Category: match reports

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:

Auchinleck Talbot 2 – 2 Pollok (2-4 on penalties): 6th April 2024

For the second Saturday in a row Pollok headed to East Ayrshire on West of Scotland League Cup duty. After the narrow quarter final win over Hurlford the reward was a daunting semi-final with in-form Auchinleck Talbot, and it was the visitors who triumphed in a dramatic afternoon at Beechwood as Stewart Maxwell’s side took Pollok into their first final since 2018, triumphing 4-2 on penalties.

Maxi made one change to the starting line with Kyle Faulds returning from the suspensionn that ruled him out last week in place of Jay Nelson. The use of wingbacks and three centre halves now firmly established as the preferred formation.

On a day of pitch inspections and postponements the Beechwood Park pitch was in good order although a fierce wind was blowing – which had a real impact on the play. Jordan Longmuir was the first keeper called into action when he had to push a long-range drive round the post. At the other end, Stephen Docherty saw a shot go wide after Adam Forde had laid a Sean Burns free-kick back to him.

Docherty’s next chance was a great one, as a kick out by Longmuir was flicked on by Forde and Docherty was on to it in a flash. He took it round the keeper and passed it goalwards only to see it cleared by some brilliant defensive work. A swirling Talbot corner caused a moment of concern at the back post for the away side but after a bit of head tennis the Talbot shot was comfortably saved by Longmuir.

Neither team had full control of the game and a Fraser Mullen free-kick resulted in a header from Burns which was saved by Glavin. The opening goal arrived in the twenty-second minute after some patient Pollok build up play. A Ryan McGregor cross into the box saw Luke Main challenge for the ball, with his header deflected into the path of Docherty, and his right foot strike evaded the diving Glavin and put the Southsiders one up.

The ball rolls over the line for the opening goal, and Docherty celebrates.

Auchinleck went in search of an equaliser and saw a corner cleared off the line by Forrester before a good cross in from the right was headed over the bar. A McPherson hand to the face of Main rather bizarrely saw both players yellow carded.

McPherson raises a hand to Main, and both players are booked.

HALF TIME: AUCHINLECK TALBOT 0 – 1 POLLOK

The turnaround at half time meant both sets of players had to adjust to the wind doing the opposite to the ball from what they had become accustomed to in the previous forty-five minutes. And it was most definitely the home side who adjusted quicker. Straight from the kick-off the Pollok rear-guard were pinned back and when space was created in the box, McAvoy found the bottom corner with a neat finish.

With Mullen appealing in vain for a free-kick on the edge of the Talbot box the home side produced a slick move down the left which ended in Longmuir blocking a shot at his near post. From the corner he was forced into action again to grasp a header. Talbot’s next quick break should have seen them take the lead. Longmuir did well to block a one on one but when the ball broke back to the attacker he could only loft it over the open goal.

Longmuir was now by far the busier keeper and having tipped a long-range drive over the bar he had to get down quickly to push away a header from the corner. There was nothing he could do in the 55th minute however, when a low cross was smashed into the roof of the net by McAvoy.

The away side’s hopes of progressing were further reduced when Forrester was sent off in the 64th minute for two yellow cards in quick succession, but the ten men did not let their heads drop.

Forrester is given his marching orders.

A Forde free-kick over the bar was followed by a Faulds drive which was well saved showed Pollok remained an attacking threat. With twelve minutes to go that threat produced a goal. A long-range strike from Mullen was blocked and Main pounced on the loose ball, steadied himself and slotted a finish into the bottom corner.

Main levels the match with an assured finish.

Both teams had chances to win a pulsating cup tie within the ninety minutes but neither team could find the target and so it was on to penalty kicks. Pollok went first and Mullen sent Glavin the wrong way. Talbot responded with a thumping strike right down the middle.

Mullen got Pollok off the mark with the opening penalty.

After Gallacher restored Pollok’s lead with a beauty into the top corner the drama was heightened a notch when Longmuir saved with his feet. However the referee ordered a retake as the ball had moved in the strong wind. Smith’s second attempt was also saved by Longmuir. McGregor coolly stepped up and sent Glavin the wrong way to keep the momentum with Pollok before Talbot found the bottom corner with their next one to stay in touch.

