By Ian Hamilton
Auchinleck Talbot earned a Scottish Cup replay after a hard fought match against Championship side Arbroath finished 1-1.
A strike from Dwayne Hyslop handed Talbot an early lead. However, it wasn’t to be an easy win for the junior team who reached last year’s fifth round. Arbroath were awarded a penalty in the 84th minute for Dick Campbell’s men, with Michael McKenna converting it.
Arbroath were expected to win, but a persistent Talbot pushed at every chance, defending well to keep the Championship side out. With a replay of the match to be played and the fourth round being drawn today, here are three things we learned.
An early goal for Auchinleck Talbot put the pressure to Arbroath
Talbot pushed hard from the start with Arbroath keeper Gaston forced to make a save in the second minute when a Talbot free kick from outside the box was placed on target. This close shot seemed to boost Talbot’s confidence as Hyslop put one past Gaston in the 11th minute when the ball was crossed in.
The early lead forced Arbroath to push harder with a free kick awarded going low and bouncing off Talbot’s wall. Arbroath registered 15 shots however only two were on target as the shots lacked power and precision; going wide or into keeper Leishman’s hands.
Arbroath’s continued attacks were rewarded when a controversial penalty was given in the 84th minute for a high boot by Talbot that was said to have hit the face of Arbroath’s defender. McKenna calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner regardless as he gave his team a second chance.
A change in formation for Arbroath
The away team arrived to play attacking football with a change away from their usual formations of 4-5-1 and 4-4-1-1 and instead playing with two strikers in a 4-4-2.
Although, with the change of formation, the Talbot defenders responded well as they continued to clear the ball and stopped Arbroath from getting many clean shots.
A wet pitch prevented some good chances
The rain made no appearance, but a previously wet pitch made for slides at crucial moments which may have damaged both team’s opportunities.
Arbroath were awarded a free kick in the 25th minute but a slip to the ground led to the ball heading off target and a late corner was poorly crossed as the grass took another player to the ground, possibly stopping a winning goal.