Pollok made their first ever trip to the new Buffs Park for a top of the table clash with Kilwinning Rangers in match-day eight of the McBookie West Premiership. The home team’s new ground within The Kilwinning Community Sports Club facility boasts a beautiful pitch which is noticeably wide, especially by junior standards – an excellent opportunity for wingers to express themselves.
Pollok lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Stuart McCann and Adam Forde wide and Chris Dallas offering the focal point up front. And it did not take long for the attacking threesome to show their effectiveness. After five minutes a Kilwinnning attack faltered on the edge of the box and the ball came to McCann well inside his own half. A precision pass found Dallas who held the ball up superbly before releasing Forde down the inside left channel with a perfectly timed pass. Forde did not have to break stride as he hammered a left foot strike passed Strain in the Kilwinning goal.
Pollok’s midfield trio of Esplin, Henry and Fraser were giving their Kilwinning counterparts no time to play and also managing to produce some creative stuff of their own. A couple of corners produced efforts on goal and Dallas had a chance which he struck straight at the keeper.
Pollok’s positive play produced a second goal in the twenty fifth minute and again it was their attacking trio at the heart of it. Dallas gathered the ball out of defence and laid it off to Forde on the left wing. His deep cross found McCann who volleyed back across the box. The ball was behind the on rushing Fraser but arrived perfectly at the left foot of Forde who had kept running. His swerving left foot strike gave Strain no chance. What a one-two that turned out be between Forde and McCann.
A few minutes later a through ball had Strain rushing from his goal. He won a couple of duels but ended up fully forty yards up the pitch when he lost the ball to Esplin who fed Forde. His attempt for the hat-trick drifted over the bar. Strain had clearly injured himself in his jaunt up the pitch and although he soldiered on for another ten minutes he eventually had to be replaced by midfielder Gary Fleming – making his second appearance in goal for Kilwinning this season.
Kilwinning ended the half with a good move which saw Agnew strike just wide from the edge of the box but Pollok held a well-deserved lead at the interval.
The second half provided much less entertainment than the first. Pollok showing great discipline in maintaining their shape and although Kilwinning got more of a foothold in terms of possession they created few opportunities to test Lumsden. Their talisman, Carlo Monti, looked for any space he could find – first in his central role and then out wide – but the Pollok rear-guard kept a very close eye on him, doubling up when required.
As the game entered its later stages the Pollok substitutes Duff and Gary McCann where making good use of the wide pitch – especially down the right. And this was where the third Pollok goal was created with just under five minutes left. After a positive run by Duff he fed Gary McCann whose first cross was blocked but his second attempt was mishit by the injured David Syme which allowed the ball through to Stuart McCann who made no mistake in stabbing the ball home off the inside of the far post.
Pollok returned to the top of the league with this comprehensive victory secured with a very good performance both with and without the ball. They showed great spirit and the foundation of the victory was the excellent communication throughout the team. Encouraging, advising, prompting and cajoling were all in evidence and the whole squad can be proud of their display.
Goals from Mark Donnelly
85 mins -- Stuart McCANN makes it 3-0 to Lok.
H/t: 2-0 to Lok
25 mins: It’s a second for Adam FORDE! (2-0)
5 mins -- Adam FORDE has Lok ahead early on!