Youth Team Star
Dec 1, 2019, 7:29 PM
Location: Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway
Team(s): Auchinleck Talbot; Grimsby Town; Wales (rugby and football)
Scottish Cup Round Three Replay
Arbroath v Auchinleck Talbot, 3-0, H.T. 1-0, Att 1022 (approx. 350 away), Admission £12 / £6, Programme £1.50
At Gayfield Park, Arbroath
Arbroath made no mistake in this Replay as they swept to a comfortable victory and set up a home tie against Falkirk in the next round. The Lichties were superior in every area and the final scoreline could easily have been greater. Auchinleck seldom threatened and will have been happy to get back down the road without being on the end of a bigger scoreline.
The man who made the difference for the home side was midfielder Mikko Virtanen. The on-loan Aberdeen player was missing on Saturday but returned for the replay. He controlled the midfield area with a master-class of closing down and passing – his through ball to set up the opening goal was an absolute peach.
Arbroath Manager Dick Campbell again demonstrated his tactical ability. On Saturday, on the narrower confines of Beechwood Park, his team opted for a safety-first pragmatic approach. In the replay they were more expansive, exploiting the wide-open spaces of Gayfield to expose weaknesses in the Auchinleck side.
McKenna opened the scoring in the 26th minute to settle home nerves. Boaby the Binman Linn made it 2-0 in 54 minutes and Stewart’s 64th minute third ended the game as a contest. It was also the cue for many of the away supporters to stream for the ground and head for the pub. The final quarter was a stroll for Arbroath, little more than a training session against a Talbot side who offered little going forward.
Arbroath, along with Alloa, are the highest-placed part time sides in Scotland. I thought the gap between them and Talbot would be narrower but on the night there was a gulf in standards. The result may prove to be helpful to Talbot as it will allow them to concentrate on qualifying for next season’s Cup, through either the Junior Cup or the West Super League. They have a tough Cup game away to strong-going Rossvale on Saturday, followed a week later by a crucial League game against Kilwinning.
The attendance was 1022 with no segregation in force. The Lichties fans, as is their custom, migrated round the ground at half time to cheer their team from behind whatever goal they were shooting in to. The bulk of the visiting support stayed on the seaward side of the ground. Good numbers travelled for a midweek away game but disappointing to see so many walk out when their team lost the third goal. Their team deserved better than that for their achievement in reaching the Third Round in the first place.
Kudos to Arbroath for putting out a 16-page programme for £1.50 at short notice. Good value for the money.
I normally enjoy a Steak and Black Pudding Pie at Gayfield but couldn’t manage one after a visit to the legendary Bell Rock Chippy before the match, for one of the finest fish suppers I have ever had. It’s just along the road from Gayfield towards the town centre – there is a takeaway and a sit-in restaurant.
I think it's important to put this game, and the others Talbot have played in the Scottish Cup this season, into some perspective.
Talbot were well beaten, but had it not been for the most generous of soft penalties in the 83rd minute of the game at Beechwood we would have had out third league scalp in succession, all by a 1-0 scoreline. It was simply a game too far.
The perspective though? In the first round we played the highest ranked side in the competition, Kelty Hearts, and their expensively assembled side under ex Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson. The television cameras saw us come away from their ground with a very comfortable 1-0 win.
In the next round we hosted Cove Rangers for the second year in succession, only this time they too were the highest ranked club in the competition at this stage. Again, we beat them 1-0.
The third round, and we draw Arbroath, again, the highest ranked side in this round, and as previously mentioned we'd have been playing Falkirk in round four bar that penalty decision.
There's no shame in Talbot losing by 3-0 to such a side, and our run this year has been extremely difficult, albeit we adapted ourselves to each game manfully. I can't think of any non league side who would take such a following to Arbroath on a Wednesday night (there's probably few Championship sides bar their local derby sides who would take anywhere near the amount of fans we had there.
Fans leaving when we are 3-0 down? There were a few, but nothing like the numbers Prorege thinks he saw. I remember going to watch Talbot play at New Elgin the Junior Cup a few years back and two coachloads of fans went up to Aberdeen on the Friday night before heading on to New Elgin the next day. The trip was £100 with the b&b at the hotel, and yet half a dozen or so fans decided pre match that the pub they were having a wee swally in was so nice they stayed in there instead of going to the game, getting picked up after the match had finished. No, I don't understand that mentality either at times, but you pays your money....
We won the tricky Junior Cup tie on Saturday at Rossvale and are now into the last 16 of the competition again. We last tasted defeat in the competition two and a half years ago when Glenafton beat us in the 2016-17 Final. There is an expectancy within the supporters that this could yet be another Three in a Row season, similar to when we won it thrice in 1986, 87 and 88. It's not a devalued competition, as some of those who support the Eastern clubs position in moving up into the senior grade would have us believe. Clubs from the West have traditionally been the much stronger and more successful in it.
The clubs who moved across might be better off financially, but they now face playing in cups where there's no history for them, and nothing to look forward to. The Junior Cup is still the ebst non league competition in Scotland by a country mile. It might not be for much longer if the West clubs do eventually make the same move as the East clubs did, but there will be many folk who will miss the Junior Cup when that happens, not jsut Talbot.