Saturday 19 January 2019
Scottish Cup
HT   0 - 0
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Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United | Match Report

Honest Man

Chris Higgins

Ayr United made Scottish Cup history, but of the wrong type, as they crashed out of the competition to Scottish Juniors Auchinleck Talbot by a single goal scored in the 78th min by former Ayr man, Craig McCracken.

Talbot set out their stall early playing a 4-5-1 formation and allowing Ayr plenty of possession but limiting them to knocking the ball around without getting close to the Talbot goalmouth. This was to be the way the game played out over the entire 90 minutes.

The first real chance for Ayr came on the 5 min mark. Michael Moffat dinked the ball forward to McDaid, playing on the right wing, and the attacking midfielder played the ball off Talbots' Neil Macpherson for a corner. The incoming ball was headed away to the edge of the box where Ross Docherty was waiting. His shot clearly hit the arm of Gordon Pope, who had leaned into the path of the ball, but the referee declined to give what appeared to be a stone wall penalty and Talbot cleared the ball upfield and away from the danger zone.

Ayr continued to press and three minutes later a long ball in from the left from Daniel Harvie connected with Craig Moore in the box who had plenty of time to find Andy Murdoch, but the ball bounced too high and the midfielder’s shot was collected easily by keeper Leishman.

It was to be the 13th min of the match before Talbot had their first attempt at goal. Willie Lyle did the hard work in getting to the byline on the right side after some good interplay, but his cross was scuffed and went harmlessly over the bar.

30 seconds later and Ayr had another penalty shout. Craig Moore appeared to be bundled to the ground inside the box, but again the referee saw nothing amiss and waved play on.

Ayr consistently made ground coming down the right wing with McDaid putting the Talbot defence under pressure and getting crosses in, but the back four of Talbot were up to the task and snuffed out each attempt with ease.

Ayr looked dangerous with the movement of Craig Moore getting in behind and Moffat coming in short causing the Talbot defence some problems, but United were still unable to make the breakthrough their play perhaps deserved.

Beechwood Park went into raptures in the 25th min when Talbot showed their potential and got the ball into the back of the Ayr net. A free kick conceded by Chris Higgins was flicked into the box and an attempted clearance by Robbie Crawford ricocheted off a Talbot player and into the path of Graham Wilson who blasted the ball past Ross Doohan. Ayr's blushes were saved by the far side assistant who had his flagged raised for offside. But the warning had been posted and Ayr would have done well to heed it.

Ayr suffered their first major blow of the game on 33 mins. Right back Andy Geggan pulled up in the Ayr box with what looked like a calf strain and was unable to continue. Liam Smith replaced the injured man and brought a more direct approach to United’s play on the right.

The rest of the first half spluttered to an end with Ayr still retaining most of the possession (59%) but still failing to break down a resolute Talbot team that seemed more than happy to defend in numbers and look to attack on the break. Both managers would have plenty to say in the dressing room at the break.

Talbot came out for the second with their tails up and with a determined attitude. The first 10 mins of the second half were played almost exclusively in the Ayr United half with Talbot creating chances to test Ross Doohan in the Ayr goal.

Dwayne Wilson came close on the 47th min as he climbed high above the Ayr defence, but his header was off target and went past the left-hand post. Ayr were starting to look a bit shell shocked and running out of ideas as to how to get this game to go their way while Talbot started to believe an upset could be on the cards.

It wasn't until the 60th min that Ayr started to dominate and recover their composure.

The first card of the game came on the 59th min as Gareth Armstrong bundled Ross Docherty to the ground as he was going for the ball.

Craig Moore came close on 61 mins when Liam Smith got to the right-hand goal line and crossed an inviting, pacy ball into the path of the striker right in front of the Talbot goal. It was almost inevitable though that the ball would stay out the net and the shot went sailing over the top of the bar.

Still no score in this game and the Ayr fans were starting to get concerned.

Talbot made a double substitution on 75 mins with Mark Shankland and Keir Samson coming on for Jamie Glasgow and Graham Wilson. It was one of those substitutes who was to contribute to Ayr's downfall just 2 mins later.

Talbot gained a free kick just outside the box.  Shankland stepped up and lofted the ball into the Ayr box where it was met by Craig McCracken who headed the ball down and angled into the left-hand corner of the net. 1-0 Talbot and the junior team were in dreamland. A massive upset was now firmly on the cards with a mere 12 mins left to play. Ayr, who had been on the crest of a wave all season were now drowning at Beechwood.

Ayr threw everything they could at the home side's goal, making attack after attack, but the home side sat deep and snuffed out the Championship side each time.

Ayr had one last chance in the dying minutes of the game when a free kick was awarded 10 yards outside the box and right in line with the Talbot goal. Craig McGuffie was the player tasked with pulling the iron out the fire, but his shot went well over the top of the bar and Beechwood Park faithful breathed a sigh of relief.

With 94 mins and 39 seconds on the clock, it was all over. Auchinleck Talbot had pulled off an historic result knocking Championship Ayr United out the cup. The dream had become reality and Talbot were into the 5th round for the first time.

Ayr now have a massive game on Friday night when they welcome Dundee United to Somerset Park for another televised game. They will be looking to stop their run of defeats and get back to winning ways and consolidate their position in the league. All attention will now turn to that task and the fight for promotion from the Championship.

 

Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United | Match Timeline

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Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United | Match Stats

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Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United | Media

All Images are © David Sargent and Ayr United FC and may not be used without permission

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