Gala Fairydean 3
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Netherdale
“CAN we watch you every week” should have been the anthem from the Netherdale stand at the end of this incident-filled 90 minutes.
A 3-1 Gala Fairydean win earlier in the season at Duns saw four red cards and two missed penalties.
And the reverse fixture was equally exciting, with five goals, two sendings-off and another spot kick, making a clash between these teams as action-packed as a Bruce Willis thriller.
The win for the Fairies means their hopes of promotion, written off by manager Garry Fraser last month following defeat to Eyemouth United, may not yet be over.
Two wins on the trot, plus First Division leaders Coldstream unexpectedly dropping five points in their last two games, means Gala trail the Streamers by 10 with a game in hand and a match-up between the Borders teams still to come.
Having lost four players in the last month, Gala’s squad is skinnier than a Kate Moss ploughman’s lunch, but their starting XI has plenty of young talent.
It was one of those youngsters, Colin Jeffrey, who opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Duns stopper Scott Lumsden hesitated with Grant Gass’s lofted free kick, allowing Jeffrey to toe-poke home.
Another teenager, Marc Berry, seems to be growing into his midfield role with the Fairies, and twice he jinked and wove past Duns right back Mark Weatherburn, only for Lumsden to deny him on both occasions.
The battle between Berry and Weatherburn then continued at the other end of the pitch, with the Duns defender finding himself 10 yards out and ready to score, only for Berry to produce a superb challenge.
However, the Dingers did not have to wait long for their 34th minute equaliser, as ex-Aberdeen midfielder Conor Devaney’s dangerous cross was saved by Elliot Turnbull, only for the ball to land at the feet of James Brydon, who tapped in from a couple of yards out.
Just three minutes later and the homesters were back in front, thanks to a superb goal by Scott Nightingale, who controlled a long ball perfectly and powered a low shot beyond Lumsden.
Just as it appeared Gala would go in 2-1 up at half-time, Duns pulled level again with another sweet goal.
A lovely passing move involving Brydon, Weatherburn and Aiden Lauder saw the latter sidefoot past Turnbull.
The second half started where the first ended, with a fifth goal on 54 minutes. Jack Hay burst through Duns’ defence and was pulled down by Lumsden, and referee Gavin Thomson made the correct decision to award the spot kick, but elected not to send off the Duns number one, as the Gala striker had lost control of the ball when he collided with the keeper.
Gass converted the penalty and then played a part in Duns going down to 10 men as Brydon kicked out at the Gala midfielder and was shown a straight red card.
But the hosts don’t do comfortable wins, and when Gary Lothian fouled Lauder after an hour for his second yellow card, Gala were left to hold out for the remaining 30 minutes.
The nearest Duns came to a third equaliser was a Weatherburn cross which almost found the top corner of Turnbull’s net.
Gala assistant manager Jim McLean praised his side, but played down any thoughts of a promotion revival.
He said: “The run of losses we suffered earlier in season have made promotion unlikely, but we will keep trying to win each game and see where we end up.
“I thought it was a good game between two young, good quality sides. Scott Nightingale’s goal was as good as any you will see this weekend.
“We should have been four or five ahead in the first half, but we stuck at it and got a very good three points.”
Duns boss Neil Oliver said: “We played some good stuff, but we have conceded three silly goals and that has cost us.”
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, M. Fairburn, A. Brown, S. Davidson, G. Lothian, B. Miller, C. Jeffrey, G. Gass (D. Bowie 80), J. Hay, S. Nightingale, M. Berry (B. Lochrie 75).