For the second consecutive Saturday, Pollok took to the pitch at Newlandsfield in warm sunshine to welcome visitors from Ayrshire in the McBookie West Premier Division. The visitors were Troon and like Beith the week before helped draw in a respectable crowd of 605.
Pollok were looking to build on their impressive start to the season and secure a 3rd league win in 8 days after victories over Beith and Rossvale. The game started slowly with both teams looking to get the ball down and pass but finding it difficult to penetrate solid looking back fours. Gallacher saw a long range effort sting the palms of Troon keeper Johnstone and Duff had a hooked effort drift just wide. For Troon, Fulton was showing a willingness to run at the Pollok defence but they were unable to seriously test Lumsden in goal.
Just as the sunshine turned to showers in the 26th minute Jordan Morton strode on to a square pass and let fly with a ferocious left foot shot from 25 yards. The ball dipped and swerved before finding the top left hand corner. Johnstone – so often the breaker of Pollok hearts in recent seasons – couldn’t keep this one out.
As the game approached half time Pollok remained in the ascendancy and Troon’s Montgomerie picked up a yellow card for his illegal stopping of a dangerous Pollok attack. From the resulting free kick Danny Boyle headed down and as the defender went to clear Ian Russell nipped in and got to the ball first. The defender was already committed and could do nothing to stop himself from catching Russell. The referee pointed instantly to the spot and Russell stepped up to confidently bury the penalty in the bottom right hand corner.
With a 2-0 half time lead Pollok replaced Jamie Henry – who had taken a knock – with Shaun Fraser for the start of the 2nd half. Despite shooting up the hill Pollok started the half very much on the front foot as they looked to take the game out of Troon’s reach. Some free flowing, attacking football was now carving out several decent chances with Morton hitting one just over the bar and Johnstone being forced into excellent saves with his feet to keep Pollok out.
On the hour mark Russell was replaced by Dallas. The former Queen of the South man left the field to warm applause from the home support after a performance full of intelligent touches and pleasing teamwork.
Morton was continuing to demand possession and was making things happen when he got it. One sublime piece of control with his left foot got him to the bye line and his dangerous right footed cut back was cleared by a Troon defence which was now getting a real work out. The pressure eventually told after a good run by Duff got his team up the park. He initially lost possession but when it was quickly regained he found himself with space on the right hand side of the box. His low driven cross was in that corridor of uncertainty for the goalkeeper and the defence and with Dallas poised to slot home Troon centre-half, McGregor, had little choice but to go for the ball. Unfortunately for him he could only divert the ball into his own net. There were 65 minutes on the clock and points were all but secured for the home side.
Pollok continued to press forward when the opportunities arose and when Boyle broke up a Troon attack on the edge of his own box he looked up and launched a searching long ball into the Troon half which a grateful Stuart McCann ran on to. He steadied himself before laying on a perfect cross for his strike partner Dallas to slot home.
A frustrated Ryan Stevenson was substituted with ten minutes to go. He’d had little impact on proceedings but this was due to a disciplined and efficient Pollok rear-guard rather than any lack of effort or skill on Troon’s part. They had just come up against a better side on the day.
Morton’s goal alone would possibly have been worthy of the Man of The Match award but his all-round performance marked him out as the star man on a day when Pollok had no failures. The early sunshine may have been replaced by rain come the end but it definitely wasn’t enough to wipe the smiles from the faces of the Newlandsfield faithful as their side ensured they remained top of the league for another week.
Match Reporter: Peter Thomson
Goals from Davie Brown & Mark Donnelly
Match highlights from Davie Brown & Mark Donnelly
90 -Some Lok bookings picked up in the closing stages, for Duff and Fraser.
79 – Sub Chris DALLAS makes it 4-0, Stuart McCann with the assist!
76 – Final Lok change – Coutts on for McLauchlan.
67 – An OG from Neil MCGREGOR makes it 3-0 to Lok!
62 – Iain Russell makes way for Chris Dallas.
46 – Second half is underway
40 – Iain RUSSELL has Lok 2-0 ahead from the penalty spot.
25 – Goal! Lok ahead with an impressive Jordan MORTON finish!
24 – Paul Gallacher picks up an early booking for Lok
Newlands Tennis Club, today’s sponsors, picked Jordan Morton as Man of the Match!