Gretna 2008 9
On the evidence of Saturday’s game, Vale of Leithen will be hoping the weather behaves itself for the remainder of this week to ensure their Lowland League Cup tie at Selkirk goes ahead, writes Kenny Paterson.
The couple of Vale players who watched on at Yarrow Park will be licking their lips for this Saturday’s game, as the Souters were given a shoeing by a rampant Gretna side.
Gretna were outstanding, according to boss Stuart Rome, while Selkirk manager Stevie Forrest said he was red-faced. It was hard to argue with either statement.
Of course, Selkirk can do better and there is no doubt they missed Garry O’Connor, who sat out the match with a back injury, but his presence would have done little to stop Gretna cutting open the home defence with ease.
The visitors’ front trio of Brandon Longcake, Scott Milligan and Iain Anderson all got on the scoresheet, and on this form could yet see Gretna put in a late challenge for the Lowland League title.
Could this game have been different had Selkirk’s Jordan Finnie scored rather than fired over the bar just five minutes in? Probably not, but it at least would have given the home support something to cheer.
Gretna went ahead just nine minutes later, from Anderson’s superb turn and shot.
The visitors went 2-0 up on 17 minutes as Milligan was played clean through and finished with ease.
And it was 3-0 four minutes later as Sam Atkinson’s corner was deftly flicked in at the front post by Anderson.
There was a brief glimmer of hope for Selkirk as Finnie set up Phil Addison to finish from 12 yards, but two comical own goals by Sean Guiney and Jamie Pyper saw Gretna go into the break 5-1 up.
Anderson completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes after Milligan, who looked offside, played in his strike partner.
Milligan completed his own hat-trick with two close-range goals on 68 and 71 minutes to bring his total to 14 goals in 10 games since his move from Dalbeattie Star.
Addison hit the post with a dipping effort, but even he was unable to inspire his side to show much resistance. There was still time for Longcake to get a deserved goal with a fine finish beyond Willie Stewart with 10 minutes left.
Unsurprisingly, Forrest said his players were embarrassed by their performance. He added: “I need to get them lifted and give them some belief again. We have to learn from playing teams like Gretna. They showed us how to play to the conditions.”
The only consolation for Selkirk was that their idea to ask supporters to donate to a foodbank rather than pay an entry fee proved a huge success.