IT was three out of three for Ayrshire’s representatives in the Scottish Junior Cup at the weekend – and two of the three local sides left standing will now face each other in the quarter-finals in the new year.

Auchinleck Talbot’s hopes of bringing the trophy back to what many Bot fans see as its spiritual home in the Beechwood Park trophy cabinet are still very much alive, though Tommy Sloan’s men were made to work for their 4-1 win away to Vale of Leven.

Talbot looked to be on their way after a stodgy first 40 minutes at Millburn Park when Jamie Glasgow pounced on a loose ball to fire home – but on the stroke of half-time Ethan Furze bundled home an equaliser for the underdogs.

Talbot created most of the second half chances, but it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that Sloan’s side finally cut loose, with Kyle McAvoy putting the visitors back in front before Bryan Boylan snapped up a rebound and Nathan Lennox completed the job in the closing stages.

Talbot will play host to East Ayrshire opposition in the last eight after Hurlford staged a late, late show to avoid a huge upset at home to lower league WoSFL opposition: with just a minute of normal time left, the Ford trailed Second Division Caledonian Locomotive 2-0 at Blair Park, only for Jack Whittaker to pull one back – and then, in added time, Ben Hughes levelled and then Paul McKenzie netted a dramatic winner.

Darvel completed the Ayrshire three-card trick on Saturday with a 4-0 win at home to Second Division Larkhall Thistle; captain David Syme led the way with a double, while Graham Wilson and Craig Moore also found the net to secure a last eight tie at home to Lochee United.

Premier Division champions Beith completed a good week’s work with a comfortable 5-0 win away to bottom dogs Irvine Meadow on Saturday in Ben Carson’s first match in charge of Medda; Chris Strain’s side went into the game off the back of a 2-1 midweek win away to Gartcairn, and look to have well and truly put a sticky November behind them after Ciaran Diver’s brace and goals from Andy Monk, Aaron Mason and Declan Hughes helped the Mighty to a comfortable win at Meadow Park.

The search for consistency goes on at Cumnock after Murdie MacKinnon’s men tumbled to a 2-0 defeat at home to St Cadoc’s – a result which MacKinnon will have seen as doubly disappointing after a battling 2-2 midweek draw away to Pollok, with Neil McLaughlin scoring both the visitors’ goals at Townhead Park.

There was plenty of entertainment on offer at Loch Park, though that will have come as no consolation to Glenafton boss Ryan Caddis after he watched his side lose his first league match in charge; Michael Moffat with a penalty and Luke McBeth levelled twice for Glens at home to leaders Clydebank, only for Ciaran Mulcahy to grab full points for the visitors six minutes from time as Gordon Moffat’s men snatched a 3-2 win.

Goals were the name of the game at Barrfields, too, as Troon grabbed a 4-3 win in the seaside derby away to Largs Thistle, with Lawrence Shankland’s outrageous effort from the halfway line giving the visitors a 2-1 interval lead after Ben Black had cancelled out Jamie Martin’s early opener for the hosts.

David Ramsay levelled for Largs on the hour before Chris Millar, with his first touch of the game, put Troon back in front; Leyton Dunlop put daylight between the sides with the visitors’ fourth in the closing stages, and though Darryl Duffy netted a third for Largs two minutes from time, Jimmy Kirkwood’s men held out for the points.

Kilwinning Rangers had to settle for a share of the spoils against Renfrew at Buffs Park; Mark Lamont had the hosts in front early on, but a bizarre goal earned the visitors a point, with keeper Thomas McLeay’s long clearance bouncing past Buffs keeper George O’Connor and straight into the net.

Kilbirnie Ladeside ended a four-game losing streak after holding promotion-chasing Blantyre to a 3-3 draw at Valefield Park – though the Blasties’ fans could be forgiven for thinking it should have been more, with Nadeem Zeb grabbing a late point for the visitors after Scott Lewis’s brace and John Scullion had seen the hosts battle back from behind.

