Nightingale lights up Fairydean challenge

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Hawick Royal Albert 2

Gala Fairydean 5

EoS FIRST DIVISION

JOHN SLORANCE reports from Albert Park

THIS derby match may not have produced the fireworks expected, but it was not quite a damp squib, either.

Gala Fairydean saw to this with an explosive second-half burst that produced three goals in a dynamic eight-minute spell.

Talking about his team’s winning show – just after he had informed his young charges in the dressing room that he was finished as manager (full story on page 23) – Fairydean boss Garry Fraser told TheSouthern: “The first half was 50-50 and there was nothing between the two sides.

“In the second half, however, we brought on a sub at the very beginning, changed our formation and started to attack Hawick more.

“By doing this we moved up a couple of notches and Hawick just couldn’t handle it. I was pleased with the way we took our goals and thought we had the man-of-the-match in Scott Nightingale, who was outstanding and, overall, I was proud of my players”.

In an even opening period, Albert came close to scoring when Gordon Ramsay rifled in a shot that Fairydean keeper Elliot Turnbull did well to tip round the post.

Gala then showed what they had to offer and, after having broken clean through, Jack Hay fluffed a chance to break the deadlock by shooting harmlessly past the post.

Minutes later, Hay almost scored with a much better effort after being fed by Marc Berry.

At the other end, Turnbull pulled off a superb save from team-mate Stuart Davidson. Facing his own goal, Davidson had chested down a cross and the ball appeared destined for the net until Turnbull dived to finger-tip it away.

But the Teries took the lead in the 29th minute. Cutting in from the right flank, Declan Hogg weaved his way out of two challenges before hitting a shot into the net.

Hawick’s joy was short lived, though, for within two minutes, Fairydean drew level. Hay slipped a pass into the path of Scott Nightingale and the Gala ace produced a spot-on finish.

There was no more scoring until Fairydean struck in the 71st minute. A slick move involving Brad Lochrie and Nightingale pierced the Albert defence, and Grant Gass polished matters off by placing a shot out of the reach of Hawick keeper Ross Taylor.

Before the hosts could find their feet, the Netherdale outfit did the business again within two minutes when Berry raced in to score after latching on to a long ball from the back.

Immediately after this, Berry bore fruit again when he surged forward to waltz round Taylor and tuck a shot into an empty net.

In the 81st minute Peter Keenan got on the Hawick scoresheet by heading in a David Heaver cross.

Gala replied after a sweeping raid that saw Hay brought down by a Sean Loughlin tackle in the box. Edinburgh referee Paul Hanlon awarded a penalty and red-carded Loughlin. But Gass hit the resultant spot kick wide.

Almost on time, substitute Rob Hewitson stretched Gala’s lead, touching home a Berry corner kick.

Albert team boss Graeme Chadwick said: “I thought we were the better side in the first half as we played some good football and coped with anything Gala had to offer. Take 15 minutes out of the equation and we did okay as well in the second half. It just didn’t happen for us, though.”

Hawick Royal Albert: R. Taylor, S. Loughlin, R. Shepherd, trialist (K. Fettes), R. Fleming, I. Zenati, K. McCulloch, C. Beattie, P. Keenan (M. King), D. Hogg, G. Ramsay (D. Heaver).

Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, C. Jeffrey (D. Boyne), A. Brown, S. Davidson, G. Lothian, G. Gass, B. Lochrie, B. Miller, J. Hay, S. Nightingale (R. Hewitson), M. Berry.