Emirates Scottish Junior Cup 3rd round
Sat 24th November, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
POLLOK 1 (1)
GLENAFTON LOCKED OUT OF THE SCOTTISH
Former Glens defender Stevie Reilly bulleted home a seventh minute header to put the visitors ahead and later masterminded a ‘backs-to-the-wall performance’ by the Pollok defence as they repelled wave after wave of Glenafton raids to ensure the Glasgow side progressed to the next round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup.
Pollok made the early running with some purposeful passing as crisp as the New Cumnock November air. On three minutes Ross Hepburn filled his lungs and burst through the middle of the park before feeding Carlo Monti wide on the left and after a touch or two he slotted the ball to the corner of the six yard box where home keeper Ally Semple brought the move to an end with a brave save at the feet of Willie Sawyers. Three minutes later Semple had no chance when Steven Reilly attacked a Pollok corner-kick and was almost vertical at the near post when he powered a header high into the net at the opposite corner.
Glenafton responded well and enjoyed good periods of pressing play with Paul Murphy exerting his presence in the middle of the park. However the home side, like their counterparts, were finding it hard to carve out clear cut chances until the closing stages of the half.
On 39 minutes, yet another Glens’ corner kick generated a scramble in the six yard box. The ball eventually emerged from a heap of fallen bodies to Richie McKillen who tried to guide it home only for keeper Steven McNeil to get a sliding foot to the ball and send it back into the mix where it was pounced upon by Murphy and although his shot avoided the mass of mixed shirts the ball crashed off the top-side of the bar.
Four minutes later a long ball launched up-field by McNeil was misjudged by the Glens’ central defenders and a grateful Sawyers snapped up the ball but with only the keeper to beat the striker fluffed his shot woefully wide of target. Back came the home side to force back-to-back corners which concluded with a Danny Mitchell drive through a ruck of players from 12 yards being cleared by an alert Stuart Mills with McNeil boxed in. H/T Glens 0 Pollok 1
Glenafton quickly took command of the game as Murphy and Craig Potter dominated the middle of the park and Paul McKenzie’s switch to the right side created a lucrative route to getting behind the Pollok defence.
Two minutes into the new half McNeil did well to hold a Ryan McChesney header as John Paul Boyle waited to pounce on any spillage. The keeper then was at full stretch as a Gareth Armstrong shot from the far side of the penalty box slipped just past the post. The home side continued to push but struggled to make the most of the set pieces won on the outskirts of the box. In popular parlance Pollok all but ‘parked the Doig’s bus’ with Reilly the man at the wheel as he steered his defence in keeping the Glens at bay. Another drive from Armstrong and a strike from Danny Mitchell each whizzed wide of target as did a snapshot from McKenzie after he had nicked the ball from Monti and skipped past Peter McMahon into the box.
Midway through the half the visitors conjured up some respite with Sawyers whipping a shot across the face of goal and seconds later latch onto a clever ball from Monti and fire for goal only for Semple to pull off a stunning save to push the ball over the bar.
One way traffic to McNeil’s goal resumed and on 71 minutes the home side’s appeal for a spot kick, after a Potter cut-back appeared to strike the hand of Reilly, went unheeded. A minute later McKenzie menaced his way into the box and his ball into the six yard box eluded Armstrong by inches to be gathered safely by McNeil. Second half substitute John Dempster then released McKenzie wide in the box and the midfielder’s cut back was helped on its way by the incoming Dempster on the six yard line hoping to find Danny Mitchell only for the alert Ross Dunlop to nip in and clear the danger. Craig Menzies was next to power his way into the ‘Lok box but was locked out by Jonathan Carter.
On 78 minutes the visitors’ defence enjoyed a brief breather when substitute Tony Fraser played an excellent one-two with Monti to get the Glens bye-line but there were no takers for his cut-back across the goalmouth. Back came Glenafton chiefly through McKenzie down the right which yielded corner after corner each of which typically initiated a scramble in the box before Reilly & Co. cleared their lines. With four minutes of regulation of time remaining Dempster outleaped Reilly to power a header towards McNeil’s top left hand corner only for the keeper to get airborne and get a strong hand to the ball and push it wide of corner – a fantastic save! Glenafton continued to peg Pollok back but the Glasgow side stood firm to secure their place in the fourth round. FT Glens 0 Pollok 1
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, G.Mitchell, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter (Colligan), Murphy, D.Mitchell; Armstrong , Boyle (Dempster). Subs Cochrane, Dunsmuir (gk)
Pollok: McNeil, Dunlop, McMahon, Carter, Reilly, McGinty (Miller) , Mills (McArdle), Hepburn, Sawyers, McQuilken (Fraser), Monti; subs: McBride, MacKay.