0 - 1
League (WoSFL Premier)
Nicky Little (68)
1 Chris Henry
2 Ally Boyle
3 Aiden Wilson
23 Neil Slooves
5 Neill McPherson
6 Gareth Armstrong
7 Ruaridh Langan
8 Michael Wardrope
9 Connor Boyd
10 Ross Smith
11 Ewan Thomson
Kieran Hughes 20
Adam Hodge 2
James Grant 24
Matt Niven 4
Oisin McHugh 15
Frazer Johnstone 6
Lee Gallacher 7
Nicky Low 23
Callum Graham 9
Nicky Little 10
Thomas Collins 14
12 Nathan Lennox
15 Fraser McMillan
16 Jamie Black
18 Bryan Boylan
19 Ally Park
21 Luke Gillies
Jamie Darroch 5
Creag Little 22
Liam McGonigle 11
Chris Black 16
Danny MacKenzie 3
Larry McMahon 17
Lucas Ross 1
Luke Gillies -> Ruaridh Langan (75)
Bryan Boylan -> Ross Smith (75)
Jamie Black -> Ewan Thomson (81)
Trialist -> Michael Wardrope (87)
Liam McGonigle for Callum Graham (66)
Larry McMahon for Thomas Collins (79)
Chris Black for Lee Gallacher (88)
|Jamie Black (81)||
Frazer Johnstone (60)
Liam McGonigle (81)
Larry McMahon (90)
Ross Menzies (Referee)
Any aura that surrounded Auchinleck Talbot over the past few years was well and truly blown away by the Bankies at Beechwood Park today. The scoreline may only read 1-0 but had it ended up three or four then no one could have complained.
The loss of several of Talbot’s big name players in the summer has been very difficult for Tommy Sloan to replace and on the evidence of their early results they could be in for a long, hard season. The emergence of Darvel, the resurgence of Beith Jrs, and the re-doubling of efforts from Pollok and Clydebank has put Talbot in danger of being relegated to also rans.
After being on the receiving end of a number of defeats from Talbot over the years, it was great to see the Bankies record their third win on the spin against them, and probably for the first time, see the Beechwood side pretty much clueless and bereft of ideas.
The Bankies made just the one change from Wednesday night with Nicky Little replacing the injured Joe Slattery. Little would go on to be the pivotal character in the game, and his short spell on the substitutes bench looks to have re-ignited the fire in his belly and he was more like the player we all know he can be.
It was Little who set up the first chance for the Bankies after 6 minutes when he fed the ball through to the luckless Callum Graham. The striker again was caught just as he was about to pull the trigger by Boyle who stole in on his blind side.
Talbot responded by hitting the crossbar just a minute later. It was a great effort from the captain Gareth Armstrong from 25 yards, but the woodwork saved the Bankies. This was the best chance Talbot had in the whole game.
It would be unfair to say that Talbot didn’t look dangerous in the opening half hour, as they did have their moments, but they certainly do not have the potency of Auchinleck sides of the recent past.
A couple of half chances were dealt with a minimum of fuss before the Bankies got the ball down and started passing the ball around the home side in the Ayrshire sunshine. It was a contest of styles. Auchinleck going long into the channels without the players to play the system, and the Bankies facing what looked like the ideal opponents for their passing game.
In the last quarter of an hour of the first half, the Bankies completely took over and how the game was goalless at the interval was a mystery. Nicky Low, who was outstanding in the midfield threaded a wonderful through ball for Nicky Little after 31 minutes. He hit the ball first time, but put just too much on it and it flew over the bar.
It was Little again who was out of luck as he stooped to reach a far post corner from Lee Gallacher, but the ball battered off the post and was cleared away.
Then there were two more bad misses. The first completed a hat trick of chances that were passed up by Nicky Little when he controlled the ball just inside the box from a half cleared header. But, his placed side foot effort was well saved by Henry on his left hand side.
Then Low played another great through ball to Lee Gallacher on the left hand side of the penalty box and it looked a certain goal, but somehow the winger managed to chip the ball wide.
In the past, you would have paid dearly for missing all these gilt-edged chances, but there was no real response from Talbot. Yes, the game was a little scrappy at the start of the second half, but the Bankies resumed their control over proceedings fairly promptly.
The Talbot goal got out of jail again after 51 minutes when a corner was headed back across goal by Niven and flicked at point blank range by Nicky Low, only for Slooves to deflect the ball away from the goal line.
The traffic was all heading towards the Talbot end, and it was no surprise when the Bankies finally took the lead after 68 minutes. It was a great passing build up, and Low got the assist when he tapped the ball forward to Nicky Little inside the box. The striker turned on the proverbial sixpence, and smartly prodded the ball past Henry to send the Bankies fans into jubilation
Talbot did not show that they could retrieve the situation despite it being a slender lead. If anything the Bankies should have scored several more goals.
McMahon shot wide from a good position, as did Grant after a fine cushioned pass from Little. Little wasted a double chance near the end when McMahon had done really well to stop the ball from going out for a goal kick. Firstly, Little tried a reverse shot which the keeper could only stop with his feet, and from the rebound the striker could only curl the ball over the bar.
Even with six minutes of stoppage time, the home side could barely muster any kind of effort at goal and the Bankies took the three points up the road in a very satisfactory manner.
The Bankies have been a revelation in recent weeks. If there is to be any complaint it would be that there should be more goals being scored. This game was closer than it needed to be. However, I can excuse Nicky Little his misses today as it bodes well that he is getting in all the right places to have the chances.
In terms of the best performers on the day, then Nicky Low was my stand-out player today. Maybe losing to Benburb as badly as we did on the first day of the season, has given a dawn of realisation on a few players and they have reacted very positively. Low is one of those for me. He completely controlled the middle of the pitch and was spraying passes in all directions, and looked very much like a player who has played at a higher level.
The defence were top notch again. We haven’t lost since Hodge returned to the line-up and it is hard to see Niven and McHugh being dislodged from the centre of defence. However, it is James Grant who deserves special praise here. He has played every single game so far, including all seven pre-season matches and he has been getting better and better with each passing game.
Overall, the whole team are really putting it together and the turnaround in form has been remarkable. Next week we have Cumnock visiting Holm Park. We failed to beat the Nock last season so this would be the perfect match to extend the recent upturn in fortunes,
Match report written by Stuart McBay
|2023-24||All Time||All Time|
|Kieran Hughes (GK)||29||6||-||0||-||6||-||0||-||6||-|
|Chris Black (sub)||30||3||-||0||-||112||7||40||8||152||15|
|Larry McMahon (sub)||27||6||-||0||-||35||1||8||-||43||1|
|Liam McGonigle (sub)||28||5||-||0||-||47||9||19||5||66||14|
|League results since Clydebank FC's last match|
|19th August 2023|
|Darvel||4-0||Kirk Rob Roy|
|6.||Kirk Rob Roy||6||3||1||2||-1||10|