Gallacher and McGregor both find the top corner.

Longmuir saves the retake from Smith.

Pollok’s fourth penalty was skied over the bar by Forde before Longmuir made a smart low stop to set up a winning opportunity for the away side. It was fitting that Main had the last say as he slotted his penalty low to the keeper’s right to seal Pollok’s place in the final. Longmuir and Main were the stars on a day when there were few failures.

It had been another performance of grit and determination allied to no little skill and a never say die attitude. A poor first ten minutes of the second half had almost cost them their chance but they dug deep to ensure that a cup tie that could have gone either way went theirs. After wins on the road against Petershill, Clydebank, Hurlford and Auchinleck as well as a home win over Gartcairn it is a thoroughly merited place in the final for Maxi and the boys. One for the large and jubilant travelling support to look forward to.

FULL TIME: AUCHINLECK TALBOT 2 – 2 POLLOK

(Pollok win 4-2 on penalties)

 

GOALS:

Auchinleck Talbot: McAvoy (46′, 55′)

Pollok: Docherty (22′), Main (78′)

 

Man of the Match: Jordan Longmuir

Well into his tenth season at the club, the stopper continues to turn up when it truly matters for Pollok. Two saves today made it five shootout saves this season, following similarly crucial interventions against Benburb and Clydebank. In his testimonial year, he remains a match winner, and further cements his status as a Pollok legend.

 

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from Katie McGough

 

Match highlights from Mark Donnelly

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

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)

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

 

Pollok 2 – 3 St Cadoc’s YC: 9th March 2024

Pollok welcomed St Cadocs to Newlandsfield for match day twenty of the West of Scotland Premier Division. Having lost to St Cadocs in the cup last season and in the reverse league fixture in November the home side were looking for a first ever win over their opponents.

Maxi made three changes from the win over Arthurlie, with Luke Main, Jamie Henry and Andy Gallacher coming in for Ross Lindsay, Chris Duff and Evan Maley.

The away side were first to threaten when McManus got the better of Duncanson and whipped in a dangerous cross which Longmuir did well to scoop away. Pollok responded with a beautifully struck long-range effort from Docherty which whistled past the post.

The Southsiders passed up the first really good chance in the twelfth minute. Good work by Henry was followed up by Main who floated in a cross. It reached Gallacher at the far post who controlled it nicely but didn’t quite manage a clean connection on his shot which went just wide.

A good passing move started by Longmuir ended with the ball dropping to Main on the edge of the box. His volley went wide. Pollok were building up some momentum.

And they took a deserved lead in the seventeenth minute. Gallacher – who was looking threatening – was hauled down as he made progress down the left wing. Mullen swung in the free kick and Gow rose highest to glance the ball into the corner of the net.

Gow forces the ball in from close-range. (JG)

McLaughlin had a shot well blocked by Forrester before Mullen saw a drive go just wide. The action continued at both ends in a frantic five minute spell which changed the course of the game.

A Mullen free kick from deep was headed across goal where Henry produced a tremendous overhead kick which was cleared off the line. After Gow tried to get a head to the ball it fell again to Henry who drove it goalwards and forced Currie into a fantastic stop. The rebound fell to Forde whose well struck shot was once again cleared off the line. It had been an incredibly fortunate escape for St Cadocs who burst up the park and saw a Hughes effort saved by Longmuir.

The Cart End was almost treeated to a third overhead kick off the season but Henry’s effort was blocked on the line. (KM)

Pollok then went straight back down the other end and Currie had to produce a superb reaction save to prevent an own goal. When the game swung back towards Longmuir’s goal the away side found an equaliser. A long ball had the Pollok rearguard looking in vain for an offside flag and a very neat one two between Brady and McLaughlin saw the latter through on goal and he coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

St Cadoc’s levelled on the brink of half-time. (JG)

HALF TIME: POLLOK 1 – 1 ST CADOC’S YC

Shooting up the slope in the second half the home side seemed to lose their fluency and the chances dried up. After a misplaced Faulds pass Longmuir did well to block a shot with his feet.

