Match highlights from Mark Donnelly
Pollok welcomed league leaders Kilwinning Rangers on match-day fourteen of the McBookie West Premiership. With Pollok’s injury woes showing no signs of abating there were two changes from the previous weeks win at Linlithgow. Both were enforced with the McCann brothers – both taken off injured the previous Saturday – replaced by Duff and Forde in McKinnon’s starting eleven. The lack of available bodies was highlighted by having a trialist on the bench.
It was a first game at Newlandsfield for six weeks and the referee clearly couldn’t wait. He blew his whistle a couple of minutes early as the crowd continued to trickle in. The late arrivals missed little as the two sides settled into the game.
In the seventh minute a free kick into the box was sliced by the Kilwinning defender and Gallacher couldn’t quite manage to loop his header over the goalkeeper.
Neither team was able to create a clear cut chance until a fast break by Kilwinning in the fifteenth minute. Monti controlled the ball expertly and fed Agnew down the right wing. His measured cross found the diving head of Lewis and he forced Lumsden into a great save. Pollok responded five minutes later with a lightning break of their own. Fraser won the ball in the left back area and got his head up to play an accurate pass to Forde. A great couple of touches took him past his marker and heading for the Kilwinning goal. With a couple of defenders in his way he fed the onrushing Duff in the inside left channel and his powerfully struck effort was palmed away for a corner by Markey.
In the twenty fifth minute Pollok’s injury list lengthened. Frye went clattering into Barron in the middle of the park. Frye got a yellow card, Barron appeared to suffer a potentially serious arm injury. He was replaced by Sideserf with MacKenzie moving into midfield.
After McCloskey picked up a yellow card for a foul on Duff – with the player himself gutted that advantage wasn’t played – Forde fired the free kick just over the bar. With half time approaching Forde was again involved. He produced a great bit of hold up play before hooking a pass to MacKenzie. His first time through ball was chased by Fraser but the onrushing Markey got there first. His clearance fell to Esplin on the half way line who tried his luck at the empty goal but his effort drifted wide.
Pollok’s overworked physio was required to return to the pitch from the pavilion where he was treating Barron to attend to Russell who had taken a hefty challenge. Fortunately he was able to continue after treatment.
With Pollok shooting up the hill in the second half they started to dominate. Duff cut in from the right and unleashed a low left foot shot towards the bottom corner. The keeper got down to parry and then did superbly to get up and beat away Russell’s on target effort with the rebound.
On sixty minutes it was the Kilwinning physios turn to be overworked. Having tended to their right winger he was immediately called to the other side of the pitch to deal with what looked a serious injury to McCloskey. After lengthy treatment from both physios and management from both benches offering their support he was carried from the field to be replaced by McGowan.
With Pollok still slightly on top it was therefore against the run of play that Kilwinning took the lead in the seventy second minute. A challenge by Gallacher twenty two yards out where he appeared to get the ball was deemed a foul by the referee. Monti stepped up and curled a beauty over the wall and into the top right hand corner.
Dallas replaced Russell as Pollok went in search of an equaliser but despite having most of the possession the closest they came was a looping Fraser header from a Sideserf cross which went just over the bar with Markey beaten. A penetrating run by Duff was then crudely halted on the edge of the box but Forde’s free kick was blocked before it could trouble the keeper.
After a disappointing October for Pollok, November started in similar fashion. The squad has been stretched to breaking point – particularly in midfield – and it is to be hoped that those missing return soon and a morale boosting run of victories is just around the corner. Peter Thomson