After narrowly squeezing past Benburb in the Second Preliminary Round, Pollok travelled to Montgomery Park to take on Penicuik Athletic in the First Round of the Scottish Cup. The home side are currently sitting ninth in the East of Scotland Premier Division, and this was the first match between the sides since 2014 in a Scottish Junior Cup replay defeat for the Lok.
After the previous week’s cup win over Saltcoats Victoria, manager Maxwell reverted to the line-up which had impressed in the win over Hurlford a week earlier. For Penicuik, Darrell Young was making a 312th appearance, breaking their record for the modern era. A fine achievement in this day and age.
Playing in all red Pollok started on the front foot with Forde picking up a headed pass and after driving at the heart of the home defence, he was fouled a couple of yards outside the box. With just three minutes on the clock, Fraser Mullen stepped up to drive the free-kick into the top corner of the net. It was the first goal in the First Round in the 150th anniversary year of this famous competition.
The away side did not sit on their lead and doubled it before the quarter hour mark. Christie was set free on the right and when his dangerous cross evaded everyone Forde retrieved it. He slipped the ball to Gallacher who drove to the bye line before cutting it back for McKenzie to apply an emphatic finish.
A one-two between Forrester and Forde left the striker with room in the middle of the park. He sprayed the ball wide to Christie and sprinted into the box. When Christie’s delivery arrived Forde’s header was tipped over the bar by Hayward.
With Penicuik having spurned a half chance, the scoring promptly resumed at the other end. Gallacher showed some lovely close control before a perfectly weighted pass to the overlapping Forde. His low cross was deflected into his own net by Young on his big day.
Forde then had a strike blocked after Mullen had rolled a free-kick to him before getting on the scoresheet for Pollok’s fourth. He once again dropped off into the number ten role to pick up the ball. His pass out wide found Christie in space and as is so often the case his cross was a cracker. Forde’s superbly timed run saw him bullet home a header to make it 4-0 at halftime.
HALF TIME: PENICUIK ATHLETIC 0 – 4 POLLOK
The pace of the game dropped a little in the early stages of the second half. McGregor saw a volley saved before he picked up a yellow card. At the other end Longmuir made a good save with his feet – the attempt from the rebound going wide. With substitutes on Pollok continued to look the more likely team to score goals. An Anderson strike was beaten away by Hayward before Maley put the rebound wide. Forde then tried to add to his overhead kick goals collection but Hayward made a smart save.
With the game entering its final stages, Pollok added another pair of cracking goals. A passing move out of defence involving Forrester, Kerr and Burns saw the latter slip the ball through to Duff who supplied a composed finish past the keeper.
And with the game just entering injury time, Evan Maley took a pass from Jay Nelson, set himself and then unleashing a tremendous, swerving strike from twenty-two yards which went through the keeper to make the final score 6-0.
It had been thoroughly professional performance from start to finish and from back to front from Pollok as they took a deserved place in the next round. It was the type of performance where everyone involved merited at least an eight out of ten.
FULL TIME: PENICUIK ATHLETIC 0 – 6 POLLOK
SCORERS: Mullen (3′), McKenzie (12′), Young OG (18′). Forde (39′), Duff (89′), Maley (90’+1)
Man of the Match: Adam Forde
Match Report from Peter Thomson
Photos from James Graham & Finlay Thom
Official SFA Highlights
Club Highlights from Mark Donnelly
Post-Match Interview with Stewart Maxwell