BO’NESS hero Steven Hislop insisted today that the strike that sent holders and ten-time winners Auchinleck Talbot tumbling out of the Scottish Junior Cup will count for nothing unless his side go on to lift the trophy.
Hislop grabbed the only goal at Newton Park as the home side stunned their Ayrshire opponents in front of a bumper 1436 crowd.
The former East Fife striker said: “This result means nothing until we win something. We’ve had a very difficult draw in the Junior Cup so far but a result like this is a marker for other sides. It was a lack of communication in their defence that gave us the goal. I saw it bouncing towards the goal and I was saying ‘please go in’ and it did.”
Bo’ness knew they would have to work their socks off in this third-round tie against a Talbot side who last tasted Scottish Cup defeat two seasons ago when Shotts beat them in the final at Almondvale and, boy, did Alan McGonigal’s men deliver.
The manager beamed: “We had to match their work rate and we did and I’m delighted for the boys because they put a shift in. We had to ride our luck at times but everyone worked really hard to get that result. We knew they would come at us from the kick-off but we had to make sure we were the first to every tackle, working hard to back each other up and make sure they didn’t settle. It worked until the last twenty minutes or so when we tired a bit.”
Bo’ness pushed hard from the opening whistle and had Talbot under pressure with goalkeeper Andy Leishman busy.
The home side had a huge penalty claim turned down by referee Michael Taylor when Nicky Walker went on a great, mazy run before being sent crashing to the floor by Martin McGoldrick. Taylor waved away the strong shouts, suggesting Walker had dived although he didn’t book the Bo’ness player for simulation. Both sides had chances to open their account but at half time the scoreline remained blank.
Flying winger Darren Gribben almost sent the huge home support delirious after the break when he cut inside from the left wing and sent a curling effort towards the top corner only to see Leishman dive and save a certain goal.
Bo’ness were now rampant and only some stout defending kept them out. They needed a goal as the prospect of the long trip to deepest Ayrshire loomed on the horizon. Then, just before the hour mark, they got the break they were looking for when the Talbot defence got itself in a lather. A long ball was played to just outside the penalty box with Walker and Hislop chasing what looked like the keeper’s ball. Talbot full back Ally Park was back covering the keeper but got in the way of Leishman’s clearance and, as the loose ball broke, Hislop was the first to react, controlling the ball before hooking it over everyone’s head and into the empty net.
Bo’ness lost influential defender Stuart Hunter when he damaged his knee although the hosts had an able replacement in Scott Gibb.
Talbot were now staring defeat in the face and had to do something. Boss Tommy Sloan used his subs as they mounted a comeback but Bo’ness keeper Mark Peat stepped up to the mark with a remarkable performance to keep the Ayrshire strikers at bay.
In the last 20 minutes, he produced countless magnificent saves to keep his goal intact.
It was a super win for Bo’ness, who worked tremendously hard to get the result. As for Auchinleck, boss Sloan was dignified in defeat. “All credit to Bo’ness. They did what they had to do. It’s done now and we’ll take it on the chin. We had the lion’s share of the game but weren’t clinical enough. It’s a real blow but we’ve been here before.”
Bo’ness United: Peat, Donnelly, Devine (T Jaconelli), Murphy, Hunter (Gibb), Nimmo, Walker, Sloan, Hislop, Scott, Gribben (B Jaconelli). Subs: Miller, Wallace.
Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Park, Lyle, McGoldrick, Pettigrew, Spence (McKenzie), Young, Latta, Gormley, Milliken, White (Connolly). Subs: Faulds, McCann, Collins.