By Joe Brady and Matthew Harold:
Shotts Bon Accord triumphed 2-1 at the Braidwood motor company stadium over Auchinleck Talbot, lifting the Junior Scottish cup for the first time in 54 years.
Fans packed into the stadium, filling both main stands and were treated to not only an exciting game but great weather too as the sun shone brightly form start to finish.
The opening exchanges were predictably cagey; however Talbot seemed out of sorts at the back, with lack of organisation and nervousness hampering the back line. In attack they looked to play the ball up to Milliken and work off his knock downs.
Bon Accord in contrast started solidly in defence and forward Stefan McCluskey sharpness posed a threat.
Around the ten minute mark Talbot’s failure to clear their lines resulted in the opening goal, a miss hit clearance landed at the feet of McCulskey and he faked a shot superbly beating his marker and then another in defence before sending the ball high into the top left of the net from the penalty spot.
Just minutes later Auchinlecks defensive frailties were exposed again as a corner was conceded cheaply, which resulted in Shotts doubling their early lead. John Boyack directed a front delivery goalwards and the ball found the bottom left corner, leaving Talbot shell shocked so early in the game.
A Shott at Glory: Photo by Gary McLaughinAuckinleck were expertly denied a chance on goal as an intelligent backheel resulting in a shot was bravely block by the Bon Accord’s centre back, denying a timely response.
As the first half hour passed Talbot’s number 7, Bryan Young was becoming more involved in the game, crossing well and finding feet with his passes as well as channelling the ball into the wide areas.
As the West of Scotland side pushed for a goal and caused fans of Bon Accord a few nervous moments as they swung a series of corners into the Shoots penalty area, although their defence held up well.
Ten minutes before the break the game was almost put to rest, Leishman in goal spilled a cross which dropped to the back post; however the ball evaded the incoming Bon Accord players foot by a matter of inches.
Auckinleck had chances of their own as the half drew to a close, Milliken found space in the area and struck the ball low to the keepers left, although Murdoch in goal was up to the test and held the effort. A Martin McGoldrick cross presented a Talbot forward with a chance from the right hand side of the six yard box, but his effort flew wide of the post as the tight angle proved too difficult.
Halftime saw Auchinleck make defensive changes as full back McGoldrick was moved inside to centre back in what was an attempt to tighten up things at the back.
Both teams toiled for the first 15 minutes of the half, as they began to play the long game, regularly missing out the midfield and cancelling each other out.
Shotts made the first change of the game, number 9 Allan Mackenzie making way for Hugh Kerr. Not long after McStay replaced goal scorer John Boyack for Shotts, Talbot made their first change of the game too, Slavin coming on for number 6 Colin Spence.
With half an hour remaining the game picked up and Young went close for the Ayrshire side, firing a shot from 20 yards inches wide of the top right corner, as Talbot pushed forwards.
With 75 minutes on the clock Bon Accord almost put the game beyond Talbot when McStay tried a speculative scissor kick only to see his effort fall the wrong side of the post.
As fulltime approached Auckenlick were denied once more as a driven shot form 25 by Bryan Slavin was tipped round the post by Murdoch, bringing the both fans to their feet.
Talbot continued to search for the elusive goal and they made a final change bringing on Ally Park for James Latta. Their efforts were rewarded shortly after when another long range Bryan Young strike was parried, James Faulds reacted quickest and smashed the ball home from 6 yards.
The Auckinleck fans willed their team forward as the seconds ticked away, then in the dying seconds of added time Bryan Young was sent through with the keeper to beat however his shot sailed over the bar and the chance was gone.
Bon Accord held on and became champions of Scotland, a great victory for the underdogs.
Both sets of fans turned were magnificent in support of their clubs and the game was a fairly even contest, however Shotts who took their chances when it matter and that made the difference.
Shotts celebrate: Photo by Gary McLaughlin
Andrew Leishman: 6.0 - Looked nervous throughout, failing to properly deal with corner kicks, was seriously let down by his defence at the start of the game, as they failed to prevent Shotts early double strike.
Martin McGoldrick: 5.0 - Ripped to pieces by Sideserf in the first half which led to his manager changing his position, from right back to the centre of defence, but he still didn’t inspire confidence in the Ayrshire side’s backline.
Gordon Pope: 6.0 - Tried far too many long balls in the direction of Milliken, which never seemed to come off the full back, was changed from his left back role into a centre half position as Talbot went chasing the game late on.
Craig Pettigrew: 6.0 - Another one who had a torrid time early on, dealing with both Mackenzie and McCluskey, but came more into the game in the second, but could help Talbot to retain their Scottish Cup trophy.
