POLLOK v KIRKINTILLOCH ROB ROY
Pollok hosted Kirkintilloch Rob Roy on match day 22 of the West of Scotland Premiership. Stewart Maxwell’s former side arrived at Newlandsfield in mid-table and off the back of a home win over Hurlford.
The manager made four changes to the team which started the previous week’s win over Cumnock. Gow was unavailable and was replaced by Sideserf. Burns, who was returning from suspension came in for Horne as they lined up with a back four. Further up the pitch, Stuart McCann and Forde replaced Fraser and Docherty.
After a fairly tepid opening ten minutes in which the only thing of note was the unfortunate departure of Sideserf due to injury a taste of what was to come arrived in the twelfth minute. A Menzies header out of defence was picked up by Christie who passed to Forde. He immediately released McCann down the right wing. He skipped past one challenge before delivering a superb cross to the back post. The onrushing Duff headed it back across goal and just wide of the post.
Three minutes later Duff did find the net. Rob Roy threatened to break from a corner but it was snuffed out by Menzies who fed Lyon. His ball down the left wing found Christie who was on that side of the pitch having taken the corner. When his cross reached the far post it was Duff who controlled the ball and faced with a massed defence worked his way to the bye-line before chipping it over the keeper from an acute angle.
The lead was to last all of two minutes. A free-kick from the left was swung in and Longmuir gave the goalie’s shout. Esplin ducked out of it as the ball headed straight to Longmuir who had his hands ready. Perhaps already looking to start a quick counter-attack he let the ball slip through his hands and McNab was there to head home from six yards out.
Lyon, Duff and Christie were playing some eye-catching stuff and from one such move Christie saw his shot blocked after Aitken had missed a Duff cross. Pollok retook the lead in the twenty second minute with a truly stunning goal from a lovely passing move. Esplin played a first time pass out to Christie who cut inside and switched the play to Duff on the left. He drove forward before slipping it out to Lyon whose low cross was perfectly into the path of Duff whose finish was emphatic.
A Rob Roy break from a corner saw them have a four on two situation as they approached the Pollok box. With hindsight they may have wished they had attempted a pass or two but instead shot from outside the box and Longmuir was able to push it away. Of more significance to the match during the breakaway Duff pulled up with a tight hamstring denying him a chance of a hat-trick. He was replaced by Gary McCann.
Pollok’s next goal came from a corner and it was scored by the taker although it was his fifth touch which put the ball in to the net. Christie took the corner short to Lyon. The return pass was a bit short which forced Christie into jinking past the first defender. He then rode a couple of challenges as he made his way into the box before finding the far corner with a composed, curling finish.
The Christie/Lyon set piece double act would create Pollok’s fourth with three minutes to go before halftime. From a free kick on the left Lyon’s return pass was inch perfect to allow Christie to pick out a cross to the back post. Stuart McCann rose highest and headed down and in off the post despite a fingertip from the keeper and a despairing attempt at a clearance off the line.
The second half got off to a sluggish start with a Rob Roy effort over the bar and a Forde shot deflected wide. Then just before the hour mark Rob Roy got a lifeline back into the game. A corner was swung in from the left. Longmuir – under pressure – got a fairly decent hand to it but Hughes was beyond the back post to produce a very composed finish from a tight angle.
With twenty-five minutes to go Pollok began to reassert themselves as the dominant force. A Christie free kick was headed back across goal where Brownlie – perhaps hampered a little by Forde going for the same ball – could only loop a header over the bar.
In the seventy second minute Pollok got their fifth. A superb cross-field pass from Lyon found Christie in space on the right. His cross found Stuart McCann six yards out and his downward header found the net.
Three minutes later Pollok passed up a great chance to extend their lead. Another Christie free-kick curled into the box and Brownlie met it with a powerful diving header. Unfortunately it was straight at the keeper and allowed him the chance to save with his feet. Moments later Burns won the ball in his own half and set off towards goal. Having carried it half the length of the pitch his well-struck shot from twenty yards rose just over the bar.
The home side were really purring again now and looking for more goals. A Brownlie knockdown was driven towards goal by Gary McCann and was brilliantly tipped round the post by Aitken. Gary was involved in Pollok’s sixth. His cross from the right was headed back into the danger area by Buchanan. Barr’s first shot was blocked but when the rebound fell to him he side footed the ball into the bottom corner for his first Pollok goal.
Gary McCann had one final chance to make it seven when a Barr through ball intended for Docherty evaded the defence and allowed Gary to nip in. His shot beat the keeper but slipped inches wide of the post.
A convincing win and some periods of scintillating football sent the Newlandsfield faithful home happy and the players away to their team night out in buoyant mood. It had been Pollok’s eleventh home league game of the season. The first was a nil-nil draw with Largs. The last ten have produced forty-one goals, twenty-six for the home side. Tremendous entertainment.