Pollok began their 2012/13 campaign in memorable style as they overcame a three-goal deficit to defeat Arthurlie in the group stages of the Euroscot Engineering Sectional League Cup at Dunterlie Park on Saturday.
John Richardson had been a busy man in the transfer market over the summer, and he named eight debutants in his first selection of the season. His new-look side could hardly have made a worse start as they fell behind in the ninth minute. A Pollok short corner routine went awry, allowing ‘Lie to break quickly. Caolan McAleer surged down the right wing and crossed for CHRIS DALLAS to nod home the opener. They doubled their advantage three minutes later when Ryan McGregor flicked a header into the path of CHRIS DALLAS, who guided the ball beyond Stevie McNeil. It took ‘Lok until the 19th minute to test Graeme Shepherd in the home goal, with the ‘keeper doing well to stop a fiercely struck Carlo Monti drive from outside the penalty area. Dallas almost claimed his hat-trick in the 27th minute when he shot past a stranded McNeil, but Ross Dunlop got back in time to clear the ball off the line. Monti sent a lob inches wide in the 28th minute before two fine saves from McNeil to deny firstly Paul Stewart, then McAleer. Two minutes before the interval his opposite number was called into action again, this time tipping away a deflected Monti free-kick.
Pollok’s task became even tougher just two minutes after the resumption of play as the hosts moved further ahead. McNeil’s attempted clearance from a ‘Lie free-kick ricocheted off CAOLAN McALEER and into the net for the Barrhead side’s third. ‘Lok grabbed a lifeline in the 55th minute when Darren Brady’s pinpoint cross found ROSS HEPBURN, who steered a header past Shepherd. Two minutes later Tony Fraser showed tremendous vision to pick out CARLO MONTI, who slotted the ball beyond the advancing ‘keeper from a tight angle. The scores were level after 61 minutes when Monti delivered a dangerous corner from the right and STEVEN REILLY bulleted home a header. The turnaround was completed in the 65th minute when Reilly’s long free-kick was poorly defended and WILLIE SAWYERS seized upon the loose ball to give Pollok their fourth goal in the space of ten minutes. Sawyers was then inches away from a Monti cross before McNeil touched a Dallas shot around the post. He then stopped a low drive from substitute Ryan Deas before blocking an Alan Muir shot with his legs to keep his side ahead. ‘Lok put the game beyond doubt in the 82nd minute when Monti played in strike partner Sawyers, who was bundled over inside the penalty area by Mark Blakey. CARLO MONTI stepped up to the spot to plant Pollok’s fifth into the back of the net and wrap up a morale-boosting three points in the battle to top Section Five.
Next up is the first home game of the season as St. Anthony’s visit Newlandsfield Park. Kick-off on Monday evening is at 6.45pm.
ARTHURLIE: Shepherd, Lochhead, Crawford, Walker (Deas 68), Hodge, Muir, McAleer, McGregor, Dallas, Stewart, Blakey. Not used: McKay, McGowan, Wilson, Dymock.
POLLOK: McNeil, Dunlop, McBride, Reilly, Lovering, Brady (Carter 83), Mills, Hepburn (McQuilken 90), Sawyers (Docherty 88), Monti, Fraser. Not used: McLaren, Black.
ARTHURLIE: Stewart (64)
POLLOK: Reilly (73), Fraser (77)
ARTHURLIE: Dallas (9, 12), McAleer (47)
POLLOK: Hepburn (55), Monti (57, 82 pen), Reilly (61), Sawyers (65)