Saturday 22 October 2016, 14.30, Newlandsfield Park
Scottish Junior Cup second round action between Pollok and Glentanar.
A first ever visit to Newlandsfield Park in the Newlands area in the southside of Glasgow. Opened in 1928, I’m guessing not much has changed in the intervening years. It’s a ground with character and just what you would expect from one of the top junior sides. It’s the first ground I’ve been at where there seemed to be a garden of sorts just after you enter through the turnstiles.
Pollok currently compete in the West of Scotland Super League Premier Division, the top league in the west in the Juniors.
Formed in 1908, Pollok are believed to have benefited from the demise of Third Lanark in 1967, with many supporters said to have opted to support Pollok, being in close proximity to the departed club. Pollok won their first major honour, the Scottish Junior Cup, in 1980-81 and repeated the feat in 1984-85 and 1996-97.
Relegation came in 2013-14, but they bounced back to gain promotion straight away, winning the league the following season. Last term saw them finish in 5th place and they will be hopeful of bettering that this season. In their six league games to date, they’ve got two of each, with wins, draws and defeats making up the six games.
Pollok have boosted their squad for the new season by signing defender Grant Evans from Irvine Meadow and forwards Michael Daly from Petershill and Gary McCann from Irvine Meadow.
Glentanar play their football in the North Region First Division East. They’re based in Woodside, an area of the city of Aberdeen. They’ve been members of the Scottish Junior Football Association since 1998. They haven’t had the greatest start to the season with only one win and one draw to show for their eight games so far. I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of Glentanar before deciding to come to this game, and there certainly isn’t a lot of information about the club online.
Both sides are entering the competition at this stage.
There were 551 in attendance as the game kicked off.
Pollok immediately took the game to their opponents and after forcing their second corner in the third minute, they had the ball in the net, but the flag was up for offside.
In 7 minutes, Pollok’s Hanlon complained to the linesman for being given offside. The flag bearer responded with “You were well off. You know it and I know it.” He followed this up by putting his finger to his lips in a ‘shushing’ motion to the Pollok manager on the other side of the pitch who was telling him that was third one he had got wrong.
The home side continued to come forward and McCann had a good run down the right in 13 minutes and found Hepburn. He had a sight of goal from the corner of the box and took a shot, but it went wide.
McCann was causing problems down the right and put a good cross to the back post in 14 minutes, which Winters headed back across goal, but the Glentanar defence managed to clear.
A minute later and a clever ball from Winters to Hepburn on the right beat the offside trap. Hepburn returned the ball back to Winters, but he didn’t make a good connection and the chance was gone.
There was a great chance for Pollok in 18 minutes when Sideserf’s ball in from the left took a slight deflection and came to Hepburn on the corner of the 6-yard box, but he sidefooted the ball wide.
Some sloppy play at the back by Pollok gave Glens their first glimpse of goal in 20 minutes, but Simpson’s strike from distance was high and wide.
In 21 minutes, Hepburn burst down the left for Pollok, and his cutback found midfielder McAleenan, but he blazed over the bar.
Pollok continued to make the running and in 22 minutes, Williamson picked out the run of McCann on the right. His ball across found Hepburn right in front of goal. He tried to take a touch, but caught it heavy and the ball trickled past the post with Hepburn, and the Glentanar keeper and defenders frantically trying to get there.
The chances were coming thick and fast for the Super League side and after Hepburn’s cross was punched away by Duncan in 24 minutes, Rowan tried to volley in from the edge of the box, but he sliced wide.
Duncan’s attempted clearance in 30 minutes was blocked by Hepburn, but the Glens keeper managed to recover the ball as the Pollok fans sang “shat it, shat it”.
With 33 minutes gone, Williamson found McCann on the right. The Pollok winger’s cross came right to Winter’s foot in the six-yard box but he somehow put it over the bar.
McCann must have been getting frustrated. He had put some great deliveries into the box and time after time, chances were missed.
In 42 minutes, McCann passed to Hanlon whose ball into the middle looked dangerous, but Sharp just managed to get a flick on it to turn it behind. The resultant corner was played short to Rowan whose curling effort came back off the bar before it was cleared.
