Gala take lead, then lose seven at Saughton

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 7

Gala Fairydean 1

SOUTH CHALLENGE CUP FIRST ROUND

JOHN CLAYTON reports from Saughton Enclosure

ELLIOTT TURNBULL gathered a couple of long-range efforts in the early minutes of this match before Gala took the lead from a corner.

Alan Jackson headed goalwards and his effort was cleared off the line, but it fell straight to Jack Hay, who returned the ball with interest to open the scoring.

The lead did not last long as LTHV equalised from a far-post cross that Mark Kelly headed home from a narrow angle as he jumped between two defenders. Kelly increased the home side’s lead when the Fairydean defence went to sleep and he received a near-post cross to side-foot the ball into the goal.

Just before half-time, Hay had a chance to equalise, but was closed down in the box and dispossessed. The ball was then swept upfield and a cross from the right was headed against the crossbar and Kenny Fisher stabbed the rebound home.

There was no further scoring until midway through the second half. Declan Leckie half-cleared a ball into the box, but it fell to Alan McDonagh, who shot directly past Turnbull.

A minute later, LTHV scored from a goalmouth scramble following a corner, when a loose ball was stabbed home by Kelly.

In the final 10 minutes, the best and most ridiculous goals of the game were scored.

Firstly, a ball on the right was played towards the near corner of the box to Omar Ali, who collected it and then curled a terrific shot into the far corner beyond the despairing dive of Turnbull.

Shortly before the final whistle, Turnbull could only stand and stare as a shot rebounded off his left-hand post. Ross Glass attempted to kick the rebound clear, but it hit the in-rushing Craig Stewart and bounced into the net.

That rounded off a thoroughly bad day that demonstrated the gulf that exists between the Premier and First Divisions.

Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, R. Sclater (D. Leckie), A. Brown, G. Lothian, C. McBride, P. Young, R. Glass, G. Rossi (C. Gow, 64 mins), A. Jackson, J. Hay (R. Shepherd), J. Wilson.