Pollok 1 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0
With both teams desperate for league points for contrasting reasons; Pollok to continue their push for the championship; the Glens to halt the free-fall into the relegation zone; and with the Newlandsfield pitch looking lush and fresh, the scene was set for a game of cup-tie proportions.
The game did indeed start off like a cup-tie, not of the thrilling variety but more of a nervy semi-final with both sides negating each others offensive offerings in a packed midfield and both struggling to take advantage of a playing surface that many bowling clubs would be proud of.
In a half of a few clear cut chances, Pollok were first to go close when a high looping header from the edge of the box bounced off the top of the Glens cross-bar. The Glens began to shade it terms of possession with Joe Carruth and Craig Bingham combining well on a number of occassions to get the ball into the Pollok penalty box, where Stevie Mallan was often crowded out before finding space for a shot at goal.
Stevie Mallan gets a helping hand
The home fans were getting increasingly frustrated at Gavin Friels' inability to beat the Glens offside trap and the Pollok centre took his own frustration out on Joe Carruth with a kick at his heels; minutes later Carruth was lucky to survive another more threatening tackle as Pollok tried to prevent another Glens attack being built from the back. It was from set-pieces that the Glens were having their only joy in bringing Pollok's likeable goalkeeper, Ian Wilson, into the game. However the corner kicks were not delivered with the same impact as those at Burgh last week; whilst free kicks from strikeable range were easily dealt with by Wilson.
Ten minutes from the close of the half and the Glens created their best chance from open play when Mallan and Brian Miller played a neat one-two to on the edge of the box, allowing Miller to evade his marker and strike the ball out of the reach of the advancing Wilson, but also wide of the goal.
Hands up if you think that's Gary Matthews behind the goal
As the half drew to a close Pollok won a corner on the right, Bingham rose above everyone to head the ball well out of the box and clear of the danger zone, only to see the ball being played back in an unconvincing manner but somehow 'Lok's Martin McLaughlin manage to guide the ball beyond Glens goalie Kevin Montgomery and into the net . Minutes later the Glens appeared to have got back into the game through Stevie Mallan, but the flag was up immediately and the goal didn't stand. Half-tiime Pollok 1 Glenafton 0
Pollok began the second half with a greater sense of purpose and were seen more as attacking force in the early encounters. However Friels continued to fall foul of the offside law but disappointingly his persistent fouling went unpunished as did his falling to the ground at the slightest contact.
Pollok Centre falls over again
It was left to Pollok's left back Chris Cruickshank to show his forwards the way forward. Impressive throughout the game, he burst up the left wing seemingly intent on reaching the goal-line, but cleverly cut inside the box before letting loose a shot of some power and great accuracy, forcing Montogomery into an acrobatic one-handed save, the keeper still in mid-flight when the rebound was fired just wide.
Craig Bingham would later force Wilson into a similar spectacular save in the Pollok goal, as the Glens once again began to take the upper hand in terms of possession. But Wilson like his counterpart at the other end of the pitch was not called upon to make any further saves of that quality in the remainder of the match. His long punts up the park would often give his defence some respite in preparation for another Glens attack but a much needed and perhaps deserved equaliser eluded them.
Once again the Glens can consider themselves unfortunate to take nothing from the game, apart from the belief that results will soon start to turn their way. As for Pollok, they may lack the flair and guile of their nearest challengers Arthurlie, but if they continue to grind out results in this manner, then it seems inevitable that a black and white saltire championship flag will be blowing in the wind at the imprressive Newlandsfield next season. Final Score : Pollok 1 Glenafton Athletic 0
Auchinleck 2 Kilwinning Rangers 2; Bellshill 1Larkhall 2 ;Cumnock 2 Troon 3; Renfrew 1 Johnstone Burgh 1
Watching me, watching you! Is that Lokette ????