Mighty Take Point Thanks To Last Gasp Equaliser

Pollok 2 Beith 2

Report by Robbie Sanderson

A repeat scoreline from last season’s fixture saw the points once again shared after a scrappy but entertaining affair at Newlandsfield with a late fight back from Beith and a dramatic last gasp equaliser wiping out the host two goal lead.

Beith started the better of the two and the home defence were relieved to scramble away an inviting Christie cross in the first minute just before Paul Frize could get a touch. As the game settled the hosts first attempt saw Bryan Young shooting over the bar from 22 yards.

Lok began to win more possession in midfield and forward Stefan McCluskey appealed for a penalty when he was tackled in the Beith box, but the Referee was uninterested. Beith were further relieved to see Niang make a hash of a free header when he got on the end of a corner. Play continued to swing from one end to the other and Niang did well in a defensive role to pressure Nicky Docherty to head over from a corner.

On the half hour mark Beith keeper Stephen Grindlay was forced to make a fine save to stop a McCluskey header and the danger was cleared by the quick reactions of Nicky Docherty. There was little between the sides as the half wore on with half chances coming and going at both ends but the hosts couldn’t have come closer to opening the scoring minutes before the interval when the dangerous McCluskey found space on the edge of the box to squeeze in a shot that beat Grindlay but rebounded off the base of the post.

Pollok looked the sharper of the two sides after the restart with McCluskey again proving the main threat. Grindlay made another fine stop to deny him as he broke forward quickly before he put his side ahead on the hour mark. Darren Christie, helping in defence, took a poor touch on the edge of the box allowing McCluskey to steal possession and the winger brought him down with a clumsy challenge from behind. Bryan Wharton duly tucked away the spot kick.

Beith made personnel changes to try to respond but all appeared lost when sub Joe Bradley gave the ball away cheaply and with his side caught going forward the ball was swept wide to Stuart McCann who found the bottom corner with a smart finish.

The visitors battled away but found young Lok keeper Johnson in fine form touching over a top corner bound Nicky Docherty header. With a gamble now being taken throwing men forward gaps were inevitably left at the back and Conor McGlinchey somehow managed to clear a Gary McCann effort off the line after Darren Christie had again lost possession.

Pollok then turned their focus on running down the clock at every opportunity and then found themselves reduced to 10 men for the last 9 minutes when, as he did in same fixture last year, Grant Evans stupidly collected a second yellow card. There still looked little hope for Beith until Darren Christie atoned for earlier errors when he cut in from the left and from 20 yards out fired a brilliant shot into the top corner with four minutes left.

Beith clearly now felt something was possible and with the game in time added on by the Ref, principally for time wasted, they got the ball into the box and from the ensuing scramble Paul Frize managed to force the ball home. The shell-shocked hosts had to defend another corner as Beith now chased the unlikeliest of wins, but the Lok keeper coped well under severe pressure.

Pollok: Johnson, Evans, Byrne, Wharton, Sideserf, Niang, G McCann, Young, S McCann, Forde, McCluskey. Subs: Brash, Hepburn, Rowan, Little, Gormley.

Beith: Grindlay, McGlinchey, N Docherty, MacDonald, R Docherty, Martin, Christie, Frize, Collins, McLean, Burke. Subs: McPherson, Reid, Bradley, Wilson.

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