SUPER LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION IRVINE MEADOW 0 AUCHINLECK TALBOT 3 TALBOT climbed to the summit of the table thanks to a fairly comfortable away victory over a toothless Meadow side.

Talbot made all the early running and won a free kick out on the left following a foul on Keir Milliken. Bryan Young swept it into the near post where the Meadow defence made the clearance.

Meadow nearly took the lead in the 16th minute courtesy of a deflected shot. Paul Maxwell met Robert Halliday’s free kick into the area and teed it up for Liam Finnigan to strike from the edge of the area. His shot took a wicked deflection and sped past Andy Leishman’s left post with the keeper helpless.

Meadow looked like a side that knew their league challenge was over and what threat there was in the final third was largely coming from Talbot.

Deep into first half injury time Talbot won a free kick 30 yards following a foul on Milliken. Mark Shankland took it and forced a top drawer save out of Graeme Shepherd who did well to touch his shot over the bar to ensure the sides went in level at the break.

Talbot started the second half much as they’d finished the first, on the front foot, and looking for the opening goal.

The pressure finally told and Talbot moved ahead in the 56th minute thanks to a wonderful free kick from Shankland. He went one better than his effort in the first half and this time whipped his shot over the wall and inside Shepherd’s right post from 30 yards out.

Bot gaffer Tommy Sloan made a double substitution in the 81st minute as he gave influential midfielder, Steven White, his first game time since his horror leg break back in October.

Any prospect of a Meadow fightback was effectively ended when Talbot grabbed their second goal in the 86th minute. David Gormley won a corner out on the left when he took on Grant Evans. The first short corner resulted in a second successive one and this time Young whipped it deep beyond the back post for stopper Mark Campbell to attack. He powered a header down and on target which Shepherd managed to keep out but the rebound came out to the returning White who lifted it into the roof of the net.

There was still time for Talbot to snatch one final goal and boost their goal difference advantage over Hurlford. Deep in injury time Colin Spence slid a good pass through for Gormley on the left and he cut inside into the box before lashing a low drive past Shepherd at his near post with what proved to be the final kick of the game.

Next up for Talbot is the visit of Kilbirnie to Beechwood with both sides eager for the three points; Talbot to extend their lead at the top of the table and the visitors anxious to avoid the play-off spot.

Irvine Meadow – Shepherd, Horne, Sideserf, Evans, Keenan, Murch, G McCann, Hall, Maxwell, Finnigan, Halliday Subs; McPartland, Deas, Hughes, S McCann, Thomson Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Park, Latta, McGoldrick, Campbell, Boyd, Young, Hyslop, Milliken, Gormley, Shankland Subs; Spence, White, Wilson, Cochrane, Kerr