McBookie Super League Premier Division



DRAWS from winning positions ultimately scuppered Beith’s title challenge last season and they will be hoping this was a one off as Talbot scored twice at the death to prevent them taking all three points.

A sodden playing surface and brutal wintry showers throughout made things difficult for the players but Beith capitalised after a few minutes when a ball headed down by Gordon Pope held up on the edge of the Talbot box allowing Thomas Collins to dart in and slide the ball past advancing keeper Leishman.

The visitors remained on top and Kier Milliken had a shot blocked in the box after Nicky Docherty headed on a free kick. It was 21 minutes before Talbot threatened at all and a Stephen Wilson strong run forward was stopped by a double block on the edge of the box.

Beith continued to look the more dangerous however and a fine driven Nicky Docherty cross only eluded a final touch by inches. Talbot were seeing more of the ball as the half wore on but never really threatened goal while Beith missed a real opportunity to increase their lead when, from a position, Kier Milliken headed over a fine Darren Christie delivery.

Talbot striker Graham Wilson seemed to have found an opening early in the second half but dallied on the edge of the box and the danger was cleared.

Conditions may have played a part in that and minutes later Keir Milliken looked set to finish off a nice move only to delay for a split second allowing Stephen Wilson to get in a block.

The frustrated hosts tried to shake up their side by replacing Jamie Glasgow with the more robust Sean McIlroy but it had little impact and Beith went close again when Andy Leishman turned a Connor McGlinchey shot round the post.

At the other end Stephen Grindlay did well to push away a dangerous free-kick driven across goal. Beith’s cause received a major setback on the hour when referee Mr Doherty succumbed to constant pressure from the home dug out and players to show midfielder Paul Frize a second yellow card for nothing more than a challenge for the ball with defender Pope who made a meal of the innocuous coming together.

Unsurprisingly Talbot got a lift from the man advantage and Beith had to defend determinedly to survive a goalmouth stramash. Beith continued to get forward though and they doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when sub Ritchie Burke capitalised on a Lyle mistimed header to shoot home from seven yards.

The hosts naturally had more of the ball but didn’t really look like getting back into the match until a cross to back post in a crowded box found Graham Wilson with room and he headed home from a few yards with only four regulation minutes remaining.

Action continued to the last and Beith looked to have sealed it in the 90th minute when sub Jamie Cunningham wriggled into the box and to the bye line to cut the ball back for the inrushing McGlinchey but he screwed his shot past with just the keeper to beat. The miss was duly punished in the final action when Kyle Faulds sent a snapshot from the edge of the box into the net with Grindlay rooted to the spot.

This was cruel on Beith, who were well marshalled by the excellent Kevin MacDonald, but again highlights that a Talbot side are never beaten until the final whistle blows.

AUCHINLECK TALBOT: Leishman; Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McPherson, White, Faulds, S Wilson, G Wilson, Glasgow, Hyslop. Subs: McIlroy, Pooler, Thomson, Armstrong, Shankland.

BEITH: Grindlay; McGlinchey, R Docherty, MacDonald, Sheridan, Martin, Christie, Frize, Collins, Milliken, N Docherty. Subs: McKenna, Bradley, Burke, McPherson, Cunningham.