Pollok 2 – 2 Cumnock Juniors

Pollok were forced to come from behind twice to salvage a draw underneath the lights in a match that saw former manager Murdo MacKinnon return to Newlandsfield for the first time since his departure in November last year. 

The away side were the first to threaten with two minutes on the clock. A ball into the box was controlled by Jamieson and his hooked volley on the turn drifted just wide. Pollok’s response was almost immediate. Barclay cleared from the Cumnock goal and Henry headed it back from the halfway line. His header cleared the Cumnock rear-guard and gave McKenzie a shooting opportunity which he sent just wide of the far post. The first attempt on target came in the eighth minute and nearly burst the net. A free kick from just outside the box was hammered into the corner by Luke Watt giving Longmuir no chance. The irony being that Watt was only playing due to an injury to Willett in the warm-up.

Watt’s thumping free kick gave Longmuir no chance.

Pollok had an attempt of their own from a free-kick just before the quarter hour mark. Mullen touched it to Forde who let fly from thirty-five yards. Barclay doing well to touch it round the post. Mullen’s corner was initially cleared but passed out to him again by Lindsay. This time his cross was partially cleared to the edge of the box where Forde was well positioned to take a touch and fire into the corner of the net.

A well-taken Forde equaliser was his 22nd of the season.

The home side had a great chance to take the lead a few minutes later. Defending their own box from a throw in deep inside their own half Lindsay got a foot to the ball to find Main who quickly passed to Christie. His long pass to find McKenzie was under hit but the defender did not get a great touch on it whilst attempting to steer it back to his keeper. This meant McKenzie was presented with a clear sight at goal, but his low shot was well saved by Barclay. The Southsiders were now looking extremely dangerous on the break. Main produced a lovely bit of skill to find space and played a perfect ball down the right for Christie. His low cross caused panic in the defence and the ball fell to McKenzie who was only denied by a tremendous goal-saving block a couple of yards out.

The remainder of the half played out in this fashion with Pollok looking threatening on the break whilst Cumnock showed attacking intent of their own. Forde sent a header wide from a McKenzie cross and then Christie sent a shot wide from an unfamiliar position of being put through down the inside left channel.

Christie watches his effort roll wide.

And then on the stroke of half-time disaster struck for Longmuir in the home goal. A free-kick from the halfway line was floated into the box and he came racing from his line to take the ball but Brown beat him to it and headed home.

The ball goes in via the crossbar as Cumnock retake the lead on the stroke of half time.

HALF TIME: POLLOK 1 – 2 CUMNOCK JUNIORS

 

The home side made an unexpectedly sluggish start to the second half, with a goal looking more likely at the other end of the pitch. After flashing a shot wide Cumnock’s next attack resulted in a corner. Longmuir had to make a smart save from a header before a shot was sliced wide.

It wasn’t until after the hour mark that Pollok started to build up a head of steam. A Mullen free-kick under the wall was saved by a well-positioned Barclay and then a Main cross found the head of Gow whose header was flicked goalwards by Forde but again Barclay was in the right place. Christie then got on to a Kerr flick on and having cut inside a defender his curling shot was saved again by Barclay.

A Forde header was directed straight at Barclay.

Another glancing header from Forde then went just wide as the pressure started to ramp up on the Cumnock defence. With just over twenty minutes to go Forrester stepped out of defence and played the ball to Forde. His first touch was excellent and his second put Christie in down the right. He fired in a low shot from a tight angle which was a foot away from a tap in for Kerr and a foot wide of the far post. The home side were now in all-out attack mode and it took them until the eighty-eighth minute to find an equaliser. A sweeping ball from Burns was brilliantly taken down by Christie who dug out a swirling cross from the bye-line. Substitute Grant Anderson was the one to attack it and he powered home a header from close range.

Substitute Anderson heads home a late equaliser.

There was still time for one more dazzling Christie run on a night when he had tormented the Cumnock defence without getting his just rewards. This time he slalomed his way up and across the pitch before firing a low shot across the keeper. It came back off the inside of the post and Gallacher was there to slam home but the delight was short lived as the assistant referee raised his flag to indicate offside.

Christie’s late celebrations were interrupted by the assistant’s flag.

The home side will rue the missed chances on the night as they had to settle for a second two all draw with Cumnock this season. An entertaining game which produced some stellar individual performances on both sides but which ultimately will be seen as two points dropped by Pollok.

FULL TIME: POLLOK 2 – 2 CUMNOCK JUNIORS

GOALS

Pollok: Forde (15′), Anderson (88′)

Cumnock Juniors: Watt (8′), Brown (44′)

Report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham

Man of the Match: Darren Christie

Yet another industrious showing under the Newlandsfield lights for the winger. His strong running was key to Pollok’s attack and it was his pinpoint cross which found Anderson for the second equaliser. A dazzling run late on should have led to a goal had Gallacher not strayed offside.

Highlights from Mark Donnelly

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell