Linlithgow face replay after late equaliser

HOLDERS Linlithgow Rose won't be underdogs in an Emirates Junior Cup third-round replay in Ayrshire, according to Auchlinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan.

The two Junior giants will have to do it all over again in the west this Saturday after a dramatic finish to a tie that finally beat the weather.

Tommy Coyne looked to have won it for Linlithgow when he slotted home an 87th-minute penalty after a foul on substitute Ian Nimmo.

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But, with his first touch, Talbot substitute David Gillies bulleted home an equaliser at the death to earn his side a deserved second bite at the cherry.

"It was two top sides going for it and it's a case of take your pick, to be honest," said Sloan in his assessment of an entertaining encounter in front of nearly 1300 fans.

"I did not feel as though we were underdogs coming here, which is not disrespectful as they are a top side, and they'll be feeling exactly the same about the replay."

That was confirmed by Linlithgow assistant manager Graeme Irons, who was disappointed that the East Region side had come so close to going through but believes they are still very much in the tie despite having surrendered home advantage.

"It's half-time and we've got nothing to fear down there," he said. "We've been to Ayrshire many times before and go down there confident in our ability."

In an eagerly-awaited tie between two of the competition's most successful teams in recent years, Linlithgow opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

Coyne and strike partner Colin Strickland linked up well midway inside the Talbot half, allowing the former to cut in from the left and fire in a shot.

The ball spun up into the air towards the far post, where Strickland was waiting to beat Andy Leishman with a header.

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Nick Cann headed home an equaliser in the 42nd minute and, during the early part of the second-half, it was virtually one-way traffic towards the Linlithgow goal.

Indeed, the home side had Stephen Pinkowski to thank for keeping them in the game, the pick of a series of saves seeing a shot from Bryan Young touched on to the bar.

But, after a double substitution that saw the introduction of Nimmo and Stephen Manson, Linlithgow came to life again in the final 20 minutes.

They thought they'd won it when Coyne made no mistake from the spot after a push on Nimmo by Liam McVey only for Gillies, who came on straight after that, to make an immediate impact as he beat Pinkowski with a well-placed shot from just outside the box.

"I thought we bossed the game for the last 30 minutes. We thought we were there after getting the penalty but, while it was a good finish for their equaliser, I thought we maybe stood off a bit and allowed him to get the shot in.

"I think they deserved the goal just before half-time for the ten-minute spell at the end of the first half but I'm not so sure they deserved the equaliser at the end.

"But it was two good sides and I thought it was a good cup-tie in front of a big crowd."

Talbot boss Sloan added: "I wasn't particularly impressed with us in the first half. I think we only really played for ten minutes. For the first 25 minutes of the second-half I thought we were excellent and could have scored two or three.

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"Then we found ourselves behind and I thought we were out, to be honest. We threw David (Gillies) on in desperation really to get an extra body up there and he managed to show the bit of quality he has.

"It was a great finish and we are still in the hat. We've seen what Linlithgow have got. They're a big side and a strong side, too, and maybe it was down to them that we didn't play well."

Cumnock await the winners in the next round after they beat Lochore 3-0 in Fife on Saturday.

Linlithgow Rose: Pinkowski, Donnelly, Virgili, Ward, Quinn, Tyrrell, McLennan, Adam (Nimmo 68), Strickland (Manson 68), Coyne, Nelson. Subs: McArthur, Kelly, McPherson.

Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Latta (Smith 90), McVey, McGoldrick, Collins, Spence (Gillies 87), White, Cann (Mallan 80), Boyle, Slavin.

Referee: B Cook.

Linlithgow Rose 2

Auchinleck Talbot 2