Largs Thistle 1 – 3 Pollok – 20th Jan 2024

Pollok got back to winning ways with their first points of 2024 after victory against Largs Thistle at a blustery Barrfields. Darren Christie’s early opener was cancelled out by Lewis Davidson, before second half goals from Adam Forde and substitute Andy Gallacher secured the points.

After last week’s loss to Glenafton, manager Stewart Maxwell made two changes to the starting line-up. Ben Fry came in to replace the suspended Jordan Longmuir in goal while Marc McKenzie took the place of Gallacher on the left wing.

The home side started the match dominating possession and territory but without generating any attempts on goal. In the seventh minute Sean Burns was being placed under pressure at the corner flag but he did well to turn his man and launch a long ball down the line. A misjudged defensive header allowed Forde to nip in and beat McCreath with a clever flick to get him in behind the defence. He had time to look up and pick out an onrushing Christie in the middle who applied an emphatic finish to put Pollok one up with their first real foray into the Largs half.

Christie celebrates his seventh minute opener with Luke Main.

Largs didn’t allow that setback to change the flow of the game however, as a low shot from the edge of the box was saved by a diving Fry and in the fifteenth minute, the goalkeeper was required to show his worth once again. A throw in from the left was contested and the ball broke through the Pollok back line to allow Ramsay a clear sight at goal but Fry stood up well and made an excellent block. The ball was then crossed to the back post where Mullen did well to get a block on a dangerous shot before Fry collected.

A couple of minutes later Ramsay was involved again when he made a surging run to win a corner. It came to nothing and Pollok went up the park to win a corner of their own. Mullen’s delivery was good and skipper Calum Gow broke free but he could only flick an effort wide of the post.

Largs levelled in the twenty third minute with a stunning goal as McLeod burst forward and from the bye-line cut it back for Lewis Davidson who smashed it into the top corner leaving Fry with no chance.

The game’s one moment of real controversy came in the thirty-sixth minute. Forde was fouled a few yards outside the box and Mullen stepped up to curl an absolute beauty round the wall and into the top corner. The referee awarded the goal, the players celebrated and the ball was returned to the centre circle. The Largs players then alerted the referee to the assistant with his flag up. After a discussion between the officials the decision was reached that it was no goal and a free kick to Largs. There was a fair bit of conjecture in the ground as to what it was disallowed for and the official line was that Christie had fouled McMaster as Mullen struck the ball.

Mullen celebrates, but his joy was short-lived following discussion between the officials.

HALF TIME: LARGS THISTLE 1 – 1 POLLOK

Pollok saw more possession in the second half and passed up a good opportunity on the break in the fiftieth minute. Grant Anderson did well to get free of his marker and briefly it was a three-on-three attack. His cross just lacked enough power though and was cut out.

Anderson breaking down the right.

Three minutes later however Pollok were back in the lead. Mullen hoisted the ball forward and a miscommunication in the Largs rear-guard saw the ball drop nicely for Forde. McKenzie was there in support and he made a clever run to generate room for Forde who made no mistake with an emphatic strike into the bottom corner.

Forde restores Pollok’s lead with a composed finish.

A minute later Largs had the ball in the net after a cross in from the right but the referee had already blown for a foul on Fry. With their next attack the home side put together the best move of the match with a series of passes which culminated in a good chance inside the box but Fry was out quickly to narrow the angle and the incoming shot missed the target. Wilton then had to produce a good save to deny McKenzie before Forde hit an effort wide. At the other end Fry was having to deal with a few crosses but was doing so expertly.

Pollok eventually secured the win with thirteen minutes to go as Burns won a header in the middle of the park and Ross Lindsay passed it to substitute Gallacher. He played an exquisite one-two with Forde before driving an assured left foot finish into the bottom corner.

Gallacher fires home to seal the points.

The Southsiders were then able to see out the match quite comfortably and could even have added to their goals when an overhead kick from lively substitute Evan Maley whistled over the bar.

Having missed a barrel load of chances the previous week, Pollok were a lot more clinical in tough conditions which made good football difficult. It was a merited three points in the end and a vastly improved performance from their last visit to Largs. The away support will have headed to Nardinis for a celebratory ice cream before the train back to Glasgow very happy with their team’s display.

It was happy travels to the seaside for the Pollok faithful and for Stewart Maxwell after last week’s disappointment.

 

FULL TIME: LARGS THISTLE 1 – 3 POLLOK

Scorers:

Largs Thistle: Davidson (23′)

Pollok: Christie (7′), Forde (53′), (77′)

 

MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Forde 

The forward continued his incredible form this season with a goal and two assists as yet again, he proved the decisive figure in a Pollok victory as he took his goal tally for the season to 24 with half the league season still to play!

 

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from Finlay Thom

 

FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARK DONNELLY

POST MATCH INTERVIEW WITH STEWART MAXWELL