Match day twenty-nine of the West of Scotland Premier Division saw Pollok entertain Cambuslang Rangers in their last game of the season at Newlandsfield.
The manager made three changes from the draw at Darvel: Lumsden replaced Longmuir in goal, whilst Burns and Stuart McCann came in for the Stephen Docherty and Darren Christie. Gary McCann switched from the left to the right wing.
With the sun shining the Lok team which beat Tayport 3-1 to lift the 1997 Junior Cup joined the teams in the centre circle for a minutes applause in remembrance of their teammate Ian Ashcroft who recently passed away aged 60. Gone too soon.
With Cambuslang shooting down the hill they started brightly and had an early sighter from long range which Lumsden had to get his body behind. After a couple of corners for Pollok the away side once again tried their luck from distance but on this occasion they were just off target.
With thirteen minutes on the clock Pollok created the first real opening of the contest. Mullen picked out Rumsby at the far post from a free-kick. He headed back across goal and from four yards out Brownlie headed over.
The home side were starting to build a bit of momentum and Forde collected a Lumsden clearance before a rapid exchanges of passes with Gary McCann sent him down the right wing. His cross was partially cleared to Buchanan whose rasping drive from the edge of the box appeared to be touched over the bar although the officials did not agree.
The passing and tempo were improving as the half wore on. Esplin and Menzies traded passes in midfield as the play was switched from left to right. The ball then went into Forde who got himself turned and slipped in Stuart McCann. His angled drive was well blocked by Wilson.
As the half hour mark approached a misplaced pass was seized upon by Forde. He made good ground up the middle before a reverse pass to Stuart McCann. Once again Wilson was up to the task and pushed the striker’s angled drive away for a corner.
After losing the ball in midfield Pollok were stretched by a cross field pass in behind the backline. The eventual shot came from a tight angle and Lumsden was able to smother at the near post. Moments later he had to spread himself to get a strong hand to the ball as an attacker looked to go round him.
Wilson was tested again by a Forde attempt from distance after a short free-kick from Mullen. Once again the Cambuslang keeper was up to the task.
The last chance of the half fell to a marauding Menzies as he got on the end of a Gary McCann flick in behind the defence and volleyed goalwards. As had been the case all half Wilson was well positioned and made the save.
The second half started with Cambuslang showing some good persistence to get in down the left. The cross was mis-kicked by Brownlie and a presentable chance was squandered when they shot straight at Lumsden who had reacted quickly to narrow the angle.
The home side were huffing and puffing as the game approached the hour mark with the only effort of note being a Buchanan shot from the edge of the box which went wide of goal after nice set up play by Forde.
A route one move changed the mood however. A goal kick by Lumsden was flicked on by Stuart McCann to his brother Gary. He wrapped his foot around the ball on the bye-line and delivered a wonderful cross which Burns met to head powerfully down and into the net.
Both teams continued to try and create openings but there was not much in the way of goalmouth action. A good move by the Southsiders in the seventy second minute saw Gary McCann pick out brother Stuart with a curling cross. His header couldn’t find the target and drifted wide.
Pollok continued to search for a second goal and substitute Duff produced a mazy run from his own half which ended in an angled drive being touched round the post. That corner came to nothing but the next corner a minute later saw Stuart McCann’s tremendous acrobatic effort blocked and Gary McCann’s follow up saved.
If it was to have been a last Newlandsfield appearance in black and white for a number of Lok stalwarts then it was a rather low key ending. For those who do leave in the summer we wish them well.
Neutrals have – in the main – been richly entertained at Newlandsfield this season. For the die hard Lok supporter the undoubted highlight was the cup win against Annan, the lowlights the disappointing cup defeats to Clydebank and St Cadocs. Home league form of nine wins, two draws and four defeats will need to be improved upon next season if a title challenge is to be made.
Pollok Man of the Match: Gary McCann
The winger was at the heart of every Pollok foray forward and created several good chances with crosses from the right hand side. It was one of these deliveries which found the head of Sean Burns to score the only goal of the game.
Report by Peter Thomson
Photos from Nathan Bonnar
Match Highlights from Mark Donnelly:
Post-match interview with Stewart Maxwell