Dalkeith CYP and Pollok Juveniles served up a Scottish Cup tie to remember, on a mild Autumn afternoon in Midlothian. The home side raced into an early lead courtesy of Tyron McLean, but Pollok hit back immediately through Andy McAllion. Dalkeith took the initiative, racing into a 3-1 lead courtesy of goals from Scott Waugh and David Liddle, before Andy McLaughlin's strike on the stroke of half time brought the visitors back to within touching distance. The second half belonged to Pollok, with goals from Darren McNeill and McLaughlin sealing a last 16 spot for the Glasgow outfit.
Having graduated from Under 19 level this season, Dalkeith CYP are one of the youngest outfits across the Under 21 age group this season, with just four players unable to continue playing for two further years. The youthful makeup hasn't held back the Midlothian side, with a bright start placing them near the top of the East of Scotland 21's second tier and an impressive away victory over Eastwood in the first round of the national competition.
Pollok had also enjoyed a favourable start to 2013/14. The outfit from South West Glasgow, who are attached to the highly successful junior club, currently sit top of the West of Scotland 21's YFL D2. In the Scottish Cup, they saw off Port Glasgow 5-2 in the first round.
The match kicked off at Cowden Park, with both teams frantically battling for early possession and territory. The visitors were the first to threaten, with a Darren McNeill corner being cleared only as far as the set piece taker, who drove the ball across the 6 yard box - somehow eluding everybody.
At the other end, Dalkeith provided a first sighting of a weapon that would put Pollok under considerable pressure throughout the afternoon. Daniel Greig's long throw from the left fell to the feet of Scott Waugh inside the area. Pollok's Ben Lawton pulled off a point blank saved, but the opportunistic Tyron McLean was on hand to follow up and sidefoot the ball into an unguarded net.
From Dalkeith's next set piece, less than two minutes later, there was another goal - but this time not for the home side. A free kick was swung in from midfield, but cleared by the away side. In a clinical counter attack, Paddy Woods fed Andy McLaughlin, who layed the ball into the path of John McBeth. McBeth played an excellently weighted pass into the path of Dom Farrell, who put the ball on a plate for Andy McAllion to apply the finish past Connor Lunn (click here to watch video). A five player move, consisting of only seven touches in total. Barcelona, eat your heart out.
From one extreme to the other, Dalkeith retook the lead three minutes later. A floated free kick from Daniel Greig was met first time by the head of Scott Waugh and bulleted past the helpless Lawton (click here to watch video). Three set pieces and three goals, in a manic six minute spell.
Pollok pressed for an equaliser and came close when McNeill picked out McLaughlin at the back post, but his effort crashed off the woodwork. The Glasgow side were creating chances, but for every time they broke into the final third, there was another occasion where Dalkeith nicked the ball in the away team's half. The CYP midfielders and forwards were pressing high up the park and giving no easy possession to their opponents.
It was from Dalkeith's pressure that the fourth goal of the match arrived. The ball was chased down in Pollok's left back area and after a fortunate ricochet, there was no luck involved with David Liddle's superb first time finish. An excellent strike, taken so early that Lawton had barely been given time to set himself.
After the goal glut, things inevitably slowed down, with Dalkeith determined to hang on to their two goal lead and Pollok equally adamant to find a way back into the game without deviating from their pass and move style of play. In the final minute of the half, the visitors grabbed a lifeline. The ball was flung into the box from the left and McLaughlin reacted quickly to take a touch with either foot before sliding the ball off the right hand post and in (click here to watch video). And in an instant, both half time team talks became very different.