Pollok continued what is going to be a very busy week with a 2nd round Sectional League Cup tie against Clydebank on Monday night. Despite the quick turnaround from Saturday’s win over Troon in the league the manager only made two changes to the team which finished Saturday’s game – Forde in up front and Longmuir given some game time in goal. With the McCann brothers off celebrating a joyous new arrival to the family the selected eleven looked to carry on from where they left off on Saturday.
Despite a couple of early efforts from Forde it was Clydebank who took an early lead. A clever ball through the inside right channel had Hepburn one on one with an outrushing Jordan Longmuir. The former Pollok man dinked the ball over the keeper whose momentum meant he caught the striker. Danny Boyle showed great awareness and athleticism to clear the ball off the line but it was to no avail. The referee deemed Longmuir’s challenge illegal and awarded a penalty. The penalty was despatched into the top right hand corner by Nicky Little – another ex-Pollok man – giving Longmuir no chance.
Pollok had slightly more in the possession stakes but as the half progressed Clydebank always looked dangerous on the break. For Pollok Morton just failed to connect properly with a cross at the back post and Clydebank had a shot straight at Longmuir after capitalising on a poor clearance. A disappointing half ended with a number of yellow cards – as the referee clamped down on some poorly timed challenges.
The second half was similar to the first. Clydebank were looking very dangerous on the break whilst the play was becoming increasingly fractious and fiery. The yellow cards kept on coming and it started to seem inevitable that a red was on the horizon.
Shaun Fraser went close for Pollok with a low angled drive which Dallas just failed to connect with at the back post whilst Longmuir was kept occupied with a couple of routine saves.
Hepburn left the pitch to warm applause from both sets of fans on the hour mark as Pollok stepped up their search for an equaliser with a switch to a 4-3-3 formation. From a corner the Pollok players were already appealing for a penalty when Shelvey fell on the ball and appeared to gather it in with his hand. Chris Dallas despatched the ball from the penalty spot into exactly the same top corner as Nicky Little had found in the first half and the tie was level. Both teams had just over ten minutes to find a winner.
And it was Clydebank who came closest with Longmuir being required to pull off a number of quality saves including a superb reflex save from a close range shot. The by now expected red card arrived with a few minutes remaining as Danny Boyle picked up a second yellow and Pollok saw out the rest of the game with 10 men.
So as the sun set the tie was decided by penalties. After a successful first round of penalties – Esplin scored for Pollok – Duff saw his effort saved to allow Clydebank into the lead and the driving seat after the 2nd round. But from that point on it all went Pollok’s way with Henry (rather fortuitously as the keeper got a lot on it) and Dallas both converting whilst McClair hit the bar and Munro saw his effort saved for Clydebank. That left the way clear for Shaun Fraser to slam home the winning penalty and then he appeared to have to explain to his teammates it was all over before the celebrations could begin in earnest.
So the fans went home having seen the ball hit the back of the net 8 times and all 8 shots hit from exactly the same spot on the pitch. The home fans could look forward to a quarter final tie with Kilsyth, the away fans could look back on a missed opportunity and feel more than a little unlucky it wasn’t their team in the quarter finals.
Goals and shootout highlights from Davie Brown and Mark Donnelly
Match highlights from Davie Brown & Mark Donnelly
Lok win the shootout 4-2!
Full-time… it’s penalties!
Lok see out the game with 10 men following a second yellow for Danny Boyle.
80 -- A Chris DALLAS penalty has Lok level! (1-1)
A 9th minute penalty by Nicky Little has the Bankies ahead.