Gavin Collins: 6.5 - Could have done better with the first Shotts goal, was troubled by their pace early on, but gradually found his feet and steadied the ship for the Ayrshire side, was replaced by Mick McCann as Talbot went in search of a way back into the game.
Colin Spence: 6.5 - Had a good game as he controlled the midfield, but the one thing that was lacking throughout was the final ball to unlock the Shotts Bon Accord defence, which he failed to create and was replaced by Bryan Slavin as Talbot looked for a way back into the match.
Bryan Young: 6.0 - Will be cursing his luck after missing a golden opportunity to put his side level in the closing stages of the game as he blasted over the bar from close range, was never really in the game as he started just behind the main striker Milliken, but came into his own when moved out wide in the second half.
Steven White: 5.5 - Another one who had problems finding the final pass to open up Shotts Bon Accord, but never stopped trying and attempted to offer as much support as he could in the midfield area for the Ayrshire giants.
Keir Milliken: 5.0 - Was too one dimensional at times, never willing to run at the Shotts defenders, always looking to hold up play, which allowed both the defence and midfield to get back into position and ultimately cost his side several opportunities
Kyle Faulds: 6.5 - Managed to grab a late goal for Talbot, was always willing to push forward, especially late on when Auchinleck were chasing the game.
James Latta: 5.5 - Tried to offer support, but was pushed back early on by the quick play of Shotts and couldn’t seem to get a foothold in the game in order to help his side retain the trophy, was taken off late on to be replaced by Ally Park.
Brian Slavin: 6.5 - Gave some much needed energy to the forward line of Auchinleck Talbot as he continually put the Shotts defence under pressure whilst he was on the park.
Mick McCann: 5.5 - Added to the Auchinleck attack as they went in search of a way back into the final late on.
Ally Park: 5.0 - Replaced James Latta late on.
Shotts Bon Accord:
Jon Murdoch: 7.0 - Although his defence was put under pressure by Auchinleck, the 22-year-old was rarely troubled until the closing stages when he was forced into making some crucial saves in order to keep his side ahead.
Paul Finnigan: 7.5 - The livewire full back never gave an inch throughout the game, harassing the wingers for Talbot and helping to launch several attacks for Shotts, never looked in danger of being on the losing side.
Paul Burns: 6.5 - The Shotts left back had somewhat of a quiet day defensively as Auchinleck offered little down his side, but he was able to help his team by linking up well with Siderserf in front of him, as Shotts looked to push forward.
Tony Fleming: 7.0 - Was rock at the heart of the defence for Shotts in the first half as he snuffed out any danger that came his way and also helped keep Milliken away from goal, but succumbed to injury in the second half due to the amount of games his side have played recently, was replaced by Brian Wharton.
Darren Ferguson: 6.5 - Like his central defensive partner, Ferguson was also a steady influence throughout as Shotts managed to limit the chances that Auchinleck had to get back into the game.
John Boyack: 7.5 - A captain’s performance for Shotts, claiming the second goal, done well in the midfield area to find the forward runners, such as McCluskey, Mackenzie and Sideserf, was eventually replaced by Gary McStay after coming back from injury to start the cup final.
Andrew Scott: 6.5 - Pushed forward a lot throughout the game and had a couple of great chances in the second half which would have killed off the game, but was always an available outlet for his side.
Colin Williamson: 6.0 - The 26-year-old offered support for his side during the game, helping them to hang on to their early lead, closing down the Auchinleck passing as the Ayrshire side looking for an avenue back into the fixture.
Allan Mackenzie: 6.5 - The Shotts target man was a perfect foil to the pacey McCluskey next to him, as he constantly looked to lay the ball off to his strike partner, while also attempting to cause havoc in the Auchinleck defence, was replaced by Hugh Kerr.
Stefan McCluskey: 7.0 - Gave the Auchinleck backline fits for the opening quarter of an hour, using his pace to full effect by being a couple of Talbot defenders before claiming the opening goal for his side, but he fell out of the game at times and wasn’t as influential as he would have liked to be.
Mark Sideserf: 8.0 - Caused problems for the Auchinleck defence throughout the game as the 23-year-old winger ran at Martin McGoldrick in the first half, then Craig Pettigrew in the second, showed great composure in setting up McCluskey for the opener.
Brian Wharton: 6.5 - Came on for the injured Fleming and helped to steady the ship in the closing minutes as Auchinleck pushed everyone forward as they looked to send the game into extra time.
Hugh Kerr: 5.0 - Replaced Mackenzie, but didn’t threaten the Auchinleck backline enough.
Gary McStay: 5.0 - Replaced Boyack and helped to see Shotts through until the full time whistle.