Pollok travelled to Blair Park to take on Hurlford in match day 17 of the West of Scotland League premier division. Historically not a happy hunting ground for the Lok.
There were four changes from the previous week’s defeat to Beith. Captain Brownlie missed out due to concussion and was joined on the side-lines by Sideserf, Fraser and Krol. They were replaced in the starting line up by Gow, Menzies, Lyon and Docherty.
After a small delay caused by a stray husky on the pitch the match got underway in blustery conditions. The away side were quickly into their stride and looked threatening from the off. With four minutes on the clock Gary McCann won possession in his own half and set off down the left touchline. He carried the ball deep into Hurlford territory before slipping it inside to Forde. He jinked past his marker before floating a cross beyond the back post to Christie. He returned the ball into the six-yard box where Forde rose well to head home the opener.
Hurlford had a great chance to equalise on thirteen minutes. A ball over the top saw McKenzie through on goal but Lumsden stood up brilliantly and saved with his left foot. Up the other end Gary McCann just failed to get on the end of a Christie cross at the back post.
The Southsiders doubled their lead in the twenty first minute. After a period of sustained pressure and with quality crosses coming in from both sides the goal came from a corner. Mullen’s delivery found his fellow full-back, Burns, free in the box. The left-back expertly looped a header into the far corner of the net.
Hurlford almost got straight back into the game from a corner of their own. A glancing header had Lumsden beaten but Lyon was on the line to clear before the stray husky made another cameo appearance on the pitch.
After a lull in the goalmouth action Pollok could have extended their lead in the run up to half time. First Docherty had a good chance after a brave flick on by Gary McCann. The striker headed the chance downwards when perhaps a looping header would have given the keeper more of a problem. In the next attack Christie’s cross looked perfect for McCann but he appeared to be manhandled as he went to head goalwards. The referee waved away the vociferous appeals for a penalty.
The first chance of the second half fell to Pollok but it was of Hurlford’s own making. After getting into a bit of a panic the ball was played back to the keeper whose first touch was loose. Docherty was on to in a flash to take it off his toes. He was forced wide by the keeper but got it back across goal but unfortunately there were no takers.
Just before the midpoint of the second half McKenzie was sent off. He’d already picked up a yellow for a late challenge on Mullen before a needless lunge at Esplin in the middle of the park gave the referee little option but to produce the red card.
Pollok were in complete control now and nearly extended their lead twice in quick succession from a couple of Mullen corners. The first one saw Burns’ close-range effort deflected over before Lyon’s hooked effort from a Gow knock down went just over the bar.
The third goal did come from a Mullen corner. As Mullen prepared to take the kick Pollok made a double substitution with Forde and Lyon being replaced by Nelson and Stuart McCann. The latter sprinted into the box and arrived at the perfect moment to meet Mullen’s corner with a sweet diving header into the bottom corner. A new world record for the fastest ever goal by a substitute?
Hurlford suffered more red card misery with a couple of minutes to go when Miller received his second yellow card for a block on Krol as he jinked passed him.
With conditions now absolute horrific as the strong winds were added to with monsoon like rain the away side made their numerical advantage count by adding a fourth goal. Recent signing Barr slipped the ball thru the Hurlford defence to fellow recent recruit Nelson who produced a compose finish to give McDonald no chance and notch his first in Pollok colours.
So ten days after a disappointing home defeat to Hurlford, Pollok had gained a modicum of revenge and in so doing recorded their first ever win over Hurlford at Blair Park. It was one of those performances where everyone was worthy of at least a seven out of ten mark and they ran out convincing and deserving winners.
Full Match Highlights:
Post Match Reaction:
Match Report by: Peter Thompson
Photos by: James Graham
Videos by: Mark Donnelly