Highlights from Mark Donnelly:
Pollok welcomed Largs to Newlandsfield for their first home match of the 2022/23 West of Scotland Football League Premier Division season, writes Peter Thomson. The pitch looked absolutely brilliant in the south-side sunshine which greeted the fans and players.
Largs were shorn of their star man from last season as 41 goal striker Sewell had moved up the divisions to Stenhousemuir as has Pollok’s player of the year Grant. With Matty opting for Stranraer as next stop in his career. We wish them both well in League Two.
There were two changes to the home side following the opening day win away at Petershill. Brownlie was injured and Sideserf unavailable. They were replaced by Menzies and Krol as the manager opted for a 4-3-3 formation.
After a minute’s applause in appreciation of the recently departed Stuart MacDonald, Pollok kicked off shooting down the slope and dominated from the off. Crosses from either side had looked threatening without finding an attacker before Krol jinked inside and rifled a shot from twenty five yards which stung the Largs’ keeper’s palms. This was quickly followed in the sixth minute by a free-kick into the box which was volleyed wide by Lyon.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock Menzies fed the ball out to Dykes on the left touchline. He beat a man before passing to McCann. His cross found Lyon at the back post and although his first touch was good it allowed the defender time to smother the shot that followed. From the resultant corner Menzies acrobatically flicked it on and Docherty headed over from six yards out.
Pollok’s next dangerous attacked once again saw a Lyon effort deflected away for a corner after a brilliantly disguised and weighted pass from Dykes put him through in the inside left channel. Mullen was consistently delivering the mounting number of corners and free-kicks into the danger area but nothing was dropping for Pollok against a resolute Largs’ defence.
In the thirty-sixth minute Dykes switched the play to Mullen who passed it to Docherty. His cross found McCann whose volley was deflected wide for yet another corner and yet more frustration for the home side.
With the game goalless at half time the pattern of play after the change of ends shifted from Pollok domination to more of an even game. However the home side came close again in the forty seventh minute when Docherty did well to latch on to a long ball. As he made his way across the pitch he was crowded out by the Largs defence but the ball broke to Burns whose curling effort just clipped the top of the crossbar.
With play becoming increasingly ragged Pollok’s next decent move didn’t come until the sixty ninth minute as they began to reassert their dominance for the final quarter of the match. After some decent possession Duff passed to Burns. His left footed cross was met by the head of McCann but it went wide of the near post.
The next ten minutes saw a succession of crosses into the away side’s box and although Pollok got on the end of a few of them they couldn’t muster up an effort on target. Mullen then tried a shot from distance which looked to be heading for the top corner before a defender managed to get his head on it to deflect it away for yet another corner.
With a flurry of late substitutions – including a debut for Buchanan – the game rather fizzled out and the away side went back to the coast with a point and much the happier side.
So not the result the Southsiders had been looking for in their first home fixture as an SFA licenced side. Just one of those games where an early goal would have opened the game up but the longer it went on at 0-0 the more anxious the home side became whilst the away side gained in confidence.
|August 6, 2022
|West of Scotland Football League Premier Division