Mick McCann doesn't officially start as Whitletts Vics’ new manager until Monday, a week after his appointment – though the new man will have been left under no illusions about the task facing him after Vics tumbled to a 5-1 loss at Johnstone Burgh on Saturday, leaving them still without a win and nine points adrift of second-bottom Neilston at the foot of the table.

By contrast, the Ardrossan Winton Rovers bandwagon rumbles relentlessly on after a goal fest away to Glasgow Perthshire; Gavin Friels’ men were 6-1 up at the break, with Mark Curragh and Ryan Wilson each netting a double and Aidan Ferris and David Gray also on target, before Chris Craig completed the scoring after the break as Winton maintained their 10-point lead at the top.

David Blyth scored the only goal as Muirkirk extended their unbeaten run to a fifth game, though goalkeeper Cameron Powell shared in the plaudits after his fine second-half penalty save in the 1-0 win at home to Maryhill – but there was no fairytale start to life in the Bonnyton Thistle hotseat for new boss Gordon Pope as promotion-chasing Kilsyth eased to a 4-1 win at the Synergy Arena.

Dalry Thistle were the only Ayrshire side to take anything away from Saturday’s Third Division fixtures, with Jamie Gray’s tremendous strike from 20 yards earning the hosts a point at Merksworth Park after visitors Lesmahagow turned a 3-1 deficit early in the second half into a 4-3 advantage.

Irvine Vics ceded second place in the table to Greenock Juniors after a second-half collapse in the two sides’ meeting at Victoria Park, with Kyro Crawford’s fine run and low shot into the corner in only the second minute eventually proving in vain as Greenock scored three times in the space of six minutes to take full points with them back up the coast.

Ardeer Thistle were also unable to make the most of the interval advantaged granted to them by Jack Taylor’s first-half strike at home to Threave Rovers, with Dylan Cairnie levelling for the visitors in the opening minute of the second half before Tam Coles broke Thistle’s hearts by sliding in to net the winner in the fifth minute of added time.

Todd Henderson’s late goal for Girvan wasn’t enough to salvage a point at home to Lanark after the Yowes struck twice early in the second half, while Kello Rovers’ miserable season continued with a 3-0 loss at home to second-bottom West Park United, leaving the Nithside Park men seven points adrift at the bottom of the table.

And it was a disappointing day for the three Ayrshire sides in the Fourth Division, with Saltcoats Vics and Eglinton each conceding four goals in defeats away from home, against Giffnock and Glenvale respectively, while Lugar Boswell Thistle tumbled to a 2-0 loss against second-top Thorn Athletic at Rosebank Park.

What's next?

Only two Ayrshire sides are in action in the lead up to Christmas: on Wednesday, December 20, Kilwinning Rangers host Johnstone Burgh at Buffs Park (KO 1945), while on Saturday, December 23, Beith host St Cadoc's in the top flight while Buffs are away to Rutherglen Glencairn.

Both Saturday's games kick off at 1.30pm.

However, fans looking for their festive football fix don’t have too much longer to wait with a (nearly) full card of league matches scheduled for the final weekend of the year.

Three Ayrshire sides are in action under the floodlights on Friday, December 29, with Troon hosting Hurlford at Portland Park and Girvan travelling to Port Glasgow.

The fixture list for Ayrshire’s WoSFL clubs on Saturday, December 30 is as follows.

Premier Division: Arthurlie v Irvine Meadow, Beith v Glenafton, Clydebank v Largs, Darvel v Auchinleck Talbot, Gartcairn v Cumnock.

First Division: Cambuslang v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Maybole v St Roch’s, Whitletts v Rutherglen Glencairn.

Second Division: Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Yoker, Craigmark v Larkhall, Kilsyth v Muirkirk, St Anthony’s v Bonnyton.

Third Division: Finnart v Dalry, Irvine Vics v Bellshill.

Fourth Division: Eglinton v Lugar.