Last-gasp leveller saves Gala FR

Stuart Noble and Billy Miller on the attack for Gala FR, in stripes (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
Stuart Noble and Billy Miller on the attack for Gala FR, in stripes (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Gala Fairydean Rovers 1, Selkirk 1

Ian Fergus was left rueing a 95th-minute Gala Fairydean Rovers goal at 3G Netherdale last weekend.

But the Selkirk boss will be willing the Braw Lads to find the net again this Saturday.

Fergus was just seconds away from a huge win at Netherdale, but George Windram’s superb late header means Selkirk’s advantage over Preston Athletic at the foot of the Lowland League table is just one point, rather than three.

But Gala face Preston this weekend and, if Stevie Noble’s men were to pick up the full points, it would be a major boost to the Souters’ survival hopes.

Fergus said: “I think this was a great advert for Borders football and we want to stay in this league to play more games like this against Gala.

“If Gala play like they did on Saturday, I think they will beat Preston, but we have a tough game ourselves at BSC Glasgow this Saturday which is one of a series of difficult matches.

“We were disappointed that Gala were awarded a corner instead of a throw-in for their goal, and that the referee played five minutes of injury time.

“But I can’t fault my young team, who are showing real progress.”

From Gala’s viewpoint, Windram’s goal meant Stevie Noble’s men have collected 10 points from their last five games, taking them 13 points clear of Preston and surely to safety for another season.

Noble added: “I think a point was a fair result – Selkirk edged the first half but we had the better of the second.

“We have a good record against Preston but the Lowland League is so unpredictable that we will need to be at our best.”

As expected, this was a frenetic Borders derby in which Selkirk almost opened the scoring when the impressive Unpha Koroma forced Kieran Wright into a good save.

Fraser Neave also went close but Kerr Scott’s cross just evaded his team-mate and Wright was again called into action when palming away Koroma’s cross at the end of the first half.

Des Sutherland’s great cross found no FR takers at the start of the second period, while Phil Addison was played clean through but was unable to show his usual composure in front of goal.

However, the Selkirk striker made up for his earlier miss with 10 minutes to go as he controlled a Murray Christie long ball perfectly and finished well beyond Wright for his 12th goal against Gala.

Gala ramped up the pressure in the final stages, with Ross Aitchison heading against the outside of the left-hand post and Stuart Noble looking certain to score after a brilliant turn but somehow firing over from eight yards out.

But Windram’s late, late header produced just the second draw in the last 12 matches between these teams.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: K. Wright, L. Stephen, L. Swaney (S. Bonnington 62), S. Main, G. Windram, R. Aitchison, B. Miller, S. Pringle, S. Noble, D. Sutherland, S. Paliczka.

Selkirk: G. Amos, M. Christie, C. Sheridan, A. Fleming, R. Miller, R. King, U. Koroma, K. Scott (M. Donaghue 89), F. Neave, P. Addison, M. Collin.