Football: Gala Fairydean Rovers 1-3 Edinburgh City

Ross Allum (centre) made all the difference for City
Ross Allum (centre) made all the difference for City

In the end, the scoreline of the only Lowland League game to beat Saturday’s frost did not really matter.

Edinburgh City, who look certain to retain their Lowland League title, extended their mammoth lead to 18 points with another win at Netherdale, while Gala Fairydean Rovers look destined for a mid-table finish despite the defeat.

While Gala failed to match their impressive opponents, there was enough in their performance to give manager Stevie Noble confidence that they can beat Gretna 2008 to make their first ever semi-final in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup this weekend.

Add into the mix that Gretna have lost their last four games and Gala have already won at Raydale Park this season, it maybe that Gala are favourites for the last eight clash in the Border town.

Noble said: “Gretna are going through a bit of a bad spell but they still have quality players.

“But we were excellent when we won there earlier in the season and if we match that performance we have a good chance.

“We showed plenty of character against City, who are the best team I have seen this season alongside Stirling University.

“The City game also gave us the chance for two or three players who have previously had injuries to get some fitness back ahead of next week’s cup tie.”

The last time these sides clashed at Netherdale in August 2014, Ross Allum came off the bench to score four goals in the final 15 minutes of an incredible game.

Seventeen months later, and the former Hill of Beath Hawthorn striker again proved the difference with two goals as well as winning the penalty which sealed City’s victory.

A cagey opening half where Gala generally defended well, with Scott Main’s switch to centre half helping to keep out the visitors, was ended when City opened the scoring on 35 minutes. David Bonnar lost the ball and John Dunn found Allum to slide a shot under Wilson.

It was déjà vu on 50 minutes when Dunn set up Allum again to make it 2-0 and seemingly end the game as a contest.

But Gala fought back gamely, pressing their opponents in their own half for the first time.

The pressure lead to a goal on 68 minutes as Gala won the ball in midfield and Dean McColm’s pass saw stand-in left back Taylor Hope dink the ball over City stopper Andrew Stobie, despite claims he was offside.

The game was back on, but only for three minutes. Allum danced across the penalty box only to be fouled by Lee Stephen, allowing team-mate Dougie Gair to score from the spot and complete the victory.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: M. Wilson, L Stephen, T. Hope, B. Herdman, S. Main, B. Miller, D. McColm, D. Bonnar, S. Noble, J. Gibson, R. Clapperton (T. Aitchison 77).