Pollok 2 – 2 Benburb (AET) (3-0 on penalties)

Pollok opened their Scottish Cup campaign with a home tie in the Second Preliminary Round against league rivals Benburb. The recent 4-1 reverse at New Tinto Park was no doubt fresh in both teams’ minds.

There was one enforced change from the win over Largs with Sean Burns replacing the suspended Jordan Allan. Also suspended was manager Stewart Maxwell who was unable to take his usual place in the home dugout at a sun-kissed Newlandsfield.

The sun was shining on Newlandsfield as the Scottish Cup rolled back into town.(FT)

It was the home side who threatened first. Andrew Gallacher won a corner with a burst of pace and dangerous low cross. Fraser Mullen’s delivery was flicked towards goal by Calum Gow and the keeper managed to prevent it creeping over the line by sitting on it.

It was an unorthodox early save, but it kept Gow’s effort out. (FT)

The next presentable opportunity arrived just before the quarter-hour mark. Benburb made great strides down the left and the low cross was touched on to Shaun Fraser. His shot was heading for the corner but Jordan Longmuir dived to his left to push it round the post. Ten minutes later Longmuir was called into action again to beat away an Aaron Black shot after he had turned back inside Gow and Mullen. The away side were generating the better scoring opportunities and they were to take their next one.

A throw from the right was headed up in the air by four successive players until it fell kindly on the edge of the box for Fraser. The ex-Pollok player made no mistake with a powerful, low volley into the corner. And three minutes later it was 2-0. Another throw from the right was back-heeled to the thrower to cross. He found Black at the back post and his hooked finish looped into the top corner leaving Longmuir with no chance.

Pollok now had to find a way back into the game and picked up the attacking pace. A vociferous penalty appeal was waved away, before Forde found McKenzie with a ball over the top, he raced clear only to mishit his shot wide of target. It had been a half-chance. His next opportunity – as half-time approached – was a glorious chance. Mullen’s free-kick into the box fell to Forrester who cleverly back-heeled into space for Gallacher to fire in a cross. It came in with pace and McKenzie only managed to scoop it over the bar.

A penalty appeal was turned down as Pollok chased a route back into the game. (FT)

The encouraging end to the first half was continued into the second half as Pollok went straight on the attack. Christie won a corner which from Mullen’s delivery was fired towards goal by Gow. The keeper made a wonderful save before Forrester put the rebound high and wide.

After a stunning save from Gow’s effort, Forrester’s rebound presented fewer problems for the Benburb stopper. (FT)

Just before the hour mark the Southsiders got themselves right back into the contest. Christie took a quick throw to Gallacher and as he was tackled Mullen strode on to the ball and whipped it towards the near post. It was behind Forde but that just meant the Lok striker could pull off another stunning overhead kick which found the back of the net.

A second overhead kick in two games from Forde halved the deficit. (JG)

After substitute Anderson had a goal disallowed for offside he was involved again in a fantastic move by Burns and Forde down the left which resulted in a corner. Forrester and McGregor challenged for the ball at the back post and it fell invitingly in the six-yard box. Forde accepted the invitation and fairly thumped it home.

Forde wheels away in celebration again after leveling the tie. (JG)

There were just over twenty minutes for the home side to find a winner and they attacked the task with gusto. Gallacher had a shot saved, then Christie curled one just wide. After Fraser sliced wide at the other end, a Mullen free-kick was saved at the second attempt before Forde lofted one over the bar. Pollok couldn’t find a winner so the game went into extra-time.

The home side’s momentum seemed to slow a bit as Benburb created a few chances of their own in the extra period. However McGregor forced the keeper into a good save before Duff fired wide from a good position with a minute to go before the game went to penalties.

Mullen was first up for Pollok and slammed his home with supreme confidence. First up for Benburb was substitute, McCrone whose kick was saved by Longmuir’s legs. Next up was Duff who slotted his kick into the bottom corner. Fraser then hit his firm and straight down the middle, but Longmuir hadn’t moved and once again saved with his legs. The keeper clearly remembered his former teammate’s effort against Arthurlie in March! McGregor continued Pollok’s 100% success rate from before Smith fired over to give the home side a place in the next round.

Longmuir stood firm to keep out two of Benburb’s three penalties. (FT)

A pulsating tie which had provided fantastic entertainment and value for money. After the excitement and exposure last season’s cup run brought Pollok will be delighted to be into the first round proper and looking forward to an away tie at Penicuik Athletic.


Pollok: Forde (59′, 70′)

Benburn: Fraser (27′), Black (30′)

Man of the Match: Calum Gow

An imperious performance from the centre back who took the armband in the second half. Won every header against a team that went long often, and marshalled the back four alongside the equally impressive Scott Forrester. (FT)

Honourable Mentions: 

Adam Forde

A massive second-half from the forward who took his tally for the season to seven, which is just two off last season’s total. Another stunning overhead kick to pull a goal back, and a poacher’s finish for the equaliser demonstrates his depth in what has been a very strong start to the season. (JG)

Jordan Longmuir

In only his second appearance of the season, the stopper showed that even in his tenth season at Newlandsfield, he remains one of the top keepers at this level. Confidently dealt with several dangerous crosses throughout the game, and stood firm to keep out two spot kicks in the shootout. (JG)

Report by Peter Thomson

Photos from James Graham & Finlay Thom

Attendance: 874

Full Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly


Post-Match Interview with Stewart Maxwell