Auchinleck Talbot retained their firm grip of the Evening Times Champions Cup today after a 7-1 rout over Neilston.

The Super Premier Division champions, who defeated Hurlford 3-0 at Newlandsfield last year, looked to have this year's trophy sewn with two early goals, only for their First Division rivals to pin them back shortly before the break.

But a numerical advantage, which eventually saw the Brig O' Lea side reduced to eight men, began to take its toll, with a second half rush of goals putting the final out of sight.

The game was only three minutes old when it already appeared out with the reach of the underdogs.

Neilston keeper James Digney lost control of the ball after appearing to be caught, with him spilling it at the feet of Talbot striker Graham Wilson. The frontman was about to pull the trigger only for the clawing arm of Digney to bring him to his knees, with the shot stopper receiving an early bath for his trouble.

Replacement Scott Perry was powerless to prevent Wilson from converting to make it 1-0.

Seven minutes later history repeated itself with another Talbot spot kick. Mick McCann darted into the box to cross, only for his driven effort to come off the arm of defender Paul Young from five yards. McCann sent Perry the wrong way for two.

The Ayrshire striker, along with Wilson and Martin McGoldrick all spurned excellent chances as the Neilston resistance appeared to be washed away in the torrential Glasgow downpour at Newlandsfield.

However, nobody could have predicted the goal, and the response it triggered, which rained Dow on the Talbot net.

Twenty eight torrid minutes had elapsed when James Canning collected the ball 35 yards out near the touchline, turned and bent an absolute screamer over Talbot keeper Andy Leishman and in off the underside of the bar.

The goal seemed to startle the Premier Division giants who began to show nervousness as a resolute Neilston emerged just before half time - Chris Cameron should have sent both teams in level but his shot almost cleared the car park.

He would live to regret it.

Talbot emerged from the interval with a refocused sense of purpose and their third came only 12 minutes later.

Sustained pressure on the edge of the Neilston box eventually saw the ball worked to Auchinleck left winger Keir Milliken who turned on the spot 10 yards out to create space to poke the ball home.

The Farmer Boys now appeared a broken side and the fourth followed four minutes later, Wilson nodding in off the bar from a crowded penalty area to secure his brace.

McCann wasn't to be outdone however, with a crisp through ball sending him scampering in to claim his second of the afternoon with a fine low finish.

There was still time for a grim afternoon to take an even darker turn for Neilston with a further two men being sent off within seconds of each other.

Firstly goal hero Canning was dismissed for a second booking on 72 minutes by whistler Grant Irvine, while substitute Robbie McNamara followed him thanks to an innocuous straight red moments later.

Spaces started to appear in the Neilston back line and it was no surprise when a sixth and seventh soon followed, Wilson and McCann nipping in to get their hat tricks to round off a resounding result for Tommy Sloan's men.