Auchinleck Talb 2
Clydebank 0
West of Scotland Football League Cup (Final)

Auchinleck Talb 

2 - 0


West of Scotland Football League Cup (Final)
Friday, April 28th, 2023
Meadow Park. Att. 1,567
7:45 PM Kick-off

Chris Stafford (46)
Michael Wardrope (63)

Team Managers
Tommy Sloan Gordon Moffat

Starting Eleven
1 Andy Leishman
2 Chris Stafford
3 Aiden Wilson
4 Neill McPherson
5 Craig McCracken
6 Gareth Armstrong
7 Ally Park
8 Michael Wardrope
9 Ross Taylor
10 Ross Smith
11 Keir Samson
Jamie Donnelly 1
Adam Hodge 2
Oisin McHugh 15
Jamie Darroch 5
Creag Little 22
Frazer Johnstone 6
Lee Gallacher 7
Larry McMahon 17
Ciaran Mulcahy 9
Nicky Little 10
Alan Kelly 21

12 Lennox
14 Aaron Mason
15 Bryan Boylan
16 Jamie Ballantyne
17 Lewis Crawford
gk Marc Fisher
Nicky Low 23
Danny MacKenzie 3
Matt Niven 4
Lucas Ross 20
Josh Weir 19
Connor Higgins 24
Liam McGonigle 11

Aaron Mason -> Ross Taylor (79)
Bryan Boylan -> Ross Smith (79)
Jamie Ballantyne -> Ally Park (85)
Lennox -> Brian Wardrope (90)
Lewis Crawford -> Keir Samson (90)
Nicky Low for Frazer Johnstone (60)
Connor Higgins for Nicky Little (60)
Josh Weir for Ciaran Mulcahy (71)
Liam McGonigle for Alan Kelly (71)
Matt Niven for Adam Hodge (88)

Ross Smith (25)
Chris Stafford (45)
Alan Kelly (45)
Adam Hodge (61)
Creag Little (90)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Ross Clark (Referee)
Ian Hart & Josh Hay (Assistants)

Match Report

It was disappointment for the large Clydebank support who travelled to Irvine for the West of Scotland Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot tonight. The Bankies players will feel that they did not do themselves justice as they lost deservedly in the end by two goals to nil.

I want to avoid the usual platitudes such as it wasn’t to be, as that would be letting the players off the hook. There’s no doubt that the Bankies had the better of the first half, albeit without troubling the Talbot goal too much. However, after conceding the opening goal within a minute of the restart they never recovered any semblance of composure and Auchinleck bossed the rest of the game.

The gamble to bring back Nicky Little who had been out injured with a dislocated shoulder never paid off. He hadn’t played for almost four weeks and these eyes would need some convincing to believe he was truly back to full fitness.

It will hurt in the morning, but his one main contribution was his penalty miss 23 minutes in, after Lee Gallacher had been tripped in the box by Neill McPherson. I can barely remember Little going high with a spot kick in the past, but he opted to do so this time and he smacked the ball off the face of the cross bar.

The other main taking point of the first half was whether goalscorer Stafford should have received a red card for possibly stamping on Alan Kelly’s head. Now, I’ve watched this back several times and he probably does have a case, and maybe on another day he might have had the decision go his way.

Kelly and Stafford were engaged in a bit of needle immediately prior to the incident, but as the ball broke loose Ally Park and Kelly went to ground to challenge for the ball. Stafford knew exactly what he was doing as *stepped over* Kelly. There was easily some mischievous intent there even if he didn’t quite catch him fully on the head.

The quality of the football had been quite poor in the first half. It was cagey, tense stuff with both sides constantly giving the ball away. The Bankies found themselves in better positions in the final third, but the lack of composure was plain to see. Maybe it was the occasion, but Alan Kelly was frustrating to watch as he mis-touched or over-ran the ball in good areas. Lee Gallacher was only seen in glimpses, but he did show some promise on the ball.

All too often, the Bankies resorted to long ball tactics which suited the Talbot defence. I doubt this was the game plan Gordon Moffat set out for his players, but it is how the game panned out. It was probably just as much the nature of how the game unfolded, but the Bankies could really have done with somebody in the middle of the park to calm the other players down, and not be in such a rush to get the ball forward.

