Gala Fairydean 8
Hawick Royal Albert 1
SCOTTISH CUP FIRST ROUND
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Yarrow Park
IN SOME bookies, Gala Fairydean held 1-8 favouritism over Hawick Royal Albert ahead of this derby tie played at Selkirk in the biggest competition available for a lucky few East of Scotland clubs.
While the Fairies could lay claim to deserving these odds by beating the Teries by that same score – nobody was saying so at half-time.
Although Gala soared into the lead with a superb Jack Hay header from a Jay Wilson cross in the 11th minute and added to their tally in the 20th when Alan Jackson took full advantage of Hawick keeper Chris Anderson tangling up with Wilson in the box to fire into the empty net, Hawick were still in the game. And when Luke Cooper pulled one back for Albert – with a free kick that wouldn’t look out of place in the SPL – supporters from both sides were limbering up for a superb tie.
Hawick were awarded another free kick from a similar range soon after, and for some reason Liam Lavery was elected to take the kick and it bounced harmlessly off the defensive wall.
The visitors (the match was technically a home one for Gala owing to resurfacing work at the Netherdale pitch) put in a good shift for the rest of the half. Marshalled by old campaigner Chris Batten, his constant cajoling stopped any thought of heads dropping and the teams went in with the score still at 2-1.
But two minutes into the second half, a bout of pinball in the Hawick box ended up in Grant Gass striking the ball into the net.
And, as the Royalists began to push forward – damage limitation to save face is never an option when you are down in the Scottish Cup – massive holes began to appear in their defence, which the nippy Gala forwards were able to, well, nip through, and Jack Hay scored his second and the Fairies’ fourth after winning the ball in midfield and storming into the box untouched.
After a while, they were scoring goals for fun, putting to bed their cup jinx in grand style.
A nice move started by Wilson – who had become a dad for the first time the previous day – led to Gary Lothian setting up Geri Rossi for the fifth.
Then, Aaron Brunton, just on the field for two minutes after replacing Gass, grabbed the sixth. Wilson capped a fine performance by hitting home number seven before Hay got his hat-trick with the eighth. He was elected to take the penalty after Lavery took down Jackson in the box. Anderson made a superb save from the first effort, but the diminutive striker was first to the rebound and he stroked it home at the second attempt.
And it could have been more, with Wilson, Hay and Ryan Sclater all hitting the woodwork during the course of the second half.
Gala manager Fraser Lothian was delighted in the way his team was able to kill the game off when on top – something that has been lacking in previous weeks.
He said: “It’s been a long time coming. I felt we could have done a bit better in the first half – Hawick certainly came out of the traps better than us – but we shone in the second half when the Albert players’ heads dropped. Credit to them, though, because they played well in the first period.”
And midfielder Wilson, whose partner Chelsea gave birth to son Kade on Friday, told us: “It’s brilliant becoming a dad, but I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Hawick boss Mick Murphy said it could have been all different if they took their chances.
He told TheSouthern: “It could have easily been 2-2 at half-time. We had our chances in the second, but didn’t take them, while every time Gala went up the park, they scored. It’s as simple as that.
“When we went a couple of goals behind, we had to push Roddy (McConnell) up and went three at the back – you are always in danger of conceding more goals when you do that, but we had no choice.”
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, R. Sclater, A. Brown, G. Lothian, C. McBride, P. Young, A. Jackson, G. Gass, G. Rossi, J. Wilson, J. Hay. Subs used: A. Brunton, R. Glass and R. Hewitson.
Hawick Royal Albert: C. Anderson, K. McGaughey, B. Tait, C. Wilson, C. Batten, P. Gellaitry, L. Lavery, M. Deans, S. Owens, R. McConnell, L. Cooper. Subs used: S. Sharkey, J. Easdon and A. Maltman.