NEWLANDSFIELD played host to one of the most intense games of the season on Saturday and in the end Pollok were left to reflect on what might have been after narrowly losing out 2-1 against Auchinleck Talbot.

There’s no denying that had the visiting team taken their chances they would have won at something of a canter.

But equally if only Tony McInally’s side had performed as well over 90 minutes as they did second half then all might not have been lost.

The Pollok gaffer said: "You simply cannot give the a top Premiership side like Talbot two goals of a start and expect to take something out of the game.

“Their first goal is from a corner where our marking has been negligent and they have scored again from a needless challenge made on one of their players who is running out of our penalty box.

“It was an incredibly soft penalty award because it looked like two players coming together and I felt our claims late in the game when Ryan McGregor is taken out when going for a cross ball were more deserving yet were waved away.

“That’s how the breaks are going for us right now but showing more of the same character and commitment as we did second half today will see things looking up.

Macca added: “We had a number of players missing but on the plus side Sean Fraser did well in his first game back after injury, so did Mark Sideserf and also Danny McKenzie making his debut and having to play out of position.

“Mark Shankland has been in sensational form down the left flank for Talbot this season so we felt it best not to throw in one of the Under 21 lads but to ask Danny to play at right-back instead and it’s a mark of how effective he was that Shankland was hardly seen and ended up being substituted.”

Auchinleck were the more driven of the two teams from kick-off and should have scored inside the opening minutes when Graham Wilson's flick at a driven left-wing cross carried wide of the far post when it looked easier to score.

The busy striker was not to be denied for long because an 11th-minute corner kick saw him react quickest when team-mate Gordon Pope’s downward header bounced up invitingly for Wilson to nod home from no more than a couple of yards out.

Lok keeper Jordan Longmuir made fine saves to stop Calvin Kemp and Wilson as well as superbly touching away a netbound deflection off team-mate Paul Gallagher however he was to be picking the ball out of his net again in the 40th minute.

A Shankland through ball was latched onto by Wilson whose going to ground under the challenge of the chasing Gary McCann had whistler Chris Graham pointing to the spot and the Talbot hitman gleefully belted the ball home for a 2-0 scoreline.

Wilson admitted afterwards: "I could and should have scored more goals today but notching a couple makes taking all the bumps and bruises worthwhile and I’m happier still that we have won the game.”

Pollok reduced their deficit with an early second-half score. Bryan Young’s brave diving header from a right-wing cross was only kept out by the oustretched hand of Talbot goalkeeper Andy Leishman whose heroics were to no avail as the inrushing Fraser hammered the loose ball home for 2-1.

Talbot frontman Kemp came close to regaining his side’s two-goal advantage on a couple of occasions and Dwayne Hyslop headed the ball against the outside of the post from another corner, however the second period was territorially dominated by Pollok – albeit they never worked an opening to test the giant Leishman.

Nevertheless, the constant pressure combined with their side’s slender lead had Talbot’s support on edge heading into the closing stages and the final whistle was greeted with relief.

Bot boss Tommy Sloan said: "We got off to a good start but I don’t think we did well enough in terms of putting the game to bed and I wanted us to be better than that.

“Pollok have then got themselves back into the game with an early second-half goal but our overall response has been good with the defence solid and our two strikers Graham and Calvin looking very bright.

“Newlandsfield is always a difficult venue so I’m delighted with the result.”

Elsewhere, there was no let-up from Hurlford United as the early-season league leaders made it seven wins out of seven with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Cambuslang Rangers thanks to goals from Ross Robertson, Jamie Hilton and a double from Liam Caddis.

The result maintained the Ayrshiremen’s five-point lead over nearest challengers Clydebank for whom Cammy McLair and Nikky Little were on the mark as the Bankies took full advantage of Glenafton midfielder Findlay Frye’s red card to run out 2-0 winners at Loch Park.

Cumnock are up to fourth after Paul Burns scored the only goal at home to Troon while two points further adrift are Kilwinning Rangers after midfielder Carlo Monti netted a brace to earn a share of the spoils against a Beith side that had forged a 2-0 lead at Abbey Park through goals from Peter Haggarty and Connor McGlinchey.

Ryan Hynes was the match-winner as Kilbirnie Ladeside saw off Rob Roy 1-0 and Petershill lost 4-1 at home to Largs Thistle, for whom Scott Adam, Kevin Struthers (pen), Blair Docherty and John Carter were on target, with Lewis Crawford scoring for the Peasy.

Renfrew clambered off the foot of the table and leapfrogged opponents Irvine Meadow with a 5-1 victory at New Western Park despite having Thomas Miller sent off along with backroom duo Martin Ferry and Davie Gordon.

David McKenna, Ricky McIntosh, Richard Henry, Miller and Jason Hardie netted to chalk up the Frew’s first league win of the season while Stuart Boyd (pen) grabbed a consolation for Medda, who had Colin Spence sent off late in the game after collecting two yellow cards.