Auchinleck Talbot secured a record-breaking ninth Scottish Junior Cup Final after beating a stubborn Musselburgh Athletic side 2-1. But the game had to be settled during extra time at Rugby Park.
Michael McCann gave Talbot the lead after pouncing on a poor clearance by Burgh to score from 20 yards out just a minute before half time. However on the 70th minute mark, Burgh equalised through Chris King and the game went into Extra Time.
And two minutes into Extra Time, Brian Young sent a curling effort from 15 yards out past Renton in the Burgh goal to give Auchinleck their first Cup Final victory since 2009.
Burgh had the better of the early chances, the first after just a minute gone. Chris King picked the ball up just outside Talbot’s box and fired a low shot towards goal, but it was deflected clear.
Burgh then had a great chance to take the lead, when Tansey making his way down the left flank sent a Charlie Adam-esque cross field ball to team-mate Renton on the right, but the latter’s cross into Auchinleck’s box failed to find a Burgh player and the danger was cleared.
It was end to end stuff, with Talbot next up to have a chance to score but John Boyle’s low shot was deflected into the arms of the Burgh keeper.
Renton had a great chance to score after collecting another superb cross field ball from Tansey, but Leishman in Talbot’s goal saved well.
Auchinleck began to gain the upper hand in the game thereafter, with Brian Young impressing down the left, tipified when the midfielder collected the ball 30 yards from goal before sending a strike just over Musselburgh’s bar.
The referee should have reached into his pocket moments later when Burgh’s Tansey lunged into Talbot defender Latta with both feet sending Latta writhing in agony. Surprisingly the referee kept his cards in his pocket just awarding a free kick.
Talbot continued to pile the pressure on Burgh’s defence, and it took a goal line clearance to deny Talbot’s John Boyle, the opening goal of the game. Boyle had yet another chance on the Burgh goal from distance but he could not direct it on target from 30 yards out.
It was all Auchinleck as Half Time approached but a shot from McVey who had found space in the Musselburgh box, but could only fire wide. It was only a matter of time that Talbot would open scoring and they duly delivered just a minute before Half Time.
Burgh failed to clear the ball and that allowed Talbot’s Michael McCann to gather the ball from 20 yards out before sending a low drive into the bottom left corner of Musselburgh’s goal.
Into the Second Half and the game opened up once again. Great play from Talbot’s McVey down the left teed up Boyle who rose unmarked in the Burgh box, but he failed to get behind the ball and his header pinged up high and away from goal. Talbot continued to push forward-looking for the goal that would kill off the tie, but Renton was at hand to deny the Ayrshire side once again.
Burgh then missed a glorious opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a free kick, but neither Boyle nor Spence could get on the end of the ball with Leishman in Auchinleck’s goal posted missing. And the Talbot keeper nearly gifted Burgh an equaliser when he failed to properly deal with a back pass instead, hitting it against the on-rushing Kris Renton, but the Burgh keeper managed to clamber back and smother the ball.
Burgh continued to search for that all important equaliser and Chris King went close. King jinked in between the Talbot back tracking defence, before seeing his rasping shot superbly tipped over the bar by Leishman, after it looked as though a deflection would see it lob the Talbot keeper and into the back of the net.
Auchinleck should have killed the game off when good play down the right saw the ball fired in at pace to Boyle three yards from goal, but with the goal at his mercy he fluffed his shot getting caught between his legs before going wide of the post. It was certainly the miss of the season.
Musselburgh then had claims for a penalty waved away when Renton went down in the box under a challenge from Robb, much to the anger of Burgh’s players and their fans.
But on 75 minutes Burgh found that all important equaliser when Renton picked the ball up on the right-wing, running into the box before sending an inviting pass across goal for Chris King to stick out a toe and prod home the equaliser sending the Burgh fans into ecstasy.
Auchinleck had the ball in the back of the net minutes later through Boyle, after an initial save from Renton but the referee blew for a foul just before the ball was struck and the goal was ruled out.
There was two minutes of injury time to play but neither side could summon a last gasp winner and the Final went to extra time.
And just two minutes into Extra Time and Brian Young gathered the ball just inside the box after a poor defensive clearance by the Burgh defence. Young fired a shot low and into the back of Burgh’s goal.
Despite one or two chances from both sides neither side could manage a goal, and the game ended with Auchinleck celebrating their ninth final win, and the Burgh players collapsing to the ground in despair and exhaustion.
Musselburgh XI: Renton, Gordon, Morgan, Gibson, Kerr, Shand, Beveridge, King, Renton, King, Tansey.
Subs: Murray, Russell, Draper, Porteous, Ramage, Mitchell, Adams.
Auchinleck XI: Leishman, Latta, McVey, Robb, Collins, Spence, Young, White, McCann, Boyle, Slavin.
Subs: Gillies, Connelly, Davidson, Mallan, O’Neill, McGoldrick, Smith.
For all Match Photos taken by Vagelis Georgiou go to the Scotzine Gallery