POOR defending cost Auchinleck Talbot dear as the Beechwood Park men’s early season struggles continued at home to Darvel on Saturday.

That was the verdict of assistant manager Allan McLuckie after the 2-1 loss which left Talbot just two points off the bottom of the table – and with two more tough ties to come this week.

Tommy Sloan’s men head for the seaside on Wednesday night to take on Troon at Portland Park before Clydebank come to Beechwood Park on Saturday – both of them tough tests for a Talbot side who have now lost three of their first four league matches.

The hosts were left empty-handed on Saturday despite taking the lead through Ewan Ferguson midway through the first half, with former Cumnock man Jordan Moore levelling just before the break for Darvel after Scott Ferguson’s effort from distance cannoned back off the bar – before Ferguson himself curled in what would turn out to be the winner just past the hour mark.

Speaking after Saturday’s defeat, McLuckie said he felt a draw might have been a fair result – but admitted his team had lost two “bad goals”.

McLuckie told Talbot’s own media team: “The first goal is from a good strike – the boy’s hit the bar but we’ve not reacted.

“The second goal, everybody on the pitch could see the boy’s going to come inside. We need to show him down the line.

“It was a good finish from him, but we need to be stronger there.

“In the second half, we didn’t create enough chances. We didn’t get high enough up the park, we didn’t put them under enough pressure at times, and some of the boys just tired towards the end.”

Wednesday night's match at Troon – the last in a frenetic start to the season for most of the WOSFL's clubs, with five matches in the space of 19 days – gets under way at 7.30pm, while Saturday's fixture at home to Clydebank has a 2pm kick-off.