Table-top test won by Leithen

Gala Fairydean Rovers FC chairman Kevin Temple, right, welcomes Grant Davidson to Netherdale, with new assistant manager Des Sutherland

Gala Fairydean Rovers FC chairman Kevin Temple, right, welcomes Grant Davidson to Netherdale, with new assistant manager Des Sutherland

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GalA FR Amateurs1

Leithen Rovers2

Grant Davidson hopes his Amateurs side can lift themselves for this weekend’s Border Cup final, despite a dramatic defeat to Division A rivals Leithen Rovers, writes Kenny Paterson.

Gala were reduced to nine men and conceded two goals in the final seven minutes in a controversial match which leaves Leithen as favourites for the league title.

Gala boss Davidson said: “We need to recover for the cup final against West Barns Star.

“When it was 11 v 11 we were the better team, but the referee sent off Welsh Curran at the start of the second half and that changed the game.”

Both teams held 100 per cent records going into the match, but there were few moments of quality in the first half, other than Scott Nightingale’s superb corner which flew into the top corner past Leithen keeper Chris Watson.

It was far from a fluke, judging by Nightingale’s previous record of spectacular goals.

Nightingale should have made it 2-0, only to fire just wide at the start of the second half, but seconds later, Curran was shown red for a challenge which caught a stooping Alan McMath on the head.

Gala looked like they would hold on until the 83rd minute when McMath collided with home keeper Jamie Shiel and referee Gary Callachan correctly gave a penalty.

In the aftermath, Stuart Harkness was sent off for dissent before Simon Philbin kept cool to fire Leithen level.

Philbin’s curling free kick then set up substitute Ollie Lambert to score from close range.

Leithen manager Gary Hastie said: “We have another hard game this weekend against Gordon, but we showed great spirit to come from behind against Gala.”