Pollok 3 – 1 Hurlford United: 23rd March 2024

An anticipated quarter final tie away to Hurlford in the League Cup was quickly altered to a league game at home to Hurlford when the Blair Park pitch was declared unplayable, and it ended up being a comfortable afternoon for Pollok who cruised to a 3-1 win.

Not surprisingly given the results and performances at Darvel and Beith the manager opted for an unchanged starting eleven as the team looked to continue their recent upturn in form.

With thirteen seconds on the clock Forde was scythed down and the referee was quick to produce a yellow card – it wouldn’t be the last of the afternoon. From the free-kick Mullen skelped it into the face of McKenzie in the wall.

Hurlford were the first to have a shot on target but the low drive was comfortably saved by Longmuir. At the other end some intricate play in the box by Docherty and Mullen led to a shooting opportunity for Faulds with his effort looping just over the bar.

Longmuir had to fling himself to his right to push away a thunderous drive from outside the box in the fourteenth minute as Hurlford looked threatening on the break.

Longmuir makes a flying save at 0-0. (JG)

The home side were starting to dominate though and Forde beat the offside trap but the lobbed pass from Duncanson didn’t quite bounce right for him and the chance was gone. Main then won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Mullen curled this one round the wall but it was a comfortable save for the Ford keeper.

A body check on Docherty led to another yellow card and when Mullen curled in the free kick McGregor glanced a header towards the back post where it was blocked.

With twenty-five minutes gone the home side took a deserved lead. Main spread the ball out of a congested midfield to Mullen. He floated the ball over the Hurlford defence and Docherty timed his run to perfection. He then showed great composure to round the keeper and slot home.

Docherty rounds the keeper to open the scoring, and celebrates his sixth of the season. (JG)

 

After a dangerous break which saw Hurlford shoot just wide the Southsiders doubled their lead. Docherty did well to win a corner and when Mullen’s delivery was half cleared it was Forrester who went to retrieve. His cross back into the box was a thing of beauty and his defensive partner Gow was there to power home a header.

Gow heads home and celebrates with Mullen. (JG)

Main won another free kick on the edge of the box as Hurlford struggled to cope with his powerful runs. This time Forde touched it back to Mullen whose fierce drive was just off target. With five minutes to go until half time Forde nodded down for Docherty who sent a rasping volley inches wide of the post.

Mullen fires an effort just wide. (JG)

HALF TIME: POLLOK 2 – 0 HURLFORD UNITED

The second half started in the same fashion as the first half – with a yellow card for the away side. This time for a foul on Duncanson within two minutes of the restart. The free-kick was out on the touch line, so Mullen stepped up to curl one into the danger area. McGregor came closest to getting a touch but fortunately it was just out of his reach and the ball continued its’ journey unaided into the far corner.

Mullen’s next cross was from his more natural side and almost found the net as well – hitting the bar with the keeper well beaten. The next attack from Pollok was down the left and saw a superb Duncanson cross well defended at the back post to prevent Forde having a tap in. From the resultant corner Forrester headed straight at the keeper. Forde and Mullen then set up Docherty with some lovely football but he couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet and a defender was able to recover in time to block the shot.

Forrester rises well but his header is straight at the keeper. (KM)

A Hurlford shot from outside the box took a deflection and squirmed just past the post. From the corner the ball was headed on towards the back post but it was out of reach of the attacker’s outstretched leg.

A mass melee followed a foul on Faulds in the middle of the park and the yellow card count went up by three as the temperature of the match increased somewhat.

Scuffles galore following a foul on Faulds. (JG)

After Hurlford passed up another presentable opportunity with a free header nodded wide, Pollok came close to adding a fourth as wonderful Nelson cross was nicked off the toes of Docherty by some last gasp defending. From Mullen’s delivery the keeper pawed it away from under the bar. Gow headed it back across to Docherty whose header was cleared off the line.

Nelson’s cross is put behind for a corner just before it can reach Docherty at the back post. (JG)

The game ended on a low note for the home side. A simple ball into the channel was missed and a low cross was sent into the six-yard box. Forrester did well to block an initial shot but the attacker reacted swiftly to prod the ball sideways whilst lying on the ground to set his teammate up for a simple finish.

Hurlford pull one back with the last kick of the ball. (JG)

An entertaining game in which the home side played well and the referee got his yellow card count into double figures.

Pollok’s three goals took their tally for the season to ninety-nine. The attacking play has been a joy to watch at times and let’s hope there are a good few more goals to come before the end of the season.

 

FULL TIME: POLLOK 3 – 1 HURLFORD UNITED

Goals: Pollok – Docherty (25′), Gow (33′), Mullen (33′)

Man of the Match: Stephen Docherty

Opened the scoring with his sixth Pollok goal since returning from loan in February – one more than his tally all of last season. A player transformed, he was a constant threat running at the defence all game, and took his goal exceptionally well. (JG)

 

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham & Katie McGough (Featured photo)