League: West of Scotland Football League Premier Division

Hurlford United v Pollok

After last weekends Scottish Cup penalty win over Benburb, we move back to WoSFL Premier Division action with an away game to Hurlford.

Pollok are currently 2nd in the league table with a record of 4 wins, 2 draws and one defeat. After the Scottish Cup win we have been drawn away to Penicuik Athletic in the First Round. Top scorers at this early stage of the season are Adam Forde with 7 goals, Grant Anderson with 4, and Calum Gow, Chris Duff and Darren Christie on 3.

Hurlford were in Scottish Junior Cup action last week when they beat Sunnybank 3-2 at Blair Park. The Ford have started the season well, with only one defeat coming against Benburb. They currently sit in 5th place in the league with 3 wins, 2 draws, and the one defeat.

Hurlford were formed in 1912 and are managed by Darren Henderson. The last trophy they picked up was the West of Scotland League Cup which they won last season beating Kilwinning. They have won one Scottish Junior Cup, lifting the famous trophy in 2014.

Several former players have played for Kilmarnock, David Bagan, a cup winner with Killie, Davie Sneddon, a league winner with Killie in 1965, and a man of many clubs, Mark Roberts.

In the past five matches in all competitions between the clubs has seen Hurlford edge the results with two wins, there have been two draws and one win for Pollok. That win for the Lok came in the last meeting between the sides in February when Pollok won 4-0 at Blair Park, the scorers on the day were Forde, Burns, S McCann and Nelson.

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Pollok v Kirkintilloch Rob Roy

Highlights and video courtesy of Mark Donnelly

Match day three of the West of Scotland Premier Division saw a third game in eight days for both sides as Pollok hosted Kirkintilloch Rob Roy.

Maxwell made four changes for the game against his former side. Mullen and Allen returned from suspension and took the places of Burns and the trialist at full-back. Gow came back in for Morgan in the centre of defence and Anderson replaced Kerr at centre forward.

Before the game there was a poignant minute’s silence for Brian McNeil who had served both clubs with distinction before his untimely passing in May.

Pollok were kicking down the slope and started the game on the front foot. An Allan ball over the top was superbly chased down by Anderson. He gathered the ball on the bye line and made his way into the six-yard box before hitting a low shot which was deflected over the bar. From the corner the ball was recycled and sent back in by Christie. Anderson got up highest at the back post and his header was tipped over the bar by Smith.

In the 10th minute Christie made his way across the pitch with a mazy run before slipping the ball to Duff on the edge of the box. His low shot went just wide.

Against the run of play Kirkintilloch took the lead on 22 minutes. A cross field pass by Christie was mis-controlled by Forrester and set up a quick break. One pass found Tierney who unleashed a screamer from just inside the box into the roof of the net.

Pollok were only behind for five minutes. Hutton played the ball into Anderson who swept it wide with a first time pass. Christie took it in his stride and went passed Gilday before sending in a tempting cross. Anderson slid in to give the move the finish it deserved.

Christie then tested Smith with an absolute howitzer after a pass inside by Allan. The goalkeeper doing well to push it out of harm’s way.

Just before half time the home side took the lead. A Mullen corner evaded everyone and came to Duff on the edge of the box. He played a clever pass to Forrester who curled a cross to the far post where his defensive partner Gow rose well to bullet a header home.

The second half began with Ryan McGregor on for Rob Roy but the first significant attack was remarkably similar to the action that had ended the first half. A Mullen set piece made its way beyond the back post where it was retrieved by Forrester who curled in another lovely cross with Gow once again leaping highest to head home. Pollok led 3-1.

A slack pass by Christie was picked up 15 yards inside the Rob Roy half and thumped towards goal. Its trajectory had Fry worried for a moment but in the end the audacious effort went wide. It was the first in a series of long-range efforts on the Pollok goal. A couple going wide and a couple saved by Fry. The home goalie was also called into action to clutch a corner cleanly.
With a number of substitutes on the flow of play had been disrupted with Pollok not as cohesive a unit as they had been earlier in the half and in the 83rd minute Kirkintilloch found themselves right back in the game. A cross was only partially cleared and when it was passed back into Kettings he took his time before curling a shot into the corner.

This gave the away side an obvious boost and when their next attack seemed to be floundering they were able to keep it alive and find Baber on the edge of the box. He was afforded plenty of time to line up his shot which he dispatched into the top corner for what had seemed an unlikely equaliser.

The Southsiders attempted to raise their game again to find a winner and came desperately close in injury time. A Mullen cross was brilliantly brought down by Kerr who turned and volleyed towards goal. With the keeper beaten it capped a disappointing second half for Pollok when the ball crashed off the junction of post and bar.

