Gartcairn 2 – 4 Pollok: 20th April 2024

Pollok travelled to MTC Park for the first time to take on a Gartcairn side they had met twice recently at Newlandsfield and they inflicted a third defeat on the Airdrie side in a hard-fought 4-2 victory.

Spring had finally arrived and the players took to the pitch in bright sunshine, and the home side were the first to threaten with a good move down the right, but when the low cross was met with a shot it went over the bar and cleared the fence. Pollok’s first attempt on target led to the game’s opening goal. A Mullen free-kick from twenty-two yards out swerved round the wall and into the net. Pirie in goal having taken that fatal small step in the wrong direction.

The away side’s next shot on goal was a dipping, swerving strike from Maley which went just over the bar. Gartcairn then equalised in the seventeenth minute when a move involving more than twenty passes culminated in a well weighted through ball which Smith fired into the bottom corner.

Forrester had to head away two dangerous crosses in quick succession before the ball was delivered in for a third time. McGuigan got his head to it but glanced it wide of the far post. Smith then passed up a very presentable opportunity after a quick counter-attack by the home side. From the edge of the box he curled it wide of goal.

Forrester was handling the aerial threat of Mark McGuigan well in the first half.

Pollok retook the lead from the penalty spot. A long ball saw Duncanson put the Gartcairn defence under pressure and forced a misplaced header. Docherty was on to in a flash and having got to the ball first was taken out by Pirie. It was an easy decision for the referee. Main stepped up and coolly slotted home from twelve yards with four minutes to go to half-time.

Luke Main puts Pollok in front again from the spot.

Pollok threatened to increase their lead before the interval with a Main header from a corner and a Mullen free-kick going over the bar although it had been a fairly even first half.

HALF TIME: GARTCAIRN 1 – 2 POLLOK

Into the second half and Gartcairn produced another beautiful passing move after Pollok almost got clean through. The ball was played out to the left and a tempting cross curled over. McGuigan’s header was a good one and Longmuir had to stretch to tip it over the bar.

Longmuir tips over a McGuigan header.

After a good attack led by Docherty and followed up by Main and Gallacher it looked like Gartcairn had dealt with the danger but the ball was swung back into the box. Nelson had made a great run and looped his header over the keeper but also just over the bar.

Nelson headed over the bar as Pollok sought to double their lead.

Gartcairn found an equaliser in the seventy-first minute. The ball was played back to McShane at the edge of the box. His low curler was saved by Longmuir but he couldn’t hold it and McGuigan was on hand to knock home the rebound.

No one would have been too critical if both teams had settled for a draw at this point but both continued to attack. Pollok saw a couple of attempts blocked and then from a Duncanson cross, panic ensued in the home defence before Main drove an angled shot just wide. Pollok took the lead for a third time with five minutes to go. An inswinging Mullen corner was heading for the back post when Dunlop headed into his own goal whilst trying to head out of play.

Former Pollok defender Ross Dunlop restores the visitor’s lead with an own goal.

The icing on the cake came three minutes into injury time when Docherty superbly controlled a long ball out of defence by Burns and then used his pace to get away from the Gartcairn defence. His finish from a tight angle left Pirie with no chance and sealed the points for the away side.

Another very solid performance on the road from Pollok as they continued their impressive recent run of form. The Southsiders rose to third in the league table as the loyal fans got to tick off a new ground they had seen their favourites play, and win, at.

FULL TIME: GARTCAIRN 2 – 4 POLLOK

Man of the Match: Stephen Docherty

Another tireless performance from the forward, who rounded off the win with an impressive finish at the end of a strong run in injury time.

 

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photos from Katie McGough