Ardagh Group West of Scotland Cup Second Round


POLLOK 1 (Troon won 4-2 on penalties)

By Christopher Dodds

TROON gaffer Jimmy Kirkwood was beaming with delight as his side dumped Pollok out of the Ardagh Group West of Scotland Cup 2nd round at a blustery Portland Park on Saturday afternoon holding their nerve in the dreaded penalty shootout winning 4-2 after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

The Seasiders took advantage of Pollok’s lacklustre start to the game when Jamie Martin’s darting run from the left hand side saw him get inside his full back and into the box. After feeling a strong pull of his shirt he fell to the ground leaving ref Calum Scott no option but to point to the spot. Ryan Stevenson stepped up and fired the ball into the bottom left hand corner beyond Jordan Longmuir four minutes in.

Midway through the first half, Bryan Young was played in by Stefan McCluskey’s ball from the left hand side and his goal-bound shot from the edge of the area was heroically headed off the line by Lewis Clark.

With 20 minutes to go Stevenson saw his shot from 25 yards fly wide of the goal after a great counter attack from the home side

Pollok drew level in 83 minutes. The lively McCluskey and substitute Adam Forde combined at the edge of the Troon box with a neat one two, McCluskey found the space on the right hand side, he opened up his body and fired across Scott Johnstone into the far corner from the angle.

With the match level after 90 minutes Scott Johnstone stepped up and saved Troon in the penalty shootout. Saving Jamie Henry’s well hit spot-kick headed for the bottom left corner and unnerving McCluskey who could only smack the upright.

This left Dan Mckay, Ryan Stevenson, captain Dean Keenan and Dylan Pooler to send Troon through.

Kirkwood said later: “We’ve had a few kicks in the last few weeks, with the bad defeat here to Hurlford and then conceding a 94th minute goal last week at Beith after matching them for the full game. Today we used that as a platform to get ourselves back together and coped with the conditions really well as the wind was swirling about and causing a few problems. We came in as 5/1 underdogs, I think we’re nowhere near a 5/1 team and proved that. We matched Pollok for long spells and our work rate, shape and togetherness really helped combat that, I'm delighted for the boys, they showed great character and deserved that. Ryan Stevenson has came in and his experience his paramount for us, his fitness isn’t at its best but when he’s playing and on the ball he’s vital in games like this, always making something happen and helping the boys tick. He’s a great player to have in the squad

“We came into the league just to stay in it, we were under no illusions thinking we were going to win it. The West of Scotland Cup and the Scottish Cup are two cups we could realistically go for because at the end of the day we don’t know who we’re going to be drawn against, these games are really important for us and we always want to progress as deep into the competitions as possible and even get to the final and maybe win it. Today’s performance shows a lot of character especially to go and win the penalty shootout, we had three u19s in our squad today, we were down to the bare bones and the boys came together and pulled through with a great performance."

TROON: Johnstone, McCreadie, Sherrie, Clark, Strachan, Chatham, Murphy, Keenan, Stevenson, Pooler, Martin. Subs: McKay, Love, Reid, Crawford, McCloy.