https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbL9-MVL4sQMatch day eighteen of the West of Scotland Premier League saw Pollok take a trip to East Ayrshire for the second weekend running, this time to Beechwood to face Auchinleck Talbot. After the previous week’s resounding win at Hurlford hopes were high that a poor record at Beechwood could be improved on.
Pollok made two changes from the win at Hurlford – Rumsby returned in place of Menzies in the centre of defence and Docherty dropped out to be replaced by Barr as the manager looked to bolster his midfield numbers. An interesting side note from the Auchinleck bench was the inclusion of Ryan Sinnamon, recently released by Pollok.
A cagey opening saw both teams struggle to create much in the way of clear goalscoring opportunities. Forde had a go from outside the box but his shot trundled harmlessly wide.
The home side then threatened on the quarter hour mark. A sliced cross from the left had to be tipped over by Lumsden. From the resulting deep corner Talbot headed it back across goal. A couple of Pollok players got their heads to the ball without fully clearing before it was flicked back into the six-yard box. Burns tried to guide it back to Lumsden but found his own crossbar instead. Minutes later Lumsden was again called into action – grabbing a low shot at the second attempt.
Pollok then had a couple of chances. First a good passing move ended with Burns slipping in Gary McCann. Just as he was shooting for goal an outstretched defender’s leg got something on the ball to take all the pace off it and make it comfortable for Leishman. Moments later a long ball by Lumsden found Lyon in the opposition box. His lob had Leishman at full stretch to tip over. From the resultant corner Gow headed goalwards and Christie couldn’t quite get a touch to deflect it either side of Leishman.
Just before the half hour mark Pollok tried to pass their way out of defence whilst under the severest of pressure by the Talbot midfield and attack. Barr’s rushed pass to McCann was intercepted and the home side wasted little time in getting a dangerous cross into the box. Lumsden did magnificently to thwart the first attempt at goal but could do little to stop Wilson bundling the rebound over the line.
A minute later a deflected Burns cross gave Christie a sight of goal but his looping header went over. A feisty contest then became downright fractious as a clash on the left-hand touchline end with Burns appearing to take a punch to the face. After consultation with his linesman the referee issued a yellow card to each side. Doubtful if that would have been the outcome had VAR been available.
Football broke out again in the last few minutes of the half with Lumsden making a good save low down to his left and then Forde getting in an angled shot with Leishman well placed to save.
Pollok started the second half with attacking intent and had a decent share of the ball although Auchinleck looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Rumsby headed wide from a corner and was then perhaps lucky not to see red when hauling down a Talbot attacker as he looked to race through on goal.
Pollok equalised with twenty minutes to go when a long free kick from Lumsden was flicked on by substitute Stuart McCann and finished expertly by his brother, Garry McCann with a low left footed strike.
The home side regained their lead with eight minutes to go. A cross from the right was never properly cleared and was then passed back out to the wing. When the cross came in a second time substitute Boylan was there to apply an expert finish into the corner.
Pollok created one more chance before the end. Buchanan turning his man before finding Stuart McCann with a floating cross. His header lacked the necessary power to trouble Leishman.
In the end it was a familiar story for Pollok. They had good periods in the game and would have merited a point but Talbot’s game management and strength off the bench got them over the line. Auchinleck will now be looking for Pollok to do them a favour or two against Darvel in the run-in to what could be a titanic battle for the title and may well still include Beith.