The elation of beating Talbot the previous Saturday was replaced with frustration and disappointment at two points dropped. There had undoubtedly been positives in the performance but ultimately it’s the result that matters – and the home support left disgruntled and disillusioned.

Match Report by Peter Thomson

Photos courtesy of James Graham & Finlay Thom

The first week of the 2023/24 WoSFL fixtures have taken place, with Pollok opening with a 1-0 win over Auchinleck Talbot, followed by a 2-2 draw away to Cumnock.

This week, we welcome Kirkintilloch Rob Roy to Newlandsfield. Rob Roy opened their season with a 1-0 loss away to champions Beith and then a midweek home 3-2 win over Arthurlie. The Rabs new signing Ryan Tierney scored a double.

Rob Roy were formed in 1878, one of the oldest clubs in the WOSFL, the club were based at Adamslie Park for many years but have been sharing with Cumbernauld since 2014 as they await a new stadium in Kirkintilloch. The Rabs have won the scottish Junior Cup on 3 occasions, 1921, 1943 and 1962. Their last trophy was the Central League Cup in 2017. Former Pollok player Chic Charnley had a short spell at Rob Roy, as did Marvin Andrews, Stevie Chalmers, Joe McBride and George Young to name a few former professional players who have wore the red and black.

Our manager Stewart Maxwell was a long-term Kirkintilloch Rob Roy manager before moving to Newlandsfield. Stewart took over the Rabs in 2013 and was there until he moved to Pollok in November 2022.

Pollok won both fixtures last season, starting with a 2-0 away win last December followed by a 6-2 win in March at Newlandsfield.

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Cumnock v Pollok

Highlights and footage courtesy of Mark Donnelly

Hot on the heels of their opening day victory over Auchinleck Talbot, Pollok travelled to East Ayrshire to face Cumnock on match day two of the West of Scotland Premier Division. Cumnock had lost out to Arthurlie in a seven-goal thriller in their opening match.

Manager Maxwell made five changes from the weekend win. Dropping out were Gow, Rumsby, McKenzie, Maley and the injured Burrows. They were replaced by Morgan, Burns, Kerr, Duff and a trialist at right back.

The game did not take long in coming to life. After a speculative long-range effort from Cumnock, Pollok’s first real attack in the eighth minute bore fruit. After a Cumnock attack broke up Lindsay took his time to examine his options before sending a tremendous through ball for Duff in behind the home defence. His lobbed finish was exquisite and left Barclay with no chance.
Four minutes later Cumnock were level. A move down the left resulted in a strong penalty appeal after an attacker went over Morgan’s outstretched leg. The referee ignored the appeals and the ball broke back to the edge of the box where McKernon struck a low shot into the bottom corner.

The Southsiders retook the lead in the twenty third minute. A long throw found its way to the far side of the box where Forde turned and shot. He didn’t catch it the way he wanted but it turned into the perfect cross for Duff to side foot home from eight yards out.

The home side were having more of the play and Pollok’s lead lasted no longer than the first time. A corner from the right was powered home from six yards out by Tart.

Neither side were creating many chances from open play although Kerr headed just over from a corner before the sides went in level at half time.

The second half began with Pollok in the ascendancy with Forde linking play and looking towards goal at every opportunity. He found Christie with a through ball but he was well pressurised as he went to shoot and couldn’t keep his effort on target.

Seven minutes into the second half goalscorer Tart received a second yellow card and the home side were down to ten men. From the resulting free kick Kerr once again got his head on it but his effort looped just over the bar.

Whilst Pollok were now the dominant force they were struggling to break down a stubborn Cumnock rearguard. The closest they came to finding a winner was from corners. First Morgan and then Kerr were denied by good Barclay saves.

After a long free-kick into the box and a hashed Pollok clearance Cumnock hit the post whilst at the other end Forde curled a free kick just over the bar. There was controversy in injury time when Forrester received a straight red card for what looked like nothing more than a clumsy collision.

So the game finished with a point apiece. The kind of point that is hard to evaluate this early in the season although there will definitely be disappointment in the Pollok dressing room that they hadn’t made more of their man advantage in the second half.

(editor note: Scott Forrester’s red downgraded to yellow upon appeal)

Match report by Peter Thomson

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Pollok v Auchinleck Talbot


Full match highlights courtesy of Mark Donnelly

Match report

The opening day of the 2023/24 West Of Scotland Football League Premier Division saw Pollok play host to old rivals Auchinleck Talbot in the pick of the day’s fixtures. With the Maxi revolution in full flow during the close season there were only three survivors from the starting line-up in the last day defeat at Largs in May – Rumsby, Christie and Forde. Making their Pollok debuts were Fry, Burrows, Forrester, Hutton, Lindsay, McKenzie and Maley and another three would make debuts from the bench.

