Following a week off, Pollok made one change to the team which started the Scottish Cup win over Gala with Chris Duff coming in for Andrew Gallacher as they looked to push their claim as serious title contenders.
The home side were the first to threaten. A tremendous pass from Lindsay found Christie in space on the right. He got to the bye-line and cut it back for Forde. He took a touch before dragging his shot just wide of the post. Beith were dominating the early stages without testing Longmuir and Pollok saw a penalty appeal dismissed when a Burns cross was flicked on and Forde appeared to be clipped whilst going for the ball in the six-yard box.
The away side took the lead in the twenty first minute. A long free-kick was flicked across the box. Gow partially cleared but it fell to Kian Burns who danced past Mullen before passing a clever shot through Gow’s legs and into the corner of the net.
Beith’s second goal arrived a few minutes later. A ball over the top was being pursued by Rossiter with Burns in close attendance. Duff sprinted back to get involved and made a clumsy challenge which saw the referee point to the spot. McGlinchey made no mistake from twelve yards as he doubled Beith’s lead.
Not long after, a mistimed tackle by Robbie Scullion on Forde in the middle of the park was deemed a straight red by the referee and Beith found themselves down to ten men with more than an hour still to
Just before the half hour mark the Southsiders passed up a wonderful opportunity to get themselves right back into the game. Marc McKenzie, making his 650th career appearance, chased a short back pass and rounded the keeper expertly. He had time to take a touch but his shot towards goal was cleared off the line by O’Neil.
Pollok were starting to show signs of making the extra man count as they began to dominate possession. Mcgregor started a move which saw Forde sweep a pass out wide to Duff. When the cross came in Forde was there to meet it with a powerful header which cannoned off the bar. As the game approached halftime Christie saw a shot deflected away for a corner and from Mullen’s delivery Duff shot wide.
However, the final goal of the half was to come at the other end, as a quick break saw Diver through on Longmuir who did well to save with his feet. From the resulting corner the ball was cleared but quickly returned. Monti held off Mullen and played in Rossiter who was allowed to work his way along the bye-line before cutting back for Burns to apply a simple finish.
POLLOK 0 – 3 BEITH JUNIORS
It had been a chastening first half for the home side and the second half started in disastrous fashion. Diver was played in down the right wing. There appeared to be little danger as he made his way into the box at a tight angle with players covering. However, his low cross came off Gow and trundled
into the net for 4-0.
Pollok continued to look for a way back into the game as Beith sat back to defend their handsome lead. Christie burst in behind the defence and when his angled shot was blocked by the keeper it fell to McGregor. He laid it off to Forde whose strike came crashing back off the bar.
As the hour mark approached Pollok got themselves on the board at last. Christie played the ball across the box to the substitute Gallacher. He stepped inside his man and curled a low shot into the bottom corner. The assistant referee raised his flag but the referee quite correctly confirmed that there was no interference with play and gave the goal.
Beith were defending superbly as McGregor saw a close-range effort cleared off the line before he planted a header wide after great work by Gallacher. Christie also managed an effort just wide while a Forde volley was straight at the keeper. Anderson then saw a shot on the turn well saved before more Gallacher magic set up a shooting opportunity for McGregor. His effort took a slight nick on the way over the bar. From the resulting corner Kerr rose highest and found the top corner with his header to further reduce the deficit with eight minutes to go.
Christie saw a low shot well saved by Stott’s feet and then Anderson passed up a presentable opportunity in the six-yard box from a Burns’ cross.
Another cross driven in by Burns was well saved by Stott before efforts by Christie and Mullen were blocked as the Beith defence put their bodies on the line. With the game well into stoppage time a short corner was played to Mullen who curled it into the box. Gow rose highest and headed into the top corner to pull Pollok back within one.
There was, however, no time for completing a heroic comeback, as the whistle blew in the 98th minute for full time. Any neutrals amongst the large crowd will have thoroughly enjoyed a seven-goal thriller. For the home faithful however, it goes down as an opportunity missed. Soft goals conceded and good
chances missed was the story of the day, although Beith showed why they are champions and confirmed they will be very difficult to beat to this season’s title race.
POLLOK 3 – 4 BEITH JUNIORS
Pollok: Gallcher (59′), Kerr (82′), Gow (90’+7)
Beith Juniors: Burns (25′,45’+1), McGlinchey (P)(25′), OG (47′)
Man of the Match: Kian Burns (Beith Juniors)
Report by Peter Thomson
Full Match Highlights by Mark Donnelly
Post-match Interview with Stewart Maxwell