Spartans 1 Pollok 0

Posted on Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Senior side Spartans scored a major victory, not only for themselves but for the East of Scotland League against Pollok. The standard of football was affected by the wintry weather conditions as rain and wind battered the exposed City Park ground. Expectations seemed to favour the junior side however Spartans didn’t just win the tie, over the 180 minutes played they were the better team. Pollok manager Sinnet’s comments in the Evening Times the night before really didn’t come close to reality against a team that had a “stronger” side out than last week.

Spartans changed to a 4-4-2 formation. Hoskins was replaced by Preston in the line up as Fowlie moved to left back, O’Donnell to right back and Archibald moved into the centre.

Nicky Walker had the first clear shot at goal in the 10th minute. He ran passed the Pollok defence and into the box however his weak shot was easily collected by the Junior Keeper.

In 15 minutes great play from Kader and Walker on the right wing saw the former Stirling Albion striker cross the ball deep into the box. As the ball bounced it was hit by Henretty who shot high over the bar.

Two minutes later Walker shot over from about 16 yards. The Ball played in from a corner to the back post. O’Donnell controlled it then over head kicked it back into the centre where it was met by Walker. The lightening quick striker chose power of placement and the ball flew up into the wind.

On 20 minutes the game ignited as Walker lay on the floor following a challenge from the Pollok midfield. The referee calmed the situation down without producing any cards. This wasn’t an attitude he was to keep for the afternoon.

Just before half time Flockhart made an excellent diving save from a corner to ensure the score was level at half time.

Within a minute of the second half Pollok had a great chance to score. A cross was only punched clear by Flockhart and the ball fell to a Pollok midfielder who blasted the ball high over the bar.

In the 49th minute Walker raced away from the Pollok defenders, rounded the keeper and shot for goal. The junior side though had enough time to clear it away with the hard working Preston only inches away from tapping in the shot.

Walker then collected the ball on the right and took it on a run which saw him pass 3 defenders only for the Keeper to foil his plans by saving his eventual shot.

In the 53rd minute the referee’s book finally opened, once it had it seemed it wasn’t going to be closed again for the afternoon. Dingwall for Pollok was booked first followed by Fowlie and King for Spartans only a few minutes later.

On 70 minutes Struan Preston, carrying a slight knock was replaced by Darryl Devlin as Lawson and Lynch looked to find the winning goal.

A few minutes later though, the away side had a shout for a penalty as the young sub, Devlin, appeared to handle the ball inside the box. The referee waved play on much to the annoyance of the visitors.

On 78 minutes Gerrard was book for a high, hard challenge as both sides were pushing for the winner.

It looked like we were heading for extra time and potential penalties until the 85th minute. A high ball was played forward and the two Pollok centre halves collided allowing the ball to break to Walker who was able to stroll forward unchallenged and place the ball perfectly into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

The Spartans bench and fans went wild.

As Pollok pushed, looking for an equaliser the referee’s book was called into action again. This time the first showing of a red card to Pollok midfielder Miller for a wild, late challenge on Walker.

The Pollok Keeper was booked for dissent then Walker was book for a challenge on the keeper only seconds later.

In the final minute of the game King was shown his second yellow card and a red for a late challenge in the centre of the park after he had lost the ball. This however was the final piece of real action in the game as the referee blew the full time whistle much to the delight of the Spartans support who will be looking forward to a trip to visit old friends Annan in the next round.

Motm: Ross Archibald – Ross moved in to the centre from his usual right back position and was phenomenal at the back. He and Gerrard worked very well together to ensure Pollok had very little chances at goal to talk of. An excellent strong performance that should give the Spartans management some welcomed selection headaches in the future. Special mention to Manson too, who played the whole match despite receiving a nasty cut on his head in the opening minutes. Perhaps he will have to ensure he has a wee bald patch on his head for every Scottish cup game!!

Team: Flockhart, Gerrard, Preston (Devlin), Archibald, Fowlie, O’Donnell, King, Kader, Walker, Manson, Henretty

Att: 640


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