The away side took the lead in the sixty-fifth minute. Good play by McTaggart dragged Gow out of the centre of defence. When his low cross came in Forrester’s clearance hit off the unfortunate Mullen and trundled into the corner of the net.

A Mullen OG gave SCYC the lead. (JG)

Whilst that own goal could have been put down to bad luck the second own goal of the afternoon will give the Pollok rearguard nightmares. McLaughlin was allowed to wriggle his way into the box before squaring to McTaggart. His shot from eight yards appeared to be going wide but was blocked by Duncanson who then got his feet in a tangle. This allowed McTaggart to get a tackle in which sent the ball rolling towards the goal. Forrester slid in to clear but only managed to hit the ball off Longmuir and over the line. With seventy-six minutes on the clock it left Pollok with a mountain to climb.

Another OG doubled the visitors’ lead, this time from Longmuir. (JG)

After St Cadocs missed a couple of presentable opportunities to increase their lead the home side did manage to produce a rousing finish as they looked to rescue a point. After a Forde cross was just too high for Main they halved the deficit with three minutes to go. Good running by Docherty got him to the bye line. He passed back to Lindsay whose curling cross found Hugh Kerr and he headed it into the top corner with some aplomb.

Kerr halved the deficit late on. (JG)

The last few minutes saw the away side defending for their lives and both McGregor and Gow had shots blocked as Pollok couldn’t generate the clear cut chance they needed in a crowded box.

PO

So Pollok still await a first win over St Cadoc’s after three attempts. They will rue missed chances in an encouraging opening period and the late flurry fell just short of gaining a draw. On a cold day it had been an entertaining game but definitely one to be filed in the missed opportunity category.

FULL TIME: POLLOK 2 – 3 ST CADOC’S YC

Goals

Pollok: Gow (17′), Kerr (87′)

St Cadoc’s: McLaughlin (37′), Mullen OG *65′), Longmuir OG (76′)

Attendance: 597 (Photo: Ronnie Kane)

Match Report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham, Katie McGough & Ronnie Kane

 

 

 

 

Pollok 3 – 1 Arthurlie: 2nd March 2024

Match day nineteen of the West of Scotland Premier Division saw Pollok welcome local rivals Arthurlie to Newlandsfield just two weeks on from a two-all draw at Dunterlie Park in the reverse fixture, and this time they were able to secure the three points thanks to another two goals from Stephen Docherty and one from Adam Forde.

Pollok made one change from the impressive cup win over Gartcairn with Ross Lindsay replacing Jamie Henry in the middle of the park.

The opening period of the game was extremely bitty. Misplaced passes and niggly fouls predominated and whilst Arthurlie settled quicker, they did not threaten Jordan Longmuir’s goal.

The first decent bit of play did not arrive until the eighteenth minute when Longmuir rolled the ball out to Kyle Faulds and he played a long pass to Evan Maley. His first touch was superb and he slipped Docherty in down the right. His cross was gathered by Black at the second attempt.

Five minutes later, Forde managed the game’s first attempt on target. Chris Duff won a header and Forde had a go on the turn from twenty yards but Black saved comfortably. The home side were just beginning to get out of first gear and a Fraser Mullen free-kick into the box found its way to Scott Forrester beyond the back post. He produced a wonderful nutmeg before cutting back to Duff whose goal-bound shot was blocked.

With five minutes to go until half time Lindsay picked out a beautiful pass to Docherty who fired a shot from just inside the box off the bar. Pollok now had some momentum.

Docherty nearly opened the scoring, but his shot came back off the bar. (JG)

With forty-three minutes on the clock a Mullen throw-in found Faulds. As he tried to turn his marker he went over but managed to stab the ball forward as he fell. The Arthurlie defence hoped it was going to make it into Black’s hands and stood still. Docherty however was on the move and nipped in to take the ball round the stranded keeper and slot home from a tight angle. It hadn’t been a great half of football but the better team were in the lead.

