Pollok 3 – 2 Gartcairn: 13th April 2024

Seven weeks after meeting Gartcairn for the first ever time in the West of Scotland League Cup Pollok played host to the Airdrie based side in a first ever league meeting between the sides. While this one was a tighter affair, the Lok again emerged triumphant thanks to goals from Stephen Docherty, Lee Duncanson and Luke Main.

Maxi made one change to the starting line-up from the trip to Beechwood the previous Saturday. Jay Nelson came in for Ryan McGregor, which meant a positional change with Jamie Henry dropping into the centre of the defence.

A minute of applause was held for supporter John Falconer who recently passed away. (JG)

After an emotional and heartfelt minute’s applause for supporter John Falconer, the match got underway in dry but blustery conditions. It was end to end fare to start with as Nelson just failed to turn his marker after a superb pass forward by Henry. Gartcairn broke quickly to the other end and after good hold-up play by Mark McGuigan, a cross from the left found Smith but he ballooned a great chance over the bar.

Adam Forde then managed the first shot on target which bounced awkwardly and came back off the keeper’s chest. And to complete a blistering opening five minutes, Jordan Longmuir had to be sharp off his line to block with his feet as the away side threatened once again.

With seven minutes gone, a failed corner from Pollok eventually came to Forde on the edge of the box. His curler looked destined for the top corner until Pirie made an outstanding save to touch it over the bar. From the resultant corner Scott Forrester send a drive just wide.

After former Lok player Kenny Barr saw an effort deflected wide, another former Lok man had a moment to forget. Kamil Krol was bringing the ball out of defence, but his misplaced pass was intercepted by Nelson. Main was a touch heavy with his pass back into Nelson which forced him wide but it worked out well for the home side as his low cross was slotted home by Docherty. There was fourteen minutes on the clock and it was a surprise the opening goal had taken that long given the attacking play of both sides.

Docherty celebrates another opening goal against his former club. (KM/JG)

After McGuigan looped a header over the bar Gartcairn, equalised with their next attack. Some nice passing ended with a flick into the box which looked to have been over-hit but the ball spun to a halt and with the Pollok rearguard on their heels Smith nipped in to apply a cool finish past Longmuir.

Smith levels the match. (JG)

Pollok retook the lead in their next attack from an unlikely source. After some nice passing and probing through the midfield Duncanson tried to play in Docherty down the wing. The pass was blocked but fell back to Duncanson who beat his man and strode into the space. He looked up and placed a beautiful right-foot shot into the bottom corner from outside the box for his first Pollok goal.

Duncanson opens his Pollok account in style. (JG)

After Forde found the side netting from a low Fraser Mullen cross Docherty had a good chance from a brilliant pass from Main. His shot beat the keeper but went inches wide of the far post. An entertaining first half came to a close with the home side a goal to the good.

HALF TIME: POLLOK 2 – 1 GARTCAIRN

The Southsiders came out from the break intent on increasing their lead. A great switch of play by Faulds was followed by a cute pass into the box by Mullen. Main gathered and turned but his low drive was superbly blocked by Rumsby. The next opportunity arrived minutes later when Forde played in his strike partner Docherty. He cut inside a couple of defenders and laid it off to Nelson whose curling effort went just over the bar. At the other end an out-swinging corner was met with a good shot which Longmuir was forced to tip over with an outstretched hand.

Longmuir makes a fine save. (JG)

A superb bit of interplay in the middle of the park between Duncanson, Forde and Main saw the midfielder drive to the edge of the box before shooting. Pirie was at full stretch to touch it round the post. The chances were coming thick and fast now. Forde latched out to a slack pass and sipped it inside to Docherty whose low shot was saved.

Just before the hour mark Gartcairn equalised with a similar goal to Pollok’s first. The ball was given away by Burns with a misplaced pass and Gartcairn were in down the right. A good cross was expertly headed home by McGuigan. Pollok responded to this setback by going in search of a third goal. Forde whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the right which evaded everyone and went inches wide of the far post.

Main gets within inches of a goal at the back post. (JG)

In seventy-two minutes the home side took the lead for the third time. A Duncanson cross was punched away by Pirie under pressure from Forde. The ball fell to Main at the edge of the box and he coolly rifled home a well-struck volley.

Main celebrates restoring Pollok’s lead. (KM)

Substitute Maley then saw a dangerous cross headed behind before the resultant corner led to Forde heading just over. From Gartcairn’s next corner there was a heart in the mouth moment for the home support as a bit of pinball in the six-yard box caused panic. Fortunately the ball ended up safely in Longmuir’s arms.

Pollok could have extended their lead first when a quick break from Maley ended with a Main shot from the edge of the box and then a Longmuir punt caused panic in the Gartcairn defence and Gallacher nipped in to round the keeper but his shot was cleared off the line.

Gallacher got away from the keeper, but his shot was blocked on the line. (KM)

 

FULL TIME: POLLOK 3 – 2 GARTCAIRN

Goals

Pollok: Docherty (14′), Duncanson (24′), Main (72′)

Gartcairn: Smith (18′), McGuigan (72′)

 

Man of the Match: Luke Main

On the day he extended his stay at Newlandsfield into next season, he reminded the faithful of what he can do. Another display characterised by energy, tough tackling and no end of technical class, as exemplified by a winning goal, where he made a difficult finish look easy. (JG)

Attendance: 532

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham and Katie McGough

 

Full match highlights from Mark Donnelly:

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell: