Alain Kinney was the four-goal hero for Pollok as they held off the challenge of Blantyre Victoria in a highly entertaining D&D Programmes Central League Cup first round encounter at Newlandsfield Park.
There were another three new faces for home fans to welcome, with Carlo Monti, Gavin Lachlan and Billy Davies all included in the Pollok pool for the first time. ‘Lok could barely have made a worse started as they fell behind after only eighty seconds. Adam Cassidy’s initial attempt struck the crossbar, but TERENCE DIGNAM followed up to crash the rebound into the roof of the net. Pollok’s reply arrived merely two minutes later when Kevin Bradley’s cross was turned home by ALAIN KINNEY to level the scores. Monti then showed some nice skill to set up Roddy Hunter for a shot at goal, but he sliced his effort well wide. Vics hit the front again in the 19th minute when Dignam’s throw-in was diverted into his own net by STEVEN McGREGOR. This time the lead lasted only five minutes as in the 24th minute CRAIG GUPWELL claimed his third goal in as many games as he bulleted home a header from a Monti free-kick. Play then raged to the other end, with Darren Jaffrey shooting over after a cut-back from Alan Christie. Bradley rattled the base of the post for ‘Lok in the 33rd minute, but three minutes later his side edged ahead. Bradley was chopped down by Graeme Shanks inside the penalty area, and ALAIN KINNEY stepped up to plant the spot-kick beyond the reach of Kevin Macklin. With one minute of the first half remaining ALAIN KINNEY completed his hat-trick when presented with a free header from a corner kick.
The visitors almost started the second half in the same way that they began the first, with Darren O’Donnell having a shot tipped onto the crossbar by J.C. Hutchison. Dignam saw a long range effort held by Hutchison before Jaffrey fired narrowly wide after a free-kick had been charged down. Macklin denied Monti from a tight angle before stopping a McQuilken drive from the edge of the box. Pollok seemed to have put the result beyond doubt when they netted their fifth after 58 minutes. Again Monti was the provider, showing terrific skill to tee-up ALAIN KINNEY, who produced a fine first time finish to beat Macklin. ‘Lok should have added a sixth when Bradley’s effort was parried and fell to Monti, who shot straight at the ‘keeper while Kinney waited in front of a gaping net. Substitutes Lachlan and Davies then combined, with Macklin denying the latter when he saved with his legs. Blantyre pulled a goal back in the 80th minute when a harmless looking effort by GRAEME SHANKS snuck past Hutchison and nestled in the corner of the net. Christie then spurned an excellent opportunity, firing wide when left one-on-one with the ‘Lok ‘keeper. There would be no such mistake in the 85th minute when ALAN CHRISTIE demonstrated fine control to escape from McGregor and Andy Essler before slotting home to ensure a nervy finale. Lee Nichol almost scored at the other end after a one-two with Monti as Pollok held on to book a meeting away to either Arthurlie or Yoker Athletic in round two of the competition.
Next for Pollok is a crucial league encounter when they visit fellow strugglers Cumnock on Saturday. Kick-off at Townhead Park is scheduled for 2pm.
POLLOK: Hutchison, Swift, Essler, Gupwell, McGregor, Brady, Bradley, McQuilken (Lachlan 60), Kinney (Davies 72), Hunter (Nichol 55), Monti. All substitutes used.
BLANTYRE: Macklin, Pettigrew (Shields 72), Shanks, Robertson, Gray, Cassidy, Watson, Dignam, Christie, O’Donnell (Crawford 80), Jaffrey. Not used:Dow.
POLLOK: McGregor (57)
BLANTYRE: Shields (86), Robertson (88)
POLLOK: Kinney (4, 36 pen, 44, 58), Gupwell (24)
BLANTYRE: Dignam (2), McGregor (19 o.g.), Shanks (80), Christie (85)