Docherty gets his goal on the stroke of half-time. (KM/JG)
Jubilation on the terraces as Pollok take the lead. (KM)

HALF TIME: POLLOK 1 – 0 ARTHURLIE

The second half was to prove more entertaining. Arthurlie showed more attacking intent and Pollok played better. Another good forward pass from Faulds found half-time substitute Andy Gallacher – his first touch was sublime and having beat a man picked out Docherty with a low cross, but his goal-bound shot was blocked.

There was to be no blocking his next attempt in the fifty-seventh minute. Forde hooked the ball over his head from a throw down the touchline. There didn’t appear to be any danger until a bit of mis-control by the Arthurlie defence. Docherty was on to the mistake in a flash and running in on goal. He showed all the confidence and composure you would expect of a man in form and coolly slotted past Black to double the home side’s lead.

Docherty doubles the lead, and celebrates. (JG/KM)

Docherty was taken off as part of a triple substitution and received a rapturous ovation from the home support. He has scored four goals in a little over one hundred and sixty minutes on the pitch since his return from his loan at Gartcairn.

St Johnstone loanee Kodi McKinstray came off the bench for his competitive Pollok debut. (JG)

With just under twenty minutes to go Arthurlie found themselves back in the game. A free-kick from the left touchline was curled in and Bolger flicked it into the far corner of the net.

Bolger halves the deficit. (JG)

There was to be no dramatic comeback however. Instead the Southsiders upped the pace. Good work by Nelson allowed Faulds to play the ball into Kerr who played it out to Gallacher. He cut inside and curled his shot just wide of the post. A couple of minutes later the two-goal lead was restored. Kerr flicked on a Lee Duncanson throw for Forde. He worked his way expertly past a couple of defenders before a break of the ball fell to his right foot. He made no mistake with an unerring finish. All three goals had come from moves started with throw-ins.

Forde beating the defenders before finishing. (JG)

Pollok could have extended the margin of victory in the final ten minutes. A Gallacher strike was deflected over the bar and from the corner Forrester headed against the outside of the post. A flowing move from box to box involving Forrester, Jay Nelson, Hugh Kerr and Gallacher ended with Luke Main’s shot beating the keeper and taking the efforts of two Arthurlie defenders on the line to prevent a fourth goal for the home side. Kerr then had a good effort from outside the box tipped round the post by Black after great midfield work by Main.

Main came close as the clock ticked towards 90. (JG)

A solid all-round performance by the Lok – which got better and better as the game wore on – saw them take a deserved three points in front of a healthy crowd of 888. For Arthurlie the next two home games could prove crucial in their bid to avoid relegation as they are then faced with a very tough looking run of five away fixtures.

FULL TIME: POLLOK 3 – 1 ARTHURLIE

Pollok: Docherty (43, 57′) Forde (77′)

Arthurlie: Bolger (72′)

MAN OF THE MATCH: STEPHEN DOCHERTY

It was another tremendous performance from the in-form striker who never stopped running, as he terrorised the Arthurlie defence throughout and was rewarded with two fine goals. (KM)

 

Attendance: 888 (JG)

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham & Katie McGough

Pollok 3 – 0 Gartcairn: 24th February 2024

The fourth round of the Indigo Comms West of Scotland League Cup saw Pollok progress against a strong Gartcairn side in a first ever meeting between the two sides thanks to goals from Scott Forrester, Stephen Docherty and the ever-reliable Adam Forde.

Having received a bye in the first round, Pollok had overcome Petershill and Clydebank away from home to reach this stage. The Airdrie side also got a bye in the first round and went on to dispatch East Kilbride Thistle and St Cadoc’s in subsequent rounds. Maxi made two changes from the starting eleven who drew with Arthurlie, with Docherty and Evan Maley coming in for Hugh Kerr and Luke Main who dropped to the bench.

Young Pollok fans bringing the noise before kick off. (FT/JG)

The home side were shooting down the slope with the pitch looking excellent in the early spring sunshine. Their first attack saw Duncanson cross from the left and it found its way to Maley who fired goalwards. Russell did well to push it round the post. From the corner the ball was cleared to the edge of the box and Maley volleyed just wide.

