Hurlford United 1 – 2 Pollok: 30th March 2024

After a week’s delay Pollok travelled to Blair Park to take on Hurlford in the quarter final of the West of Scotland League Cup, and it was Pollok who progressed to face Auchinleck Talbot at Beechwood next week after a hard-fought win against ten men.

Maxi was forced into two changes from the side which had beaten Hurlford convincingly the previous Saturday, with Sean Burns coming in to replace the injured Calum Gow in the heart of defence and Jay Nelson taking the place of the suspended Kyle Faulds in the midfield.

Pollok trotted out on to an impressive Blair Park surface having scored ninety-nine goals this season. The wait for goal number one hundred was to prove a short one. Some nice work by Forde and Nelson on the right saw the ball fizzed into Main. His quick turn and low shot saw Wilson tip the ball wide at his near post.

Main brings out a save at the near post.

Mullen’s corner was only half cleared and some intricate play by Mullen, Nelson and Main set up the latter for another shooting chance. This time he shot across goal rather than for the near post and an outstretched Forde boot deflected it to Mcgregor who deflected it into the net with only four minutes on the clock.

McGregor opens the scoring from close range with his eighth of the season.

Hurlford were almost back on level terms immediately. A poor kick out from Wilson worked out well and a lovely flick and pass put Morrison through. From the edge of the box he let fly and was unlucky to see it come crashing back off the bar after a fine finger tip save from Jordan Longmuir.

Wilson almost gifted the visitors a second goal when a Jamie Henry header from outside the box was allowed to squirm through his legs. He managed to retrieve the ball just before it squirmed over the line.

Almost a disaster for Wilson who eventually gathers Henry’s header on the line.

The Southsiders were dominating the opening period and when Docherty was brought down in a threatening position, ,Forde curled the free-kick over the wall and inches wide of the post.

Forde hits a free kick just wide of the post.

A second goal for Pollok duly arrived in the nineteenth minute and what a goal it was. A Hurlford attack was broken up and a sharp passing move began. Nelson to Main to Forde to Nelson and then a sweeping pass out to Docherty on the wing. He made half a yard and sent in a low cross to the near post where Forde was on hand to apply a predator’s finish.

Docherty crosses for Forde…..
…who wheels off in celebration after finishing at the near post.

In the twenty-sixth minute Hurlford got a sight of goal after a lovely through ball by Morrison, but Hughes could only toe-poke it goalwards and Longmuir was able to gather comfortably.

Despair for Hurlford as they spurn a good opportunity to halve the deficit.

Another quick break by Pollok in the thirty-fourth minute saw a pass from Burns into Forde and then a first-time ball out to Docherty sliced open the Hurlford rearguard. When Docherty cut inside for a shot at goal he was clipped by Anderson who received a straight red card. Mullen thundered the resulting free-kick straight into the wall.

Docherty is brought down, and Anderson sees red for the challenge.

With a couple of minutes to go until half-time the ever-alert Forde latched on to a mistake in the centre of the Hurlford defence and picked out an incisive pass to his strike partner. Docherty opted to side foot his shot and it agonisingly found the side netting.

HURLFORD UNITED 0 – 2 POLLOK

Those who thought the ten men would opt for damage limitation in the second half were wrong. A half chance at either end – Hurlford’s sliced wide, and Docherty for Pollok’s saved by the keeper’s legs – set the tone for the remainder of the match.

As the hour mark approached a good passing move from the away side ended in a blocked shot by Nelson and moments later Morrison worked room for a shot from the edge of the box which Longmuir was well positioned to deal with.

A sloppy back pass gifted Hurlford a corner in the sixty-third minute. They worked it short before floating in a cross for the unmarked Frew to head home. There will be a number of players in the Pollok defence who will feel they could have done better.

An unmarked Frew halves the deficit.

The home crowd were now sensing an improbable comeback. Hughes was presented with another good chance after hard work by Morrison but he sliced the ball wide of goal.

With fifteen minutes to goal Pollok almost sealed it. Forrester brought the ball out of defence and fed Forde. His pass in behind was well weighted for Docherty and forced the Hurlford defender to bring him down. Forde took the free-kick again, and this time saw it rebound off the bar.

Hurlford were keeping the pressure up on the Lok’s defence without really troubling Longmuir. And with seven minutes to go they were presented with a golden chance. Morrison was tussling with McGregor after a flick on into the box. The ball broke kindly for substitute Watt who side-footed it inches over the bar.

In the closing minutes both sides had efforts from outside the box – Hurlford’s off target and Maley’s thunderbolt beaten away by a well-positioned Wilson.

A strong Maley effort was beaten away from the keeper as the minutes ebbed away.

So Pollok marched on to the semi-final on the back of an excellent first half performance. Although the performance level may have dropped in the second half, the work-rate and commitment never did in an engrossing cup-tie.

FULL TIME: HURLFORD UNITED 1 – 2 POLLOK

Goals

Hurlford: Frew (63′)

Pollok: McGregor (4′), Forde (18′)

 

Man of the Match: Adam Forde

Hit thirty goals for the season as he finished off a flowing Pollok move to double his side’s lead but his shift as a playmaker today was what really caught the eye and highlighted the depth of his quality. He dropped back regularly and played several killer through balls for strike partner Docherty to terrorise the defence, and he also rattled the crossbar with a free kick in the second half.

 

Match report from Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham