McBookie Premiership



DEFENDER Gordon Pope was delighted as his second half spot kick was enough to earn Auchinleck a hard-fought victory over Cumnock at Townhead Park in a hotly-contested derby match on Saturday afternoon, writes Christopher Dodds.

In a lively start, Talbot had the first chance through Graham Wilson, who could only head the ball over from six yards out from his brother Stephen’s zinging cross shot. Cumnock went up the pitch and nearly found the lead themselves three minutes later, after working hard to chase down the ball over the top, Robert Patterson stole the ball from Neil MacPherson on the byline, he managed to create a small angle to shoot and force Andy Leishman into good save from eight yards. Alistair Millar’s free-kick from the right hand side of the area just after the half hour had Leishman left rooted to the spot as it fizzed round the post.

Graham Wilson was lucky to escape a red card at the end of the first half after elbowing Ray Montgomerie in an aerial challenge, bursting his nose in the process, only to walk away with a yellow. Cumnock captain James Lundie was adjudged to have fouled the returning Keir Samson after planting his forearm into the strikers back in an aerial duel at the edge of the box.

This left whistler Ross Hardie having no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Pope stepped up and confidently slotted the ball beyond Ally Semple into the bottom left corner. Talbot nearly doubled their lead 10 minutes later, Stephen Wilson volleyed over from 12 yards. With seven minutes left, Richard Murray met Paul Burns’ corner at the near post, his flick on was easily held by Leishman. In the closing stages with Cumnock piling the pressure, Talbot broke and sent Jamie Glasgow running through on goal, he took on his man down the outside, brought the ball into his right foot and was unlucky to curl it the wrong side of the back post.

Pope said: “ All that mattered was getting the three points, Hurlford were off so it gave us a really good chance to catch up on them and put ourselves in a strong position going forward.”