Match stats from DAVIE BROWN HERE
A five-goal second half salvo was enough to move Pollok to within one win of the knockout stages of the Euroscot Engineering Sectional League Cup as they defeated Neilston at Newlandsfield Park.
Amidst a torrential downpour, manager John Richardson made two changes to the side that drew with St. Anthony’s, with Ross Hepburn and Willie Sawyers dropping to the bench to be replaced by Paul McQuilken and Jamie Docherty. Pollok’s first threat came in the 11th minute when Tony Fraser met Carlo Monti’s cross with a half-volley, but Craig Murphy was well positioned to make an important block. Robert Campbell then sent a long range effort well over before Stevie McNeil clutched a 20-yard effort from Kieran McDade. McQuilken was next to try his luck from distance, but James Digney made a comfortable save for the visitors. Former ‘Lok star Andy Essler sent a speculative effort wide midway through the half before two near misses for the hosts within the space of sixty seconds. Firsty Graeme McLaren looped a header just over before McNeil found Monti with a long clearance, but the striker’s chip narrowly cleared Digney’s bar. The Neilston ‘keeper then saved a Jonathan Carter header before watching helplessly as a Monti free-kick curled wide of the target by the smallest of margins. The half closed with Steven Docherty playing in Tam Murdoch for a strike at goal, but he slipped as he was pulling the trigger and McNeil was able to make an easy save.
Pollok made a bright start to the second half, with Docherty heading wide from a Monti set-piece. The breakthrough arrived after 49 minutes when CARLO MONTI jinked infield from the right wing before delivering a 20-yard blast that left Digney helpless. The ‘keeper then spilled a shot by Monti, but he reacted well to stop McQuilken’s follow-up effort. ‘Lok moved 2-0 ahead in the 52nd minute when JAMIE DOCHERTY rose to flick home a McQuilken cross. Darren Brady then set up Carter for a strike at goal that was well held by Digney. In the 61st minute Monti picked out Fraser in space, but his drive was touched away for a corner. One minute later ‘Lok added a third when Ross Dunlop laid a perfectly weighted ball into the path of CARLO MONTI, and he applied a cool finish. A fourth goal arrived in the 67th minute when Fraser crossed for substitute WILLIE SAWYERS, and he directed a skilful flick beyond Digney. With quarter of an hour left to play Fraser limped off, leaving Pollok with only ten men as they had already used all three replacements allowed. Kevin McBride saw a short free-kick deflected wide before a fine goal-line block by Carter denied Campbell. The scoring was completed in the 86th minute when McQuilken passed to WILLIE SAWYERS behind the defensive line, and he calmly rounded Digney before stroking the ball home.
Pollok now turn their attentions to league matters, opening their Stagecoach Super Premier League campaign with a trip to Cumnock on Saturday. Kick-off at Townhead Park is at 2pm.
POLLOK: McNeil, Dunlop, McBride, Carter, McLaren, Brady (Hepburn 67), Mills, McQuilken, Docherty (Sawyers 63), Monti (McGinty 63), Fraser. Not used: Reilly.
NEILSTON: Digney, Murphy, Campbell, Lennox, McDade, Hughes, Docherty, Canning, Essler, Murdoch (Kane 71), Gibson (Adams 59). Not used: Whiteford, Fulton.
NEILSTON: Murdoch (69)
POLLOK: Monti (49, 62), Docherty (52), Sawyers (67, 86)