Three is the magic number

GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM. - 18  Feb 2012 : ''Gala Fairydean v Kelso Utd at Gala Fairydean FC, Netherdale 3G.'04 Sport,Football,East of Scotland League First Division''Gala 3-1Kelso FT'(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, Rob Gray/Digitalpic , all rights reserved)
GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM. - 18 Feb 2012 : ''Gala Fairydean v Kelso Utd at Gala Fairydean FC, Netherdale 3G.'04 Sport,Football,East of Scotland League First Division''Gala 3-1Kelso FT'(Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, Rob Gray/Digitalpic , all rights reserved)

Gala Fairydean 3

Kelso United 1

EoS FIRST DIVISION

KEVIN JANIAK reports from Netherdale

RUMOURS that Gala are about to save TheSouthern sub-editors some time by just renaming themselves Fairydean 3 may be abysmally far-fetched.

But the Dean certainly have gained the knack of hitting the net that exact number of times in the last four games. And, more importantly, they have, in each of their home games, restrained their opposition to only scoring once.

And on Saturday they did it the hard way after a terrible start allowed United in to open the scoring through Jamie Swailes as he leapt on to a loose ball just outside the penalty box.

But strikes by Grant Gass and Rob Hewitson took