Pollok 2-1 Kilbirnie Ladeside
West of Scotland Superleague
Newlandsfield Park, Saturday 19th September 2015
Pollok secured their first league victory of the season with a narrow 2-1 victory over Kilbirnie Ladeside at Newlandsfield Park.
‘Lok skipper Paul Gallacher had the first opportunity of the game, his weak effort from an acute angle being easily held by Kieran Hughes in the Blasties’ goal.
The visitors opening chance came when Ian Gold dispossessed home midfielder Kieran McAleenan and bore down on Jordan Longmuir’s goal, fortunately for the custodian Gold blazed his shot over.
The homesters took the lead in the 12th minute, McAleenan’s free-kick from the right broke to Davie Winters in space, the Pollok marksman making no mistake.
The same player doubled the lead three minutes later, John Sweeney’s cross to the back post finding the head of Chris Walker, the defender’s header rebounding off the post to Winters who was in the right place at the right time to finish.
A clearance from the ‘Lok rearguard fell to the feet of Gold at the edge of the penalty area, the Kilbirnie man sweeping his volley narrowly wide.
The visitors reduced the leeway in the 23rd minute when Kieran Brannan beat a hesitant Walker to a ball over the top, referee Grant Irvine playing an excellent advantage as the ball broke to Stevie Meechan, who fired low into the corner of the net.
The only other chance of note for the home side during the remainder of the half came from a Tam Hanlon free-kick from the left corner of the penalty area which sailed over.
The Blasties resumed with purpose, Gold’s cross to the back post was met by Graham Boyd, who failed to direct his header on target.
A Kyle Rafferty drive from 25 yards was well beaten away, before a nice move involving the impressive Brannan teed up Meechan, who will be disappointed not to have at least forced a save from Longmuir.
At the other end, Winters laid off to Colin Williamson who was denied by a brave block from the Kilbirnie rearguard, while Walker had a chance when the ball broke to him in the box, the big centre-half flashing his shot over.
The visitors were dealt a blow in the 65th minute when Rafferty was given the order of the march by Irvine, picking up his second booking off the afternoon for a foul on Findlay Frye.
Pollok only created one real chance in the immediate aftermath of them being given numerical superiority when Hanlon and Winters’ short corner routine saw the former cross for Wiliamson to send a diving header into Hughes’ arms.
While there was a lull in the game for a large part of the second half, the spark was reignited with five minutes of regulation time to play, Davie Anderson looping a volley just over Longmuir’s crossbar.
From the resultant goal-kick, ‘Lok substitute Allan MacKenzie did well to hold the ball up and create some space for himself, alas his effort on goal was of the soft order.
Ladeside substitute Darren Miller then picked out Mark Staunton in acres of space from a free-kick, the centre-half heading over from 8 yards.
Pollok’s last chance of the match came in the first minute of stoppage time, MacKenzie teeing up Hanlon who failed to trouble Hughes.
Despite the game ticking over the 90th minute, the Blasties had arguably their two best chances to restore parity, Mick O’Byrne’s shot on the turn being pushed wide by Longmuir, before the goalkeeper showed great reflexes to keep Ciaran Donnelly’s scissor kick out.
Pollok:- Longmuir, McLennan, Sideserf, Gallacher, Walker, Frye, Hanlon, Williamson (17: MacKenzie 75), Winters (16: “White” 86), Sweeney, McAleenan (15: Hepburn 84)
Subs not used:- 12: McCabe, 14: “Black”
Goals:- Winters (12, 15)
Bookings:- Walker (23), McAleenan (74), MacKenzie (89)
Kilbirnie Ladeside:- Hughes, Haxton (12: O’ Byrne 84), Bennett (14: Miller 68), Staunton, Donnelly, Anderson, Brannan, Rafferty, Boyd, Meechan, Gold
Subs not used:- 15: Gallacher, 16: Duncan, Gk: Fahey
Goal:- Meechan (23)
Bookings:- Rafferty (39, 65), Donnelly (83), Staunton (90), O’Byrne (90 + 2)
Sent off:- Rafferty (65)