AFTER all the build-up, this Scottish Cup tie was over within the first five minutes, as Auchinleck Talbot hit Port Glasgow with a devastating three-goal blitz.

The Ayrshire giants brought a huge support to Parklea, with four coach-loads of fans and many more travelling by car, leading to the welcome sight of lengthy queues at the turnstiles.

And they didn’t have long to wait for something to cheer, as their side took the lead with their first attack, and before the clock had even hit the 60 second mark.

A corner kick found centre-half Mark Campbell unmarked at the far post, and he had a simple header to put his side in front.

The Port were shell-shocked, and even more so when Talbot scored again two minutes later, when a pass to the edge of the box found Colin Spence, who steered the ball past keeper Ian Nixon and into the net.

As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Port, the Ayrshire men netted yet again with virtually their next attack. David Gormley was the scorer, although there was an element of good fortune when what appeared to be a cross took a deflection and ended up in the net.

Three down with fully 85 minutes to play, the Port must have feared an embarrassing final scoreline, especially when Gormley missed a sitter with 12 minutes gone, firing the ball over the bar with the open goal at his mercy.

But eventually the Port settled down and started knocking the ball about with confidence. Alan Jamieson broke free down the left wing and sent over an inviting cross which gave Mark Bowie a free header at goal from eight yards out — but the striker’s effort went wide of the post.

Talbot continued to show the class which has seen them win the Scottish Cup 10 times, but Port Glasgow were now playing some neat football of their own, and kept their opponents at bay for the remainder of the first half.

But Auchinleck began to turn the screw again in the second period.

A shot from the hard-working Gormley hit the post, but the front-man then turned provider on 70 minutes.

A deft touch took him clear down the right wing, and his cross saw sub Mark Shankland have the easiest of chances to head home for his side’s fourth goal.

With the rain now battering down, the Port battled on manfully, and were denied what would have been a deserved goal for their efforts, when a Graham Black shot from just inside the box thundered off the crossbar, with Ross Kearns heading wide from the rebound.

But it was Gormley who was stealing the show for Auchinleck, and an audacious chip from just inside the Port half had home keeper Nixon scrambling back to claw the ball away as it homed in on goal. The Port goalie later revealed that he was half-expecting Gormley to shoot, as he had witnessed the Talbot man attempting the same manoeuvre in a match in Ayrshire last year. Shankland then came close to adding to his earlier goal with a shot which went just wide, as Talbot cruised into the last 16 following an impressive performance. But Port Glasgow manager Craig Brown took some positives from the experience.

He said: “Our plan was to sit in and try to break on the counter attack, but obviously that went out the window within about five minutes.

“If ever there was a team you didn’t want to give that kind of a start to, it was Auchinleck, and a bit of panic set in. But after that we settled down and stuck to our task and played some decent football.

“You have to take into account that Auchinleck are the favourites to win the cup, so overall we gave a good account of ourselves.” Meanwhile, Talbot boss Tommy Sloan felt his side gained a crucial advantage before a ball was even kicked. He said: “Winning the toss was a big thing for us, as we turned around and had the wind at our backs in the first half. After our first goal it kind of snowballed from there, and the game was over very early on.

“But fair play to Port Glasgow. A lot of teams would have crumbled after a start like that and lost a lot more goals, but they showed a good spirit and kept going.” Port Glasgow: Nixon, Gordon, Coyle, Walton, McClement, Gault, Kearns, Grana, Bowie (McAfee 56), Black, Jamieson. Subs not used: McCormick, Sharpe, Ellis.

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