It was noticeable as half time approached that there were signs Talbot were beginning to get to grips with the game. They were the side starting to take a hold of the midfield and their pacy front line were starting to show themselves for the first time in the match. However, save for a half-snatched shot from Taylor which went over the bar from ten yards, the Bankies goal was not in any real danger.

Within a minute of the restart Talbot went ahead and from a set piece. The first goal in these games can be so huge, and the Bankies had already blown their opportunity. It was a simple enough free kick from the left hand side which curled over the defensive line and was met by Stafford at the back post sliding in to knock it past the helpless Donnelly. There is some irony in there somewhere that the guy who could have been sent off goes on to score the opening goal.

Thereafter the Bankies just completely fell apart. You do have to give Talbot some credit here too as they were buzzing about after the goal. You could almost see the boost in confidence the goal gave them.

But the Bankies just couldn’t get it going. Nothing would work for them. The long punts got worse and easier for the Talbot defence to mop up. They just didn’t get the ball down and do the basics correctly as pass after pass did not meet its target. It is such a shame that they chose tonight of all nights to throw in a real stinker.

It was no surprise when Talbot scored a second just after the hour, and lady luck gave them a helping hand. A Wardrope free kick hit Creag Little in the defensive wall and wrong-footed Donnelly in the Bankies goal as the ball flew into the net.

Gordon Moffat had made two substitutions just 60 seconds prior to the goal, so his attempt to change the pattern of the game came crashing down before the replacements had even touched the ball.

The match was essentially over as Clydebank just didn’t have the wherewithal to find a way back into the match. Talbot keeper Leishman could have got his deckchair out, so seldom were the Bankies near his goal.

There is not too much else to say about the game as it reached its now inevitable conclusion. Clydebank had beaten Auchinleck twice in the last four weeks, but any longstanding Bankies fan will tell you that they could see this coming in the game that really matters. You need to be a bit hardy to be a Clydebank fan sometimes. We’re certainly not in it for the glory, that’s for sure! Although it would be nice to get a little bit now and again.

So, really the planning starts now for next season. We have four league games left to complete the league programme. We no doubt will have players leaving, so I would like to see some experimentation, maybe giving the likes of young Ben McLernan a run in the team.

I’ve always been a fan of the sink or swim ethos, particularly at this point when results aren’t massively important. Jack Steedman would often do this in the senior years giving young players an opportunity. The likes of Blair Millar and Tommy Coyne were thrown in at the deep end, and look how they turned out.

The disappointment of tonight will fade from memory soon enough. The club is definitely going in the right direction, and I’m sure the next time we are in this position that we will be ready.

Match report written by Stuart McBay

Squad Statistics (as at April 28th, 2023)

2022-23 All Time
League Cups All
Jamie Donnelly (GK) 19 - 8 - 67 -
Adam Hodge 19 - 91572
Oisin McHugh 1618 - 571
Jamie Darroch 1727 - 18316
Creag Little 20211 - 312
Frazer Johnstone 23110 - 731
Lee Gallacher 2351248919
Larry McMahon 2518 - 331
Ciaran Mulcahy 173845616
Nicky Little 1916118223139
Alan Kelly 2471033410
Matt Niven (sub) 171837011
Nicky Low (sub) 8 - 51131
Connor Higgins (sub) 2491043413
Josh Weir (sub) 225104329
Liam McGonigle (sub) 1046 - 6014

Recent Results

League results since Clydebank's last match

League Table (as at April 28th, 2023)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Beith Juniors 26 19 3 4 +34 60
2. Darvel 27 17 3 7 +30 54
3. Pollok 29 14 6 9 +19 48
4. Auchinleck Talb 25 14 5 6 +25 47
5. Clydebank 26 15 0 11 +22 45
6. Largs Thistle 27 12 5 10 +2 41
7. Irvine Meadow 27 12 3 12 -5 39
8. Troon 26 11 3 12 -2 36
9. Cumnock 27 10 6 11 -4 36
10. Hurlford United 25 10 5 10 0 35
11. Glenafton Ath 25 9 6 10 -1 33
12. Kirk Rob Roy 25 10 2 13 -5 32
13. Arthurlie 27 9 3 15 -17 27
14. Petershill 29 7 4 18 -43 25
15. Kilwinning Rgrs 25 6 4 15 -26 22
16. Cambuslang R 26 6 2 18 -29 17

Point deductions:
Arthurlie: -3
Cambuslang Rangers: -3