Cumbernauld United 1-1 Pollok (Pollok win 4-2 on penalties)
Central League Cup
Guys Meadow, Wednesday 19th April 2017
Pollok began their defence of the Central League Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory over hosts Cumbernauld United after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
‘Lok started brightly and almost took an early lead when Chris Walker’s head glanced a Liam Rowan cross onto the crossbar.
Tam Hanlon pulled a free-kick wide for Pollok before Cumbernauld had their first chance of the game, Stewart Nicoll’s cross from the left-wing was met by Jamie Watson’s head at the back post, Jordan Longmuir in the visiting goal pulling off a superb save.
A mazy run from Scott McHaffie resulted in a shot which was more straightforward for the Pollok number one, though he was beaten in the 34th minute. Michael McLaughlin sent in a corner to the front post where Paddy McCabe was on hand to flick home.
Pollok responded with the final attempts on goal in the half, both coming the way of Michael Daly, neither threatening home custodian David Buchanan.
Buchanan was tested in the opening exchanges of the second period and passed with flying colours, denying Liam Rowan after Allan MacKenzie’s through ball.
McLaughlin then found himself in the thick of the action, sending in a long range bouncer which was gathered by Longmuir, and then less than a minute later conceding a penalty for impeding Daly as the striker was getting set to the pull the trigger.
The Cumbernauld man picked up a booking and an injury which ended his game, and then to rub salt in his wounds Kieran McAleenan stepped up to despatch the spot kick into the postage stamp corner.
Each side were over the bar with their next sighters, Scott Murphy for ‘Nauld and Rowan for ‘Lok.
Murphy got a lot closer with his next drive though, firing low and forcing Longmuir to palm the ball wide, Tony Stevenson fizzing over from the resultant flag kick.
The visitors’ last effort of note came via Hanlon, who was unable to generate enough power on a bobbling ball to trouble Buchanan significantly.
Two shots from distance from Murphy closed out the the game for the homesters, one sailing over, one well taken by Longmuir.
In the penalty shoot-out Murphy finally beat Longmuir, but McAleenan replicated his penalty during the 90 minutes to restore parity. Watson hit the bar and Nicoll scooped over as United missed their next two, while Hanlon and Robbie Winters gave ‘Lok a 3-1 advantage to put the pressure on Billy Robb.
Robb beat Longmuir despite the ‘keeper getting a hand to the ball, leaving Rowan the opportunity to seal his side’s place in the next round, which he duly took.
Cumbernauld United:- Buchanan, Sullivan, Nicoll, Robb, Hewitt (16: McGuigan 25), McHaffie, Higgins, McLaughlin (14: Murphy 51), Watson, Stevenson (15: Dickson 78), McCabe
Subs not used:- 12: Tiffney, 17: Foley
Goal:- McCabe (34)
Booking:- Murphy (50)
Pollok:- Longmuir, Evans, Sideserf, Gallacher (16: R. Winters 81), Walker, McStay, Hanlon, Rowan, Daly, MacKenzie (15: D. Winters 81), McAleenan
Subs not used:- 12: McCabe, 14: Williamson, 17: Hepburn
Goal:- McAleenan (51 pen)
Bookings:- Hanlon (34), Evans (38), McStay (90 + 2)