|January 8, 2022||13:30||West of Scotland Football League Premier Division||2021-22||0'|
The goals from Mark Donnelly:
Match Report by Peter Thomson
Pollok welcomed Bonnyton Thistle as first foots to Newlandsfield for the first match of 2022. With government restrictions in place the match was all ticket and the players took to the field in front of a capacity crowd of 500. The home team showed two changes from the team which started the last match of 2021. Horne was in for Fraser and Wharton returned from suspension to replace the goal scoring hero from the match at Beith – Ryan McGregor.
Shooting down the hill in the first half Pollok quickly made it clear they had no intention of falling to another shock defeat at the hands of Bonnyton after the loss in the reverse fixture in the second game of the season. It had been pretty much one way traffic when in the seventh minute Forde pounced on a loose pass, drove forward and attempted to chip the keeper from the edge of the box. His chip wasn’t quite high enough and the keeper was able to touch it away for a corner which came to nothing.
Minutes later a corner from the other side was played short to the ever eager Grant whose low shot was deflected wide for yet another corner. After an Esplin shot over the bar McCann had a good downward header from a Sideserf cross pushed away by the keeper as the pressure mounted. At the other end a slack pass into midfield by Brownlie saw Bonnyton spring a rare counter attack but Longmuir was right behind the powerful strike and held it at the second attempt.
After a Horne thirty-yarder had been saved Pollok won a free-kick on the right. Most of the attacking thus far had been down the left but the ever alert Grant made a run which Horne’s quick free-kick found to perfection. From a tight angle Grant was able to find the far corner with a powerful right footed strike to give the home team a well-deserved lead after 24 minutes.
Three minutes later the lead was doubled. And goalkeeper Longmuir had added an assist to his goal earlier in the season. His long ball evaded the Bonnyton rear-guard and Lyon kept his composure to deftly lob the ball over the keeper.
Just past the half hour mark the Southsiders produced their best move of the match. A throw in from Sideserf in the left back position to Brownlie started a sweeping passing move through Wharton, Horne, McCann, Esplin, McKenzie and then the overlapping Sideserf with the ball never leaving the ground until Sideserf’s cross on to the head of Forde. His glancing header had the keeper beaten all ends up but unfortunately slipped just past the far post. It would have been a wonderful team goal.
With forty two minutes on the clock and after yet another corner a Wharton shot was blocked but it fell to Lyon who found the corner of the net from near the penalty spot to make the half time score 3-0.
The pressure and the corners kept on coming in the second half and in the fifty third minute the fourth goal arrived. Horne swung it in from the left and Forde was there inside the six yard box to nod home.
Just after the hour mark Wharton volleyed a goal-kick straight back towards the Bonnyton goal. It looked like the keeper would collect easily but it bounced over his head. Fortunately McCann had not given it up and was on to in a flash and the keeper had no option but to bring him down from behind. Penalty. Forde stepped up and coolly sent the keeper the wrong way.
Moments later Forde had a great chance for his hat-trick. A long ball from Longmuir was expertly flicked on by McCann into his strike partner’s path. Forde took a touch and appeared to have done everything right in rounding the keeper but just as he went to slot home the keeper made amends and managed to divert the ball with an outstretched finger-tip.
With the game well and truly won McKinnon replaced his strike force with Coyne and Graham coming on for McCann and Forde. Coyne was unlucky to see a powerful right foot shot on the turn cannon back off the post and it would be left to Graham to complete the scoring in the ninetieth minute. Horne swung over the corner and Graham crashed home a header off the underside of the bar. It was Horne’s third assist of the game and meant the final score was 6-0.
An impressive all-round professional performance from Pollok to start 2022 sent the crowd home happy. Given the number of games off throughout west and Central Scotland huge credit must go to the ground-staff for producing a pitch in such good order to allow first of all the game to go ahead and then also allow the team to play some very nice football.
Bonnyton Thistle first foot Newlandsfield as Pollok welcome the Kilmarnock club to kick off 2022.
Pollok finished 2021 sitting top of the West Of Scotland Football League Premier Division and will be hoping to continue the good form into the new year. The players and staff have had a few weeks off and I’m sure everyone at the club is eager for the restart. So far this season Pollok have only suffered two defeats, one of which was early in the season against Bonnyton. We have been unbeaten since August in what has been an entertaining first half of the season.
In the goalscoring charts, Adam Forde leads the pack with 14, followed by Stuart McCann on 10, with Ryan McGregor, Callum Graham and Bryan Wharton on 8, 7 and 6 respectively, showing the goals are spread throughout the team.
Bonnyton currently sit bottom of the Premier Division with 8 points from their 24 games played. Their record stands at 2 wins, 2 draws and 20 defeats. With a lot of young players, Bonnyton will gain a lot of experience this season and as we found out early in the season they can be dangerous on their day.
As mentioned, our last match was a disappointing night for the ‘Lok when we went down 3-1 at The Synergy Arena on 21st July. This was the first competitive meeting between the clubs. The club are managed by former Kilmarnock player Alan Robertson, with Killie Scottish Cup scoring hero Paul Wright assisting. The club were formed in 1912 and have been an amateur and youth team for most of their existence. The club estimate 80% of the first team squad are former youth players with the club.
The match is ticket only with tickets available between 10 and 11 on Saturday morning at Newlandsfield. Any remaining tickets will be available at the turnstiles on a first come, first served basis.