Pollok travelled to Valefield Park on League business on the back of a busy midweek of League Cup action. Valefield Park was resplendent in black and yellow with the pitch itself looking absolutely superb.
Pollok were forced into a few changes due to injuries and suspension for their biggest test so far this season. The game got off to a typically frenetic start with little in the way of passing football. Larkin headed a corner over the bar whilst under pressure from the Kilbirnie defence and then had another header saved on the line.
Although Pollok had edged the early stages the breakthrough came at the other end. Slack play in the Pollok rear-guard left the Kilbirnie striker in a race against Lumsden in the Pollok goal. Lumsden looked to have won the tight race and got to the ball first, pushing it away for a throw – however the referee deemed the following contact a foul and pointed to the spot. Chris Craig stepped up and confidently slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Pollok took a wee while to recover from this blow and although they had the lion’s share of possession never really threatened an equaliser in the remainder of a disappointing first half.
The second half resumed in a similar pattern to the first. Kilbirnie were happy to sit in on their lead as is their right and Pollok huffed and puffed without creating any clear cut chances. Duff was having some joy down the right but the crosses were either blocked or just out of reach of the strikers. Dallas replaced Morton with twenty five minutes to go as Pollok stepped up the chase for an equaliser.
In the eighty ninth minute with the Kilbirnie defence now very deep and Pollok pushing on Kilbirnie’s Scullion was able to race clear on the breakaway in the inside left channel. Mark Sideserf managed to cover a lot of ground to get a challenge in but the referee deemed it an unfair one and the denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity. The red card was flashed.
Despite being a man down Pollok continued to push and a number of balls were played into the Kilbirnie box in injury time but no one could seriously trouble Hughes in the Kilbirnie goal who was having a relatively stress free birthday weekend. Pollok had one last shout for a penalty – at least their third reasonable claim of the game – when Dallas was pulled to the ground as a cross came in but the claims were to no avail.
It had been a disappointing ninety minutes in terms of entertainment but that will not have bothered Kilbirnie or their fans as they pocketed three precious points with a solid defensive display.
Match footage from Davie Brown & Mark Donnelly