Pre-season friendlies are strange beasts, and that’s even more the case when they include a newly-formed team.
While they are a huge boon to coaches and players, measuring and upgrading players’ fitness under match conditions, they don’t leave the fans of either team any wiser as to what the next season will bring.
And this was especially important to the followers of both teams at Netherdale on Saturday, with brand spanking new outfit Gala Fairydean Rovers heading for potential stardom in the new Lowland League, and for Coldstream, rising back to the Premier Division.
However, both teams laid claim to the fact that several players were still to return from holiday, so it was a little difficult to judge, on this performance, how the sides were gelling.But it has to be said, that the Rovers were the better side by some distance.
The bare bones of GFR is from last year’s successful Gala Rovers amateur side, bolstered by the return of former striker Jamie Gibson – who has honed his skills at Selkirk for a couple of seasons – and experienced keeper John Dodds.
Added to the mix on Saturday were a couple of Hawick lads, Dean McColm and Taylor Hope, who ran their socks off, brilliant young hometown prospect Billy Miller, and former East Fife, Alloa and Berwick Rangers striker Stuart Noble – brother of manager Steven – who came off the bench to score the final goal.
GFR have adopted the old Rovers tenet of “total football” and that is evident through their quick, short-passing style of play, which can be exciting to watch, although they do sometimes leave themselves open to danger from a mistake at the back. Even Barcelona have to play a long ball out of defence from time to time.
The Streamers nabbed the opening goal through Tom Cannon, but Hope levelled with a nice finish to Grant Gass’ cross. Miller struck home Marc Berry’s pass to take the lead going into half-time.
Gibson nabbed a beauty of a volley, before Richard Baxendale narrowed the gap from a Garry Wales corner and Noble finished off proceedings.
Gala boss Stevie Noble told The Southern: “I’m delighted with the win, but the result is irrelevant. It’s more of a training exercise.And considering the lads have only trained together twice and came out and played like that, I’m really pleased.”
Gala Fairydean Rovers: J. Dodds, G. Gass, S. Harkness, K. Collins, C. McBride, B. Miller, M. Berry, T. Hope, J. Gibson, D. McColm and C. Jardine. Subs: B. Noble, S. Noble, P. Hossack, L. Hardie and S. McKenzie.
z Visit our website for a video of the post-match interviews.