Highlights from Mark Donnelly:
Goals from Mark Donnelly:
Post match with Murdie:
Match Report by: Peter Thomson
After an unkind draw Pollok travelled to Beechwood Park to face Auchinleck Talbot in the pick of the quarter final ties in the South Challenge Cup. The league games between the pair this season having produced a pulsating 3-3 draw and a dull 1-0 win for Talbot. Not surprisingly this game was to fall somewhere in the middle of those two in terms of entertainment.
Pollok made four changes from the insipid draw with Hurlford the previous week. Sideserf, Esplin, Horne and Fraser all returning to the side with Menzies, Dykes, Duff and Forde dropping out.
A frenetic opening period saw tackles flying in and misplaced passes as both teams looked to impose themselves on the game. The importance of the match adding an edge and a nervousness.
In the 14th minute Pollok had their first sniff of goal. A long throw from Wharton was flicked on by McGregor and Fraser’s header from six yards out went over the bar.
The home side’s first sniff at goal came midway through the half and was a whole lot closer to opening the scoring. A corner from the left led to a bit of a stramash before a low shot was sent goalwards. Horne just managed to get a foot to it on the goal-line and deflected it onto the post. When the ball was recycled into the box another low shot was pushed round the post by Longmuir.
Minutes later another Pollok long throw brought about a great chance. This time it was a Talbot defender who flicked on and Fraser didn’t get the connection he was looking for from six yards out allowing Leishman to make a comfortable save.
Pollok threatened again with a sweeping move which went from right wing-back, Grant to left wing-back, Lyon and back again. Grant blasting over the bar from a tight angle having beaten his man on the edge of the box.
The second half started with the away side on top although a misplaced header by Esplin gave Samson a sight of goal and Longmuir had to pull off a smart double save to twice deny the striker.
Pollok took the lead in the 57th minute from a set-piece. Forde’s in-swinging corner from the right headed in at the near post by Grant.
Minutes later Pollok almost doubled their lead. Another Wharton throw into the box was flicked on to Forde who controlled it on his chest before executing a beautiful overhead kick which flew inches over the bar with Leishman beaten.
Then with just over 20 minutes to go came the moment which swung the match in the home side’s favour. A triple substitution by Sloan saw Talbot bring on Shankland, Boylan and Wilson and they immediately set about putting the Pollok defence under pressure.
In the 75th minute a good pass out to the right found Shankland in acres of space. He looked up and played the perfect low cross to Samson who slide home the equaliser from six yards out.
Minutes later a similar move – this time from a free-kick – saw Samson put his attempt just over the bar as Pollok started to defend deeper and deeper. In a portent of things to come Shankland then slipped Samson through but his attempted lob was weak and just fell into Longmuir’s hands.
With three minutes to go a fairly aimless looking ball over the top was missed by the Pollok defence and Samson nipped in to slip a tidy finish from a tight angle past Longmuir.
Pollok mounted a bit of late pressure in search of an equaliser but their only effort on target was a Forde free-kick which a well-positioned Leishman saved comfortably.
Having given the large travelling support such hope with 30 minutes to go it was ultimately a crushing disappointment to go out the cup. After an even first half Pollok had been the better team in the opening of the second half and deserved to be ahead but they just couldn’t see it through against a Talbot side transformed by the triple substitution. So Pollok’s first attempt at the South Challenge Cup was ended at the quarter final stage. They will hope to go further in future years.
It’s back to South Challenge Cup action this weekend for Pollok and a trip to Beechwood Park to face Auchinleck Talbot.
We have now reached the Quarter Final stage of the tournament having beaten Vale of Clyde 4-0, Harthill Royal 2-1, Clydebank 2-1 and in the last round beating Lowland League side, University of Stirling 3-1.
Talbot have dispatched Forth 1-0, West Calder 7-1, Irvine Meadow 3-1 and finally Caledonian Braves 3-1.
Last weekend Pollok were held at home 1-1 against Hurlford which gave Talbot the opportunity to regain top spot in the WoSFL Premier Division, duly taken when they beat Bonnyton Thistle 3-0.
Pollok don’t have a great recent record against Talbot, our last win coming back in 2018 at Beechwood Park. Six games have taken place between the teams since, with Talbot winning five and then the 3-3 draw that took place earlier this season at Newlandsfield. The last match between the teams was on February 12th at Beechwood Park when Talbot won 1-0 in the league.
|April 2, 2022||14:00||South Challenge Cup||2021-22||0'|