Pollok 1 – 2 Glenafton Athletic: 13th January 2023

After an unscheduled winter break Pollok returned to action for their first game of 2024 against Glenafton in the West of Scotland Premiership in front of a healthy crowd of 806 inside a sunny Newlandsfield.

Newlandsfield’s fourth largest attendance of the season welcomed in 2024 as Glenafton came to town. (FT)

The manager made one change from the team which had beaten Rob Roy twenty-eight days earlier with Ross Lindsay coming in for Kyle Faulds in the centre of midfield. For the first outing of 2024 there were only three survivors from the team which started the first game of 2023 at Dunterlie Park – Jordan Longmuir, Calum Gow and Darren Christie played in a 0-0 derby draw.

Pollok were quickly on the attack with Adam Forde holding the ball up before releasing it into Luke Main’s path, and his sweet left-foot strike whistled just past the post. Glenafton responded with their own effort from distance but Longmuir was able to save. In the seventh minute a great burst of pace by Christie took him to the bye-line and his cut back found Main whose shot was gathered by Markey at the second attempt.

Christie was the danger man again in the fifteenth minute, as he snapped up a loose ball in his own half before driving at the Glenafton defence. A smart one-two with Grant Anderson saw him into the box and his low strike was well saved by Markey.

The game changed just before the half hour mark. A Fraser Mullen free-kick was goal bound when Moffat – on the end of the Glenafton wall – appeared to deflect the ball away with his arm. As the referee was waving away the vociferous shouts for a penalty Glenafton lofted the ball over the top of the Pollok rearguard. Longmuir sprinted out of his box to block the attacker’s effort. The assistant signalled that a hand was used to stop the ball and the referee produced a red card. Anderson was the man sacrificed to allow Ben Fry to come on. He was straight into the action, tipping over the free-kick conceded by Longmuir.

Ben Fry came on to replace Jordan Longmuir after his red card. (FT)

Having been the better team, the home side found another gear with ten men to become much the better team for the remainder of the half. Main set Andy Gallacher clean through on goal. His initial shot was blocked and then his attempt on the rebound was tipped round the post by a diving Markey. Main was the creator again a minute later when his well weighted pass found Christie in the inside right channel. His shot was well struck but once again well saved by Markey.

Christie left frustrated as his shot is saved. (FT)

The next chance came after some crisp passing out of defence. The ball was fed to Gallacher and he drove infield at the heart of the Glenafton rearguard before slipping the ball to Mullen. As was becoming a familiar theme his low strike was brilliantly saved by Markey – this time with his right boot.

Mullen also found himself thwarted by Markey in the Glens goal. (FT)

Glenafton then mounted a rare attack and just as the striker was setting his sights on Fry’s goal, Gow slid in with a beautifully timed tackle to avert the danger. On the stroke of half time Pollok’s anguish intensified. Forrester won the ball and passed to Forde. He floated a delightful pass over the right-back to set Gallacher free. His low shot beat Markey but came back off the inside of the post. A millimetre or two to the left and his shot would have gone in, a millimetre or two to the right and ball would have come back out at less of an angle and allowed Scott Forrester – who had run the length of the park – to tap home.

Gallacher lets fly with his left foot, but his effort comes back off the post and taking it away from Forrester. (JG/FT)

HALF TIME: POLLOK 0 – 0 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC

The second half began with the ten men still looking to attack at every opportunity although Glenafton had a couple of free kick attempts – one just over and one saved. At the other end Main and Gallacher saw efforts blocked before a low Christie shot from a tight angle was deflected on to the roof of the net. Then a delightful piece of control by Gallacher from a long ball by Forrester allowed him to set up Christie for the cross. It was a decent one and would likely have been headed home by Anderson if Lok still had eleven men on the pitch.

Against the run of play Glenafton took the lead in the sixty-first minute. A corner was headed clear by Main but headed back into the danger area by Pettigrew and Gary Fraser applied an excellent hooked finish into the top corner.

Fraser wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring with a smart finish. (JG)

Pollok were back on level terms six minutes later, as a tackle on Forde near the halfway line resulted in a booking and an opportunity for Mullen to swing the ball in to the Glenafton box. Gow headed it back across goal for Main to head goalwards. Once again Markey got his fingertips to it but this time Forde was on hand to tap the rebound over the line.

Gow heads across goal and the ball is eventually stabbed in by Forde for the equaliser. (JG)

Far from settling for a come from behind point the ten men went in search of a winner. Burns shot over and then Main stung the palms of Markey. And then a guilt-edged chance. Faulds took a very quick free-kick and ran on to a return pass from Main. He squared it to McGregor in front of goal and although his side-footed effort beat Markey it flicked off the head of a sliding defender and out for a corner.

With the home side having made a series of attacking substitutions and switched to three at the back, disaster struck in the last minute of the ninety. Possession was conceded in the middle of the park and even though Paton’s through ball to Moffat was a yard short of perfect pace when Forrester got his tackle in the ball looped up off Moffat, over Fry and into the net to give the Glens all three points.

A fortuitous winning goal for Glenafton came late in the game. (JG)

 

FULL TIME: POLLOK 1 – 2 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC

Goals:

Pollok – Forde (67′)

Glenafton – Fraser (61′), Moffat (89′)

Attendance: 806

 

Man of the Match: David Markey

A tremendous performance from the visiting stopper, who kept his side in the game amidst a flurry of Pollok chances in the first half with some fine saves. (Photo: JG)

 

Match Report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham and Finlay Thom

 

Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly:

Post-match Interview with Stewart Maxwell