McCann received the ball on the right for Pollok in 43 minutes and went past a defender before trying to cut the ball back into the middle. The pass was blocked and came back to McCann who slid the ball into the net to give his team the lead.
Just before the half time whistle, McCann played the ball forward to Hepburn who found Hanlon just inside the box. The right back strode forward and fired his shot over the bar, but was caught very late by Sharp. The referee gave a penalty and booked the defender.
Sideserf stepped up and hammered the ball into the corner to double the lead.
Pollok had completely controlled the half but a combination of heroic defending and their own poor finishing had made it look like the teams would be level at half time. Glentanar must have been gutted to get so close to half time with the scores all square only to lose two late goals.
Glentanar got a free kick in 48 minutes and Lawton punched clear, but collided with his team mate Gallacher and they both needed treatment before continuing.
A late tackle on Sideserf gave Pollok a free kick in 50 minutes which was taken by Hanlon. Despite the narrow angle, he went for goal and Duncan was at full stretch to push the ball away.
A nice exchange of passes by Glentanar in 54 minutes ended with Simpson shooting wide from outside the box. They had been restricted to efforts from outside the box throughout.
Pollok were still on top and were constantly creating chances. In 61 minutes Hanlon played the ball back to Rowan whose low shot took a deflection, but it went straight to Duncan.
Glentanar’s Flaherty seemed to have a kick at Hanlon in 64 minutes, but the referee made do with having a word.
A cross by Sideserf from the left in 66 minutes found Daly in the middle all on his own and he headed home to make it three nil.
McCann got through on the right in 72 minutes and as the Glens keeper came out, he dinked it over him, but it drifted wide of the goal.
Harrison, who had come on as sub for Glentanar in 67 minutes, had to go off injured in 76 minutes. A very short cameo.
In 77 minutes, MacKenzie went down in the Glentanar box. It looked a penalty from where I was, but the ref waved away his appeal.
Pollok were not to be denied their fourth though. Daly flicked the ball on in 84 minutes which sent MacKenzie through on goal. He drew the keeper before laying the ball across for fellow sub Daly to score his second of the afternoon.
A Pollok corner in 86 minutes was taken by Rowan and was met by the head of Walker, whose downward header was well blocked by Duncan with his feet.
Hanlon and McCann were very impressive on the right for Pollok. Gallacher and McCabe at the back didn’t give the Glens forwards a sniff of goal and looked very solid. A difficult afternoon for the team from Aberdeen, but Sharp did his best to hold things together at the back and Simpson showed some nice touches up front.
A good performance by Pollok who continued to try and pass the ball throughout. Glentanar didn’t give up and can be pleased with the effort they put in.
I must mention the small group of Pollok fans, who all appeared to be in fancy dress, who sang throughout and seemed to have sneaked at least one bottle of Buckfast in.
Full Time: Pollok 4 Glentanar 0
Pollok: 1 Ben Lawton, 2 Tam Hanlon, 3 Mark Sideserf, 4 Paul Gallacher (Walker 75), 5 Ross McCabe, 6 Liam Rowan, 7 Gary McCann, 8 Colin Williamson (MacKenzie 63), 9 David Winters (Daly 63), 10 Del Hepburn, 11 Kieran McAleenan. Subs: 12 Chris Walker, 14 Allan MacKenzie, 15 Michael Daly, 16 Grant Evans, 20 Jordan Longmuir.
Glentanar: 1 Reece Duncan, 2 Cameron Laird, 3 Connor Hunter (M Duncan 79), 4 Lee Sharp, 5 Greg Wood, 6 Jack Walker, 7 Greg Smart, 8 Matthew Milne, 9 Craig Simpson, 10 Lewis Dalgleish, 11 James Flaherty (Harrison 67) (Stephen 76). Subs: 12 Lewis Hamilton, 14 Sam Harrison, 15 Lewis Stephen, 16 Michael Duncan, 17 Grant Stephen.
Referee: Ryan Oliver