Eyemouth United 3
Gala Fairydean 5
EoS First Division
Despite a turbulent season on and off the pitch, Gala Fairydean must be thinking ‘what if’ after this assured victory over Eyemouth United.
The Netherdale club spent an enjoyable 90 minutes on the Berwickshire coast, with a comfortable win over one of the surprise promotion contenders this season.
And with talent such as Marc Berry in their line-up – the teenager grabbing a double to cap a superb showing – Gala must be wondering why their Premier Division ambitions ended months ago.
Management and committee changes, a lack of depth to a talented squad and uncertainty over a proposed consortium takeover have contributed to The Dean’s midtable status.
But their troubles were put aside at Warner Park, despite Grant Gass seeing an early penalty saved by Paul Tansey in the United goal.
At the other end, Steven Shennan hit the post with an overhead kick from the edge of the penalty area, but team-mate Alan Speirs had better luck three minutes before half-time with a looping header over Elliot Turnbull.
But 60 seconds later it was all-square with a run and shot by Gass being parried by Tansey into the path of Geri Rossi for his second goal in as many games.
Gala raced into a 3-1 lead within ten minutes of the restart as Billy Miller set up Jack Hay to fire in and Berry struck past Tansey for a deserved goal.
Eyemouth threatened to set up an exciting finish as replacement Jamie Logan lobbed over Turnbull with half an hour left.
But Berry sprinted clear to score again and to give the Fairies plenty breathing room.
Top scorer Shennan almost added to his season’s tally of 27 goals, and free kick specialist Mark Bolton was unlucky to see his effort hit the crossbar.
But the three points were sealed on 84 minutes as Andrew Brown’s shot across Tansey found the net.
Alan Jess of Eyemouth was then sent off for a late challenge, but it would not be an Eyemouth game without a Shennan goal, and the striker finally found the net in the 93rd minute.
Gala Fairydean’s new permanent manager John O’Hara was delighted with the win, adding: “The hard work to get ourselves to the top level of the East of Scotland League starts now.”
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, S. Davidson (C. Jeffrey 68), A. Brown, G. Lothian, C. McBride, G. Gibson, M. Berry, G. Gass, G. Rossi (F. Hointza 86), B. Miller, J. Hay.