Pollok welcomed Irvine Meadow on match day five of the West of Scotland Premier Division for the first match of the season under the Newlandsfield lights. The manager made five changes from the disappointing defeat to Benburb at the weekend – Rumsby, Hutton, Duff, Forde and Anderson dropped out and were replaced by Forrester, Main, Gallacher, McKenzie and Kerr.
Pollok started on the front foot, and an early looping cross was dropped by Waters but Main’s shot was blocked and then Christie had a go from just outside the box but it swerved wide all within the first two minutes.
And then with four minutes on the clock the home side could easily have been behind. Gow played a slack pass across the box which Baird intercepted but with only the keeper to beat he was thwarted by Fry’s left boot. Moments later a big boot up the park by Waters caught the Pollok defence off guard and Meadow put a presentable chance just wide of the post.
Pollok were swiftly back on the attack and Allan ran from his own half before firing in a shot from twenty-five yards which went just wide. After this initial burst of goalmouth action the game settled into a midfield battle with neither side exerting control. Pollok did come close from a couple of corners – Forrester just failing to connect at the back post and then seeing his header clip the bar from another Mullen delivery.
Just as the 475 inside Newlandsfield were accepting the first half was going to be goalless, Faulds played a pass back towards his keeper which McKenzie was on to in a flash to expertly guide past Waters and into the net, for his first Pollok goal.
If the first half had been a tight affair, then the same could not be said of the second. Pollok increased their lead in the 64th minute after determined work in the middle of the park by Kerr. He then passed out to Christie whose unerring drive found the far corner.
Christie had a similar chance moments later but his effort was off target on this occasion. Gallacher then capped off a wonderful performance with another glimpse of what he is all about. He chased back into his own half to win possession, drove into the Meadow half, beat his fullback and sent over a tantalising cross which went just wide of the far post.
With Ryan McGregor already on for his third Pollok debut he was joined by fellow substitutes Duff, Forde and Anderson and they were to be heavily involved as goals flowed in the final ten minutes.
Duff scored with his first touch as he headed home an excellent Mullen cross. Irvine Meadow then saw a curling effort come back off the bar before the scoring resumed at the other end.
Forde got on the end of a Fry goal-kick and dragged defenders wide before slipping the ball into Anderson. His shot from eighteen yards seemed to go under Waters and squirm over the line.
Forde and Anderson were at it again a few minutes later. Hutton found Forde on the left touchline, he beat a man and then sent over a low cross to find the unmarked Anderson at the back post to apply the simplest of finishes.
The scoring was completed from the penalty spot. Christie latched on to a searching, long pass from Mullen and headed the ball past former Pollok left back Byrne. As Christie darted past him he was hauled back. The ball was handed to Anderson who fairly slammed it home to complete an eight-minute hat-trick and make the final score 6-0.
Having failed to score in the two games against Irvine Meadow last season this was a welcome win for the Southsiders who played some excellent stuff in the second half after a gritty first half display.
GOALS: McKenzie (42′), Christie (64′), Duff (82′), Anderson (85′, 89′, 90’+3)
Man of the Match – Andrew Gallacher
Report by Peter Thomson
Photographs by Finlay Thom and James Graham
Full Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly
Stewart Maxwell’s Post-Match Interview: