talbot Nap hand Shatters Jags Hopes by Easton Thain
The Jags task in the Scottish cup was always going to be a daunting one as they headed to Ayrshire to face junior Super League champions Auchinleck Talbot who have been scoring for fun in the early season and whose ground of Beechwood Park is a veritable fortress for them. The best Thistle could probably have hoped for was a replay back at Victoria Park but that hope was shattered as a vibrant, skilful and deadly home side were in the ascendancy for most of the game and no one could have really argued had they ended up with more goals to their tally.
To be fair to Thistle the first half hour was fairly even albeit the ‘Bot were ahead and there was one big escape for the Jags in that period. The Jags had the first chance in the 2nd minute when Andy Low won the ball and fed Andrzej Kleczkowski but his low effort was easily saved by Andy Leishman. Two minutes later a cross from Scott Adams broke to Andy Low but his drive was held by the big keeper. In the 7th minute a drive from Graham Wilson was deflected but Darren Strong got to the ball. 60 seconds later though the ‘Bot took the lead when Dave Gormley got free on the right and his perfect cross was met by the deadly Graham Wilson and his header flew past Darren Strong. In the 11th minute a ball found Andrzej Kleczkowski who played it on to Andy Low but his drive flew just over. Three minutes on at the other end came a big escape as Bob Duncan seemed to pull back James Latta in the box but no penalty was awarded. 60 seconds’ after that a ball in fell invitingly for Colin Spence but he shot over. In the 26th minute Shaun Wood pinged in a decent cross which ‘Zico’ Davidson got to but his header went wide. Just before the half hour the Jags had a big escape when Colin Spence met a corner but his effort was cleared off the line. No real action happened after that until the dying minutes of the half after which Thistle could have found themselves three behind. A minute before the break an attempted clearance only found Brian Young who smashed in a raking drive but to his disbelief the ball crashed off the bar with Darren Strong well beaten. On half-time there was another massive let off when Dave Gormley sent a precision pass through to Colin Spence, Darren Strong manage to tough his shot but the ball rolled towards the goal and hit the post before Iain MacRae cleared it off the line.
Half-time Auchinleck Talbot 1 Buckie Thistle 0
Into the second half and two minutes in Andrzej Kleczkowski fed Donnie Munro but his drive was deflected for a corner. In the 49th minute Graham Wilson was given far too much room but fortunately he sent his drive narrowly over. Two minutes after that Brian Young exchanged passes with Graham Wilson before firing in a shot but this went just wide. In the 53rd minute the writing was on the wall when the Jags conceded a poor second goal. A cross in caused panic, Dave Gormley eventually got a head to the ball which Darren Strong couldn’t hold and when it dropped to Martin McGoldrick he poked it past the keeper and the referee deemed that the ball crossed the line. From then on the ‘Bot ran the show but continued to pass up chances. In the 57th minute Graham Wilson held the ball up and set up Dave Gormley but he shot wide and a minute on the same player shot over after good work from Brian Young and James Latta. On the hour though it really was ‘tatties ower the side’ for Thistle when Darren Strong’s punch from a corner only landed at the feet of Stephen White who shot low through a forest of legs and into the far corner of the net. In the space of moments in the 65th minute Dave Gormley passed up two more chances first when he got free to a cross in but headed over and then when he was set up by Keir Milliken he shot over. Thistle had a rare chance two minutes on when Andy Low sent in a corner which Stephen Gauld met, his header beat the giant Andy Leishman but was headed off the line. In the 69th minute the ‘Bot made it 4-0 with a goal right off the training ground when Brian Young played a free-kick to Colin Spence who fed Gordon Pope and he smashed in a drive from 20-yards that flew home with the aid of a deflection. It nearly got worse two minutes later when Keir Milliken went clean through on goal but fluffed his lines by shooting wide. With fourteen minutes left Auchinleck secured the nap hand and hats off to them it was a super strike as Dave Gormley sent a great pass into the box which Keir Milliken dummied into the path of Kenny Connolly who crashed the ball into the net. More goals could have followed as in the 83rd minute the ball was again laid off to Kenny Connolly but this time he shot wide, a minute on Gordon Pope set up Willie Lyle but his low shot was held by Darren Strong, in the 88th minute Dave Gormley set up Keir Milliken but he shot over and then, in the final minute, Dave Gormley fired a free-kick over
Full-time Auchinleck Talbot 5 Buckie Thistle 0
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Park, Pope, Lyle, McGoldrick, Spence (Connolly), Young, White, Wilson (Milliken), Gormley and Latta (Boyd)
Buckie Thistle – Strong, S Wood, Duncan (Cheyne), Munro, MacRae, Hegarty, Angus (Baxter), Davidson, Kleczkowski, Low and Adams (S Gauld)
Referee D Munro
A really sore one to take for the Jags but on the day the ‘Bot were the superior side and no matter who was in the Thistle side it is doubtful they would have been stopped. Anyone who goes to Beechwood Park is in for a rough ride and for me even SFL Division 2 teams could fall to the ‘Bot on their home ground. The game is gone and Thistle has to lick their wounds and get on with it. They cannot feel sorry for themselves as the next three games are Wick Academy away on Saturday, Deveronvale away next Wednesday and Brora Rangers at home on the 27th. Only a Jags side playing with the spirit and skill that beat Formartine will bring positive results so Thistle must give it everything in these matches starting on Saturday. Travelling to Wick is not ideal and the task is daunting but play like they can and the Jags cane bring something back from that match.