Evan Maley had two good chances early on in the match. (JG)

With just over ten minutes on the clock, a Fraser Mullen free-kick was cleared to Lee Duncanson whose long ball found its way to Forrester. He tried a pass inside to Forde but it was rebuffed so instead he took on the right winger role and beat the full-back before sliding the ball along the six-yard box. Some good defending saw the ball blocked but it came back out to Forrester who coolly slotted home from a tight angle.

Forrester celebrates his opening goal. (JG)

After further on target efforts from Mullen and Forde were saved by Russell, Gartcairn managed their first attempt on target in the seventeenth minute. Forrester made a rare slip allowing McGuigan to cut inside and shoot. Longmuir got down well to block and Kyle Faulds completed the clearance.

Mullen tests the goalkeeper. (JG)

Despite a disallowed Pollok goal and a tempting cross by Maley which had no takers, Gartcairn were now the dominant side in terms of possession. A header across goal from a free-kick led to a low shot just wide and then a good passing move led to a spectacular volley from outside the box which Longmuir was at full stretch to tip round the post.

A flying save from Longmuir kept out a goal bound volley. (JG)

As half-time approached, the game swung from end to end. Nicol made a mistake on the halfway line and when Forde shot for goal, Russell was very relieved to see it go just wide. This was quickly followed by a Forrester header which was tipped over the bar. From Mullen’s corner Docherty got himself in the perfect spot to head home in the 44th minute against the club he spent most of the season on loan with. There was still time for Gartcairn to force another good save from Longmuir before they went in for the break two goals behind.

Docherty celebrates doubling Pollok’s lead. (FT)

HALF TIME: POLLOK 2 – 0 GARTCAIRN

The Southsiders were first to threaten in the second half. Good hold up play and a nice lay off by Docherty set up a shooting chance for Chris Duff, and although he struck it well, it rose too quickly and went just over the bar.

Duff fires over the bar. (JG)

Gartcairn were once again having more of the ball but not finding many ways to penetrate a solid Pollok rear-guard. At the other end, Docherty did some wonderful chasing to retrieve the ball on the bye-line and fire in a cross but to no avail and then Forrester tried his luck down the flank again and this time his cross was well gathered by Russell.

Longmuir was called into action again in the sixty-fifth minute when McGuigan got in down the right, cut back onto his left foot and shot. Longmuir saved first with his legs and then when McGuigan headed the rebound towards the goal the keeper was up quickly to knock it round the post.

An excellent double save from Longmuir kept his side’s two-goal advantage intact. (JG)

With ten minutes to go, substitute Ross Lindsay took control and played a short pass to Luke Main well inside his own half. He shimmied his way out of a tight spot leaving three players in his wake and strode towards goal. He waited until the perfect moment to thread a pass through the centre of the Gartcairn defence for Adam Forde to take a touch and then poke home an exquisite finish which left Russell with no chance.

Luke Main drives forward before playing a pass to Forde who makes it 3-0. (JG/FT/FT)

It could have been four when Nelson nipped in to nick the ball away as Dunlop tried to guide a header back to his keeper. Nelson’s cut-back was mis-controlled by Rumsby and Anderson slid in to shoot. The ball appeared to hit Rumsby on the hand which prevented it going in but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.

Gartcairn will probably feel a little aggrieved at the margin of the defeat, but Pollok had produced a superb all round team performance with star performances throughout the starting eleven and from the bench.

FULL TIME: POLLOK 3 – 0 GARTCAIRN

Goals: Forrester (11′), Docherty (44′), Forde (81′)

MAN OF THE MATCH: SCOTT FORRESTER

Opened the scoring with a finish that any centre forward would be pleased with, following a run that any winger would be pleased with! On top of this, it was another solid defensive performance as he kept a dangerous Gartcairn attack at bay. (JG)

 

Attendance: 606

Match report by Peter Thomson

Photographs by James Graham & Finlay Thom

Full match highlights from Mark Donnelly:

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell:

Arthurlie 2 – 2 Pollok: 17th Feb 2024

Arthurlie fought back twice to secure a share of the spoils in the first derby match of the season at a rain-soaked Dunterlie Park.