The game kicked off in bright sunshine with a mixture of optimism and trepidation around the ground as both teams started new eras with long serving stalwarts having departed. After a cagey and tepid opening few minutes it was the away side who found their form first. A nice move through the middle of the park saw Talbot in on goal but Forrester made a superbly timed last ditch tackle to avert the danger.

Forrester was also involved in Talbot’s next big chance to open the scoring. A corner was swung in from the right and missed by the Talbot player with ball hitting the unprepared Forrester on the hand. Penalty kick. Boyd stepped up but sent the ball over Fry’s bar and the home support breathed a sigh of relief.

The home side managed a shot on goal in the 11th minute when Maley broke down the left and after trying a one –two with Forrester got the break of the ball to send a curling effort towards goal but it was comfortably saved.

With communication still an issue in the Pollok rearguard Auchinleck continued to look dangerous and perhaps should have taken the lead in the 24th minute. A quick break out of defence saw a dangerous cross come in from the right wing. Fry made a good block but was stranded when the ball was crossed back in to Smith. He wasn’t quite fully set but will have been disappointed to send his effort wide with only a couple of defenders on the line to beat.

A few minutes later Pollok had their first big chance of the game. An Auchinleck clearance was returned by Hutton just over the top of the outrushing defence. McKenzie had a swing at it as it dropped over his shoulder but put his effort over the bar. Perhaps leaving the ball for Forde would have been the better option. McKenzie was again off target a few minutes later with a low shot from the edge of the box but at least he was now seeing a bit of the ball. Something his work-rate most definitely deserved. With the game now more even the home side had the final chance of the half as Lindsay played an intelligent ball over the top but McKenzie couldn’t quite get the headed connection he was looking for and it was a routine save for the goalkeeper.

Right-back Burrows – who had taken a knock towards the end of the first half was replaced by Barr for the second half.

Talbot had a long-range effort sail wide and then in the 54th minute Pollok very nearly took the lead. A dangerous Maley cross had been cut out at the expense of a corner. Christie’s corner might well have been going in but was headed clear from under the bar. It fell invitingly for Forrester whose acrobatic effort was on its’ way in when it hit his teammate, McKenzie, on the goal-line. A Maley free-kick from a dangerous position went over the bar whilst at the other end a cross from the left was punched out by Fry. The follow up shot was goal bound but well blocked by Forrester.

With Kerr, Anderson and Gallacher all on for debuts the Southsiders were looking as dangerous as they had all game. A Christie shot was well saved and seconds later Fry had his palms stung by a rasping drive as both teams looked for a winner. Just as many in the ground were giving up hope of seeing a goal the opener arrived. And it was worth waiting for. Some nice passing in the middle of the park involving Hutton, Lindsay and Forrester saw the ball arrive at the feet of Gallacher on the left wing. He cut inside the box and curled an absolute beauty into the top corner for a stunning debut goal.






Pollok were able to see out the remainder of the game fairly comfortably. Auchinleck will no doubt rue their failure to take the first half chances that came their way but the game was decided by a strike of the highest quality.

After a nervy first fifteen minutes the home side had produced a gritty and resolute performance against a team that will no doubt be towards the top end of the table come season’s end. Pollok’s spirit and work-rate will have sent the home faithful away believing success this season is achievable.

Report by Peter Thomson

Photos by James Graham

Build Up

It’s matchday one of the West Of Scotland Football League Premier Division, a time when all teams have hopes and dreams for the season ahead.

We kick off our campaign with a home match with Auchinleck Talbot. With Pollok adding 13 new players, tomorrow could be the competitive debut for some, and it is likely to be the first competitive game for our new captain, Kyle Hutton.

Talbot are one of the biggest names in the Scottish non-league scene. Winners of the Scottish Junior Cup a record 14 times. Managed by Tommy Sloan in his 20th year as manager, he must be the longest serving manager currently in Scottish football.

Talbot have added a host of new names. While nine players have moved on from last seasons squad, the most notable, long-term goalkeeper, Andy Leishman.

Last season, Talbot finished second behind Beith in the league and won the West of Scotland League Cup after a 2-0 win over Clydebank.

As we all know, Pollok don’t have a great history against Talbot, having to go back to January 7th, 2017 for our last win, a 2-0 victory at Newlandsfield. Last season in the corresponding fixture, the points were shared after a 1-1 draw at Newlandsfield, followed by a 2-1 win for Talbot at Beechwood in February.

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