Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup Semi-Final



by Stewart McConnell

HOPES of a silver lining to end the season were dashed last Wednesday as Buffs fell to the Scottish Junior Cup beaten finalists, thus bringing their 2017-18 campaign to an end.

In five minutes, visiting player Craig McCracken sent a 22-yard free-kick narrowly over the bar. At the other end two minutes later Ben Lewis slipped a fine through ball to Bryan Boylan whose strong effort from eight yards was well saved by Andy Leishman.

As Buffs kept pressing Bryan Boylan sent a 10-yard effort across the face of goal.

McCracken shot over the bar from 12 yards for Talbot in 22 minutes.

Talbot went close in 25 minutes when a McCracken free-kick broke back to him and Adam Strain saved on the line.

Buffs blasted into the lead in 32 minutes when the ball broke to Lewis inside the box and he blasted into the top corner from 10 yards.

Carlo Monti shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box in 36 minutes.

Talbot levelled with a stunning strike a minute after the break when a Graham Wilson rocket from 25 yards looked to be going wide but landed in the roof of the net.

The visitors seized the lead in 49 minutes when a Wilson cross was powerfully headed home from eight yards by McCracken.

Buffs were unlucky in 53 minutes when a Ricky Hanvey effort from 10 yards was hooked off the line by a defender.

Dylan Pooler had an opportunity to put the game out of reach for Talbot but shot across the face of goal from eight yards in 64 minutes.

Visiting goalie Andy Leishman made a superb reflex save to foil Boylan from point-blank range in 69 minutes.

Strain made a stunning stop to foil McCracken from six yards six minutes later.

Bryan Boylan was pushed inside the box but no foul was given in 84 minutes.

Carlo Monti was fouled on the edge of the box by McCracken two minutes later. The same player sent the set-piece into Leishman's arms as Tommy Sloan's team set up a final clash with derby rivals Cumnock at Meadow Park tonight (Wednesday).