Clydebank 1 – 0 Pollok: 27th January 2024

Pollok fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to league leaders Clydebank as a second half stunner from Ciaran Mulcahy secured the points for the hosts. Manager Stewart Maxwell made two changes from the previous week’s win over Largs with Grant Anderson and Darren Christie dropping to the bench to be replaced by Ryan McGregor and Andy Gallacher.

Holm Park paused to remember two recently passed Bankies supporters before the match.

The game kicked off in bright, blustery conditions and neither team settled quickly into a pattern of play. Clydebank were the dominant team in terms of possession and territory but they weren’t creating too many clear-cut chances against a well drilled Pollok defence. The home side were restricted to a series of long-range efforts with only Slattery keeping his on target but Ben Fry was able to save comfortably. With just over twenty minutes gone the referee became the main focus of attention as he produced four yellow cards in the space of seven minutes. He would brandish a further four before the ninety minutes were out in a game that was physical but not nasty.

Liam McGonigle challenged the referee to book him, and the official obliged.

Pollok’s one piece of real attacking intent in the first half saw Gallacher and Adam Forde combine well down the left and the young winger drive towards goal before finding the side netting with a low drive.

Gallacher’s effort hit the side netting.

HALF TIME: CLYDEBANK 0 – 0 POLLOK

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with little in the way of goalmouth incident until the 63rd minute when the home side broke the deadlock. After some patient build up play, the ball was played out to the right wing. Slattery had time to measure his cross and he picked out Liam McGonigle whose header crashed back off the bar. Ciaran Mulcahy met the rebound with a stunning overhead kick which gave Fry no chance.

Mulcahy opens the scoring in stunning fashion.

Clydebank quickly set about extending their lead and after a good cutback Little could only hit it straight at Fry with a powerful drive from the edge of the box. At the other end McKenzie found himself in some space in the home side’s box but from a tight angle couldn’t keep his shot on target.

McKenzie fires wide.

The league leaders then had a wonderful chance to double their lead. Gallacher was played through the middle and went round Fry. He must have thought he was scoring as he rolled the ball towards the empty net but Forrester slid in to make a last gasp, goal saving interception, wiping out an unsuspecting Clydebank substitute behind the goals in the process.

Ben Fry’s handling was excellent, and a fine save kept the score at 1-0.

Forde then saw a good effort whistle past the post before Fry was forced into a fingertip save to keep Pollok’s chances alive. Although the away side saw more of the ball in the latter stages goal scoring chances were few and far between. The last effort of the game being another Forde shot from outside the box which was deflected away for a corner.

As the final whistle went any faint hopes of a title challenge from Pollok became much fainter. For Clydebank, the good news kept on coming with Beith’s defeat at home to Cumnock setting up a mouth-watering next match between the champions and the league leaders which could go a long way to determining the destination of this season’s title. For Pollok, the focus will turn to the cup competitions, starting with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the South Challenge on Saturday.

FULL TIME: CLYDEBANK 1 – 0 POLLOK

Goal: Mulcahy (63′)

Report from Peter Thomson

Photos from James Graham

Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell: