Match photos from Kathryn MacLeod to follow
Match stats from Davie Brown HERE
Pollok’s Stagecoach Super Premier League survival now rests upon the outcome of a two-legged play-off after their final league fixture saw them fall to a 5-3 defeat against Auchinleck Talbot at Beechwood Park on Saturday.
Victory would have guaranteed ninth place and safety for ‘Lok, but John Richardson’s hands were tied when it came to team selection thanks to a combination of injuries and work commitments. Nevertheless, his side made a bright start, with Billy Jones seeing a header saved with only thirty seconds on the clock. Darren Brady pulled a weak effort wide before ‘Lok opened the scoring in the ninth minute. CARLO MONTI seized possession from an Auchinleck throw-in deep in his own half, and as he drove forward the Talbot defence backed off to cover Brian McGinty in the centre, eventually allowing Monti the freedom to slot home beyond Brian McGarrity. The hosts almost struck back within four minutes with a throw-in to Bryan Young in space, but he could only hit the crossbar from eight yards out. Colin Spence then shot wide from just outside the penalty area before Young angled a 25-yarder towards the bottom right-hand corner of the net, only for Scott Morrison to make an excellent save at full stretch. Pollok extended their lead after 36 minutes when Kevin Bradley was felled in the box, and CARLO MONTI stepped forward to plant the spot-kick past McGarrity. Talbot almost pulled a goal back when Michael O’Hara had to look lively to block with his shoulder after a steepling Keiran Paterson cross, but they weren’t to be denied for long as from the resultant corner an unmarked MICK McCANN reacted best to the ricocheting ball and swept home to halve the deficit four minutes from the interval.
The first chance of the second half fell to ‘Lok, with Paul McQuilken flicking a header narrowly over after a Monti cross. Monti then played a ball over the top to Bradley, and although it looked as if McGarrity palmed his shot against the post and away for a corner the refereeing team instead awarded a goal kick to the hosts. Bradley blocked a Spence strike in the 64th minute, but two minutes later Talbot found an equaliser. Craig Pettigrew sent over a low cross from the right, and MICK McCANN applied the finishing touch from close range. Five minutes later the Ayrshire side hit the front when a simple ball over the top from Spence found CRAIG PETTIGREW behind the Pollok defence, and he coolly side-footed home. McQuilken headed onto the roof of the net before two quick-fire saves from Morrison, firstly pushing a Spence free-kick around the post, then beating away a Pettigrew drive. ‘Lok drew level in the 79th minute when CARLO MONTI connected with an O’Hara free-kick, sending an overhead kick into the back of the net. Three minutes later Pollok came within inches of hitting the front again when Monti lifted the ball over McGarrity, only to see it come back off the upright. Instead, his side fell behind once more when Talbot substitute DAVIE GILLIES drilled home a low shot in the 87th minute after some fine control at the edge of the penalty box. One minute into injury time salt was rubbed into the wound when a CRAIG PETTIGREW drive took a deflection off O’Hara en route to the back of Morrison’s net to complete the scoring.
Pollok now face an anxious wait to find out who finishes third in the Stagecoach Super First Division, with a head-to-head showdown then determining who plays Premier Division football next season.
AUCHINLECK: McGarrity, Pettigrew, McVey, McGoldrick, Robb, Faulds, Young (Pope 70), Spence, Park, McCann (Gillies 77), Paterson (Milliken 70). Not used: Latta, White, Leishman.
POLLOK: Morrison, Nichol, O’Hara, McMahon, Carter, Brady (Kinney 67), Bradley, McQuilken, McGinty, Jones, Monti. Not used: McGregor, Findlay, Hunter, Black.
AUCHINLECK: Faulds (18)
POLLOK: McQuilken (53), Carter (75)
AUCHINLECK: McCann (41, 66), Pettigrew (71, 90+1), Gillies (87)
POLLOK: Monti (9, 36p, 79)