William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round



By Stewart McConnell

AMAZING Auchinleck Talbot pulled off the biggest result in their 110-year history as they sent Championship title challengers Ayr crashing out of the showpiece national trophy.

And visiting boss Ian McCall was left reeling after suffering what he dubbed the worst result of his career and one which marked a low water mark in their history.

Scenes of sheer ecstasy erupted among the home fans at Beechwood Park as underdogs Talbot fought their own corner impressively against the visiting heavyweights.

Quoted at as generous odds as 14-1 in the morning, Talbot were far from fazed by their heavily favoured rivals. And it was perhaps ironic that former United man Craig McCracken landed the killer blow with the winning goal.

This is the most amazing result I have witnessed in 30 years of football reporting and illustrates how the gap is narrowing between the senior and junior game.

Talbot were worthy winners as they were brilliantly marshalled defensively and courageously had a go up front. They never flagged against a jaded, punchless Ayr who dominated possession but never really troubled home goalie Andy Leishman.

Jamie Glasgow saw his eight-yard shot booted away by an Ayr United defender in the opening minute.

Ayr won a corner in seven minutes and from it a Ross Docherty shot was cleared by a Talbot defender. United came close in 10 minutes when an Andy Murdoch effort from 12 yards was well saved by Andy Leishman.

Then the Talbot goalie dashed out to save from Andy Geggan in 13 minutes. A minute later at the other end Talbot had a good opening as Willie Lyle shot high and just wide from 12 yards.IO

In 20 minute United what looked like a fair claim for a penalty denied when a Docherty cross struck a Talbot player on the arm.

A Robbie Crawford header eight yards out from a Declan McDaid cross was well saved by Leishman in 25 minutes. Ross Docherty then set up Michael Moffat to shoot just wide in 24 minutes.

Talbot had a goal chalked off in 27 minutes when Graham Wilson blasted home from 12 yards but was adjudged offside although it looked marginal.

Jamie Glasgow then shot just across the face of goal after a good run in 34 minutes as Talbot kept exerting pressure. Seconds later Crawford shot straight at Leishman.

Willie Lyle sent a cross into the box which was well saved by Ross Doohan in 51 minutes.

Craig Moore set up Michael Moffat to shoot just wide from eight yards in 53 minutes. A Graham Wilson headed glanced just wide a minute later.

Glasgow sent a 25-yard rocket over the bar six minutes later.

Moore fired a 25-yard free-kick wildly over the bar in 61 minutes. The same player shot over the bar from six yards in 64 minutes following a Liam Smith cross.

Andy Murdoch was booked for a rash challenge a minute later. Smith shot well wide from 20 yards in 69 minutes. Docherty set up Smith to shoot inches wide from 12 yards in 73 minutes as Ayr battled for the breakthrough.

However the whole place erupted five minutes later when McCracken rose powerfully to sent home a bullet header from eight yards following a free-kick by fellow former Ayr man Mark Shankland.

And Talbot held on to complete a famous victory, but one which Ayr will quickly want to forget.

AUCHINLECK TALBOT: Leishman: Lyle, Pope, McCracken, McPherson, S Wilson, Hyslop, Glasgow, White, G Wilson, Armstrong. Subs: Samson, McIlroy, Kemp, Shankland, White, Hewitt.

AYR UNITED: Doohan; Harvie, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Crawford, Moore, Murdoch, McDaid, Higgins, Docherty. Subs: Hare-Reid, Smith, McCowan, Hilton, McGuffie, Ferguson, Bell.