Maxi made four changes to the side which lost at Irvine Meadow with Ben Fry, Andy Gallacher and Jay Nelson dropping to the bench and Ryan McGregor missing through injury. They were replaced by Jordan Longmuir, Jamie Henry, Adam Forde and Lee Duncanson, who had been recalled from loan along with Stephen Docherty who was amongst the substitutes.

Lee Duncanson made his second Pollok appearance after being recalled from his loan at Benburb.
The players remembered Iain Ashcroft before kick off.

After a minute’s applause in remembrance of Iain Ashcroft, the game kicked off in torrential rain with the vast majority of the crowd huddled under the enclosure. Pollok were shooting down the slope and were immediately on the front foot. With a couple of minutes gone Duff was about to unleash a shot inside the box when the referee called the play back for a free-kick outside the box. Mullen curled it in low and Duff stuck out a foot to deflect it in off the inside of the post.

Duff celebrates his early opener.

What was to prove a decisive moment arrived in the twenty-fourth minute. A quick break by Pollok saw good passing by Forde and Main to play in Kerr who was brought down as he ran in on goal.

Kerr is wiped out in the box and the referee points to the spot.

Mullen’s spot-kick was at a good height for a keeper and Black made a smart save. From the resultant throw-in Forde and Henry worked a chance for Main. His shot with the outside of the right foot was heading for the top corner before being clawed away by Black.

Mullen saw his tame spot-kick saved by Black.

With half an hour gone Kerr had a run at the heart of the Arthurlie defence before the ball broke to Main. His low strike was once again well saved by Black. Five minutes later Pollok opted for route one and Longmuir’s punt was headed into the danger area by Main. There was some hesitancy in the home side’s rearguard and Kerr nipped in but couldn’t keep his effort on the stretch on target.

Black was to be the Arthurlie saviour another couple of times before the half was out. Saving with his feet from a Duff shot and then being quick off his line to deny Main after good set up play by Duff. From the resultant corner Forrester headed over.

Forrester rises well but can’t keep his header down.

As the first half ticked into injury time Longmuir made his first save of the day – comfortably clutching a long range free-kick. The home side may have been behind at the break but on the balance of play it was the away side who will have been disappointed with only being one goal to the good.

HALF TIME:

ARTHURLIE 0 – 1 POLLOK

Longmuir had to look sharp in the opening minute of the second half as he raced from his box to head clear before Pollok suffered a blow when the influential Faulds had to come off injured.

The Southsiders burst back into life in the fifty-fourth minute with a tremendous passing move which saw the ball slipped out left to Duff. He beat his full-back and rolled the ball across goal. It reached the recently-introduced Evan Maley beyond the far post and he tried to fire it home from a tight angle but put it out for a throw on the far side. A couple of minutes later Forde was on target with a curling free-kick but Black was in position to make the save.

Disappointment for Maley as he spurns a good opportunity at the back post.

Arthurlie were much more in the game shooting down the slope and were unlucky to see a looping header come back off the bar before Longmuir did well to block the rebound. The ball was never fully cleared however and when the ball was passed back into the box Main tried to nick the ball away from the striker but caught his man and the referee was pointing to the spot again. Former Pollok man Dylan Dykes rolled the ball into the bottom corner and it was all square with just under twenty-five minutes to go.

Dykes slides home a opener from the spot.

The game was now far more stretched and end to end. A Mullen free-kick from inside his own half found its way to Maley inside the box and his shot came back off the post and into a relieved Black’s arms. At the other end Arthurlie headed a good chance from a corner over the bar.

Pollok regained the lead with thirteen minutes to go. Mullen played in a high, looping cross which Forde headed back across the six-yard box to substitute Stephen Docherty who nodded home from close range to open his Pollok account for the season, on his first game back having been recalled from his loan at Gartcairn.

Docherty wheels away to celebrate his first Pollok goal of the season after returning from his loan.

With ten minutes to go Pollok had the chance to wrap up the three points. A long pass over the top by Lindsay allowed Maley to utilise his pace. He and Black got to the ball at the same time and collided. The ball broke free and Maley gathered before curling a shot just over the bar.

Maley takes advantage of some defensive hesitancy to skip past Black but his shot goes over the bar.

Having not taken their chances Pollok were made to pay with four minutes to go. Bolger curled a free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner for the equaliser. And the home side almost nicked it from a corner with a goal bound header deflecting off Gow before being cleared by Forde.

Bolger finds the bottom corner with an expertly taken free kick.

 

FULL TIME

ARTHURLIE 2 – 2 POLLOK

Goals:

Arthurlie: Dykes (P) (66′), Bolger (86′)

Pollok: Duff (3′), Docherty (77′)

Report by Peter Thomson

Photographs from James Graham

Full match highlights from Mark Donnelly:

 

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell:

Clydebank 1 – 0 Pollok: 27th January 2024

Pollok fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to league leaders Clydebank as a second half stunner from Ciaran Mulcahy secured the points for the hosts. Manager Stewart Maxwell made two changes from the previous week’s win over Largs with Grant Anderson and Darren Christie dropping to the bench to be replaced by Ryan McGregor and Andy Gallacher.

Holm Park paused to remember two recently passed Bankies supporters before the match.

The game kicked off in bright, blustery conditions and neither team settled quickly into a pattern of play. Clydebank were the dominant team in terms of possession and territory but they weren’t creating too many clear-cut chances against a well drilled Pollok defence. The home side were restricted to a series of long-range efforts with only Slattery keeping his on target but Ben Fry was able to save comfortably. With just over twenty minutes gone the referee became the main focus of attention as he produced four yellow cards in the space of seven minutes. He would brandish a further four before the ninety minutes were out in a game that was physical but not nasty.

Liam McGonigle challenged the referee to book him, and the official obliged.

Pollok’s one piece of real attacking intent in the first half saw Gallacher and Adam Forde combine well down the left and the young winger drive towards goal before finding the side netting with a low drive.

Gallacher’s effort hit the side netting.

HALF TIME: CLYDEBANK 0 – 0 POLLOK

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with little in the way of goalmouth incident until the 63rd minute when the home side broke the deadlock. After some patient build up play, the ball was played out to the right wing. Slattery had time to measure his cross and he picked out Liam McGonigle whose header crashed back off the bar. Ciaran Mulcahy met the rebound with a stunning overhead kick which gave Fry no chance.

Mulcahy opens the scoring in stunning fashion.

Clydebank quickly set about extending their lead and after a good cutback Little could only hit it straight at Fry with a powerful drive from the edge of the box. At the other end McKenzie found himself in some space in the home side’s box but from a tight angle couldn’t keep his shot on target.

McKenzie fires wide.

The league leaders then had a wonderful chance to double their lead. Gallacher was played through the middle and went round Fry. He must have thought he was scoring as he rolled the ball towards the empty net but Forrester slid in to make a last gasp, goal saving interception, wiping out an unsuspecting Clydebank substitute behind the goals in the process.

Ben Fry’s handling was excellent, and a fine save kept the score at 1-0.

Forde then saw a good effort whistle past the post before Fry was forced into a fingertip save to keep Pollok’s chances alive. Although the away side saw more of the ball in the latter stages goal scoring chances were few and far between. The last effort of the game being another Forde shot from outside the box which was deflected away for a corner.

As the final whistle went any faint hopes of a title challenge from Pollok became much fainter. For Clydebank, the good news kept on coming with Beith’s defeat at home to Cumnock setting up a mouth-watering next match between the champions and the league leaders which could go a long way to determining the destination of this season’s title. For Pollok, the focus will turn to the cup competitions, starting with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the South Challenge on Saturday.

FULL TIME: CLYDEBANK 1 – 0 POLLOK

Goal: Mulcahy (63′)

Report from Peter Thomson

Photos from James Graham

Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly

Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell: