Kathryn MacLeod’s photos from the match can be seen here.
Ten-man Pollok battled their way to a 1-1 draw against Arthurlie at Newlandsfield Park on Saturday that leaves their Surridge Sport Sectional League Cup destiny in their own hands.
With Peter McMahon injured, Willie Irvine was forced into one change to his starting eleven, with Gordon McClune drafted in at left-back. A combination of injuries, holidays and work commitments meant there were only four players from a possible seven on the bench for the hosts. The opening opportunity fell to ‘Lok when Paul McQuilken crossed to Iain Diack in the second minute, but his mishit shot was easily held by Keith Ross. Sixty seconds later the Barrhead outfit responded with a John Johnston effort that sliced narrowly wide of the post. Trialist Darren Brady then sent the ball wide after a Lee Nichol corner before Alan Muir saw a shot from distance easily gathered by Scott Morrison. Muir then drove a low free-kick wide of the post before a great chance for ‘Lie in the 28th minute. Paul Stewart played in Johnston behind the ‘Lok defence, only for Morrison to beat away his viciously struck effort. The Pollok goalkeeper was left helpless in the 45th minute however as Arthurlie took the lead. A throw-in broke to MICHAEL KEENAN 35 yards from goal, and he thundered a magnificent strike into the top-left corner of the net. Jamie Doyle had a chance to mimic his feat at the other end of the park, but could only shoot over as his side entered half-time one goal in arrears.
Things almost got worse for Pollok less than one minute after the restart when Steven Crawford cut the ball back to Stewart, but his attempt was deflected wide for a corner kick. Nichol saw a shot from a tight angle hacked off the line by Keenan before Andy Ferguson outmuscled Graeme McLaren, but he wasted the chance when he fired wildly off target. Pollok’s hopes of a recovery were severely dented when they were reduced to ten men after 56 minutes. Referee Andrew Dallas believed a Diack challenge in midfield to be worthy of a second yellow card, and so the ‘Lok striker was forced to make the long trudge to the pavilion. His side almost came up with the perfect reply on the hour mark when Stephen Swift bounced a downwards header towards goal, but Ross reacted well to tip the ball over. Ryan Deas had a shot deflected wide and Keith Hogg headed over before ‘Lok were presented with a lifeline in the 70th minute. As a Nichol free-kick was flighted into the area the referee deemed there to have been illegal contact by John McLay on Jordan Smith and so he pointed to the penalty spot. Ross got a good hand to the spot-kick, but was unable to deny BRIAN McGINTY a third goal in as many games for Pollok as the ball crept over the line via the post. Deas then missed narrowly on two occasions for Arthurlie before substitute Paul McLeod burst clear after 78 minutes, but Morrison stood firm to thwart the Barrhead striker. McLaren then headed wide when unmarked in the ‘Lie area, and from the resultant goal-kick the visitors launched a quick breakaway, only for Stewart to be denied by a well-timed lunge by Scott Gair. Kevin Bradley trod on the ball when well-placed after evading his marker in the 86th minute, and the same player squandered another good chance when he pulled an effort wide after a McGinty cut-back. Pollok almost grabbed victory in injury time when Nichol struck a free-kick goalwards from 30 yards out, only for Ross to stretch full-length to tip the ball around the upright.
The draw leaves Pollok with the task of achieving a four-goal win against St. Anthony’s at McKenna Park on Wednesday evening if they are to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.
POLLOK: Morrison, Swift, McClune (Gair 76), McLaren, Smith, McQuilken, Brady, Doyle (Bradley 53), Diack, McGinty, Nichol. Not used: O’Connell, Tulloch.
ARTHURLIE: Ross, Lundie, Crawford, Hogg, Keenan, McLay, Johnston, Muir (Livingstone 73), Ferguson (McLeod 77), P Stewart, Deas. Not used: McKeown, Marks, Blakey, Jones, R Stewart.
POLLOK: Diack (40, 56 off), McGinty (48), McLaren (62)
ARTHURLIE: Deas (57), Hogg (80), Livingstone (90)
POLLOK: Diack (56)
POLLOK: McGinty (70 pen)
ARTHURLIE: Keenan (45)