Beith 1 – 1 Pollok: 16th March 2024

Following an impressive midweek win in East Ayrshire Pollok headed to North Ayrshire for match day twenty-two of the West of Scotland Premier Division and a game with Beith, who are well in with a shot of retaining their title.

Pollok captain Calum Gow won the toss and elected to shoot up the slope in the first half. Beith piled on some early pressure and missed a wonderful chance from a corner when a free header was glanced wide. Pollok’s first opening came when Gow knocked down a Scott Forrester header into the box and Adam Forde laid it off to Luke Main, but his shot from eighteen yards was sliced and went wide.

The home side took the lead from the penalty spot in the seventh minute. Lee Duncanson was in the process of clearing the ball, but when Diver attempted to block the clearance, the Pollok full back caught him. The referee adjudged it to be a foul and former Lok hero Carlo Monti did the rest with a perfect penalty into the bottom corner.

Monti opens the scoring from the spot.

Beith remained on top and after a narrow escape for Pollok when a low cross from the right took a nick and evaded everyone Mason then had a low drive from outside the box which Longmuir was firmly behind. Pollok were beginning to get a foothold in the game however, and Duncanson saw an effort from distance go a foot or so over the bar.

Just before the half hour mark the Southsiders equalised. After Beith failed to clear a Mullen free-kick there was a bit of head tennis, and when the ball returned to ground level, Main mishit a shot which turned into a wonderful assist for Forrester who took a touch and applied a composed finish for this third goal of the season.

McGregor clears with Longmuir beaten.

Forde then won and took a free-kick twenty-five yards out, which appeared to have Stott beaten but went inches wide of the post. Pollok were taking the game to the champions and a quick break from a Beith corner saw a ball in by McGregor laid back to Docherty whose low strike was bravely blocked. On the stroke of half time Mullen whipped in a cross from the goal-line which Stott gathered at the second attempt.

HALF TIME: BEITH 1 – 1 POLLOK

Pollok started the second half on top territorially, although Beith were a constant threat on the break. An audacious Forde effort from forty-five yards must have had Stott worried for a second or two until it dipped too late and went over the bar with the keeper stranded. He was forced into action a few minutes later when he made a wonderful diving save to palm away a Mullen piledriver.

Mullen forces a fine save with a blistering effort from distance.

A minute later Monti picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and played an inch perfect pass through to Driver. He lofted the ball over the out-rushing Longmuir but it went over the bar.

Diver passes up a glaring opportunity to give Beith the lead again.

The game was now end to end and Docherty got some room down the left. He cut inside and his low shot took a nick off a defender to go narrowly wide. With sixty-five minutes gone Faulds brilliantly re-won possession after his initial mis-placed pass and found Forde. He slipped it on to Mullen whose angled drive rose over the bar.

Docherty’s effort is blocked on its way to the bottom corner.

Beith saw a couple of headed chances put wide before Diver was again given a sight of goal. He lobbed Longmuir but McGregor was on hand to clear although the ball may have been hitting the post. A minute later the home side put together a nice move which resulted in a dangerous cross and a downward header but Longmuir produced a smart stop. At the other end a Main stinger from thirty yards was tipped over by Stott.

McGregor clears with Longmuir beaten.
Main tests Stott from range.

The teams then exchanged off target efforts from the edge of the box – Nelson for Pollok and Frize for Beith. With the game heading into injury time a Pollok corner was taken short before Nelson curled it in. Duff’s header was spectacularly tipped on to the inside of the post by Stott before Kerr headed the rebound just wide. From the resultant goal-kick Beith launched it up the park and Diver got another sight of goal but this time he was denied by Longmuir’s right boot.

After Duff’s effort was topped onto the post, Kerr headed wide.

A tremendous performance from Pollok and a tremendous advert for the West of Scotland Premier Division. It had been two teams going at each other hammer and tongs for ninety minutes. That the game finished 1-1 rather than 4-4 was down to a little bit of bad luck and a lot of good goalkeeping at both ends.

FULL TIME: BEITH 1 – 1 POLLOK

Goals: Beith: Monti (p)(7′) Pollok: Forrester (29′)

POLLOK MAN OF THE MATCH: SCOTT FORRESTER

Yet another standout performance from the stopper who was dominant and composed in both penalty areas, as exemplified by an equalising goal that any striker would be proud of.

 

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photos from James Graham