Pollok welcomed Camelon to Newlandsfield under the Friday night lights for the third round of the South Challenge Cup. Whilst the home side had been enjoying a record-breaking win over Saltcoats in the previous round Camelon had overcome Dunipace with a 4-2 victory.
Pollok made three changes from the draw against Troon. Ben Fry came in for Jordan Longmuir in goal, Callum Gow returned to the side at the expense of Matty Burrows and Chris Duff was given a start in place of Andy Gallacher.
Shooting down the hill Pollok started brightly. Some nice interplay between Duff, Marc Mackenzie and Adam Forde could have set Darren Christie up but the final pass was just a bit too strong and ran through to the keeper. McKenzie then sent in a looping cross which had the defence turned. The clearing header fell to Forde who volleyed over the bar. The result was the same moments later when Mullen found some space but his shot was always on the rise.
The opening goal arrived in the tenth minute. Ross Lindsay intercepted a pass out of defence and expertly played the ball into Forde. He controlled it beautifully before playing it into space for Christie to run on to. Given a sight of goal he made no mistake in bulleting a shot into the top corner.
The home side were dominating and more good work by Lindsay set up a shooting chance for Forde but his effort from thirty yards was well saved. Pollok’s lead was then doubled in the twentieth minute when a pass out of defence by Gow found Christie. He set off on a run across the park before passing to Sean Burns. His route to a cross was blocked so he passed back to Christie who delivered an inswinger into the danger area. Duff ghosted in to glance a header into the net. A goal that no doubt delighted the coaching staff with the right winger crossing from the left for the left winger to head home.
A terrific interchange of positions and use of the space. It was also Pollok’s 50th goal of the season!
Camelon got themselves right back into the game five minutes later. A misplaced Forrester pass was quickly returned in behind the Pollok backline and Walker ran on to it and coolly applied the finish past Fry.
Pollok restored their two-goal advantage in the thirty-ninth minute. The ball broke free in the middle of the park and Lindsay played a first time pass to Christie. He ran at the Camelon defence and they backed off until Christie found a half-yard of space inside the box to fire home an unerring finish into the bottom corner.
Duff then got through but his attempted lob wasn’t quite high enough and this was followed by Scott Forrester volleying over a Forde flick on as the Lok looked to establish an insurmountable lead. The fourth goal did arrive before half-time and it came from a Camelon error. A short back pass was pounced on by Forde who rounded the keeper and guided it home from a tight angle.
POLLOK 4 – 1 CAMELON JUNIORS
Pollok began the second half as they ended the first – scoring goals. Lindsay again made the interception to allow Ryan McGregor to pass to Forde. His through ball took a deflection which allowed Duff to take a Bergkamp-esque touch to get in behind and he rifled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
A period of sustained possession ended with a floated Burns cross from which Forde looped a header towards goal but it didn’t quite manage to get over the keeper. His next header did find the net. After a Mullen free-kick, Christie chipped a cross to the back post. McGregor headed it back across goal and Forde was there to head home and make it 6-1 a few minutes before the hour mark.
Camelon didn’t give up and saw an overhead kick go wide before Pollok substitute Evan Maley then had a glorious chance at the other end as he latched on to a long ball over the top and had only the keeper to beat but his low shot was well saved. The away side did get a second goal in the 77th minute when Jordan Allan was caught in possession and although the initial shot was blocked, when the ball was played back in Camelon worked it well to create a shooting opportunity for Dolan. His low shot took a slight deflection as it squeezed into the bottom corner leaving Fry helpless.
The final action of the night saw a Camelon free-kick swung into the box. The ball deflected up and hit Gow’s hand giving Camelon a chance to add to their tally from twelve yards. Fry dived to his left to save and Gow was sharpest to react to clear away the rebound.
POLLOK 6 – 2 CAMELON JUNIORS
Pollok: Christie (10′,39′), Duff (20′,49′), Forde (44′,57′)
Camelon: Walker (25′), Dolan (77′)
Man of the Match: Darren Christie
Report by Peter Thomson
Photos from James Graham
Full match highlights from Mark Donnelly
Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell