Lochee United 1 Auchinleck Talbot 4

Holders Auchinleck Talbot proved too strong for Lochee United in this Scottish Junior Cup semi-final 1st leg, coming out on top by 4 goals to 1.

The tie bore a lot of similarities to last season with the home side unable to make much of an impression on the Ayrshire team in the home leg, but keeping it close until two late Talbot goals sealed the victory.

It now looks like mission impossible for the Bluebells to overturn the deficit and prevent the ‘Bot from reaching another final.

Lochee started the brighter of the two sides and seemed determined to put last season’s disappointment behind them, but Talbot’s power gradually wore them down and they took control of the game.

It’s difficult to remember the Thomson Park side actually troubling keeper Andy Leishman at all in the first half.

On 14 minutes there was almost a breakthrough for Auchinleck as Jamie Glasgow’s close-in shot was cleared off the line by Scott Webster.

There was some controversy eight minutes later when Kier Samson went down at the feet of Lochee keeper Jordan Millar. With visiting fans screaming for a free kick and a card for Millar, the referee apparently decided Samson had stumbled after rounding the goalie.

Skipper Greg Kirk led by example when he lined up a shot just outside the Talbot box, but his effort was blocked by Talbot defenders.

With three minutes left to the break Lochee were presented with half chance when the ball fell to Connor Birse inside the box, but defenders were on him before he could get control.

Both sides would have been disappointed at their respective first half showings with neither of them creating any really clear-cut chances.

However, nine minutes after the break Auchinleck took the lead. A corner from the left found Gordon Pope at the back post and his header across goal was touched in by Graham WILSON.

Lochee replied when Reece Ritchie delivered a great through ball for Birse but again, the striker found his shot blocked.

Kirk came to Lochee’s rescue when his timely interception stopped substitute Sean McIlroy from scoring.

However, on 73 minutes the visitors grabbed their second. A strong run down the right saw the ball cut back for Dwayne HISLOP to net from 12 yards.

Bluebells boss George Shields brought on Bryan Deasley for Dougie Cameron who had been in the wars and the sub made an immediate impact. Stephen McNally sent in a ball to the back post where Deasley headed it across the face of the goal where BIRSE was on hand to divert the ball into the net.

So, it could have been game on, but Talbot went straight up the other end and scored their third, the ball coming back off the woodwork for Steven WILSON to knock the ball in at the back post.

With five minutes to go sub McILROY should have made it four when he brushed aside a Lochee defender in the box, but he screwed his shot wide.

However, in the dying minutes he was given two bites of the cherry and drilled the ball home for Talbot’s fourth.

Lochee United: J Millar, D Millar, Kenneth, Kirk, Webster, Cameron (Deasley 78), Ritchie, Lawson, McNally, McComiskie, Birse.

Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Lyle, Pope, McPherson, McCracken, S Wilson, Hislop, White (Armstrong 75), G Wilson (McIlroy 68), Glasgow, Samson (Kemp 68).

Written on 30 March 2019