Pollok lift title and cup to end on a season high

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Pollok ended their season on a high as two wins in four days ensured the Cup Winners’ Cup would find a resting place at Newlandsfield Park for the next 12 months.

First up on Wednesday was a thrilling penalty shootout win after a 2-2 draw with Premier League and Scottish Junior Cup winners Auchinleck Talbot.

It was the ‘Bot who took the lead after quarter of an hour when an incisive passing move carved the ‘Lok rearguard open allowing Dwayne Hyslop to prod the ball past ‘Lok custodian Jordan Longmuir.

The homesters equalised in the early exchanges of the second period after what looked like a soft penalty award. Hanlon stepped up to blast past Leishman, despite the big goalkeeper guessing the right way.

Talbot were reduced to 10 men soon after when Derek McCulloch was sent to the pavilion by Craig Napier after an altercation with Davie Winters.

Almost immediately Pollok took advantage of their numerical superiority, Allan MacKenzie being set free on the bye-line to send a cross to the back post which Robbie Winters was on hand to head home.

The visitors were then given an excellent chance to restore parity when they were awarded a soft looking penalty of their own. Longmuir, not for the last time, was the hero, guessing right to keep his side in the lead.

The respite was only temporary, though, poor ‘Lok defending from a free kick from out wide allowing Graham Wilson time to bring the ball down and net from close range.

The score would remain on level terms until the final whistle, mainly thanks to the performance of Longmuir who produced a string of ‘worldies’ to keep the ‘Bot out, and send the game to penalties.

Mark Shankland was first up for Talbot, his spot-kick rebounded off the bar to give Pollok the advantage straight away. The next five penalties were netted, before a miss each from either side meant that Auchinleck legend Colin Spence, in his last appearance for the club, was given the task of keeping his side in the competition. Unfortunately for Spence, there was no fairytale ending as Longmuir made his third penalty stop of the night, and sent Pollok into the final where they will faced Blantyre Victoria.

‘Lok skipper John Sweeney tested Vics goalkeeper Kevin Macklin with a free kick in the opening exchanges before his chipped through ball set up the opener. Despite Blantyre protestations of offside, Robbie Winters ran through to lob sublimely over the advancing Macklin.

It would be the 50th minute when Blantyre restored parity, Fraser Malcolm finishing low into the corner with an angled drive.

They had a perfect chance to take the lead in the 71st minute after Galt was felled by Jamie Darroch in the box. Mark Thomson took the resultant spot kick, only to be denied by Longmuir, the ‘Lok goalie’s fourth penalty stop of the competition.

Pollok were awarded a penalty of their own three minutes later after a scramble in the area led to a handball on the ground. Davie Winters sent Macklin the wrong way for his 33rd, and penultimate, goal of the season.

It is perhaps fitting that Winters should have completed the ‘Lok’s scoring for the season, his deft finish the icing on the cake of a lovely team move securing a 3-1 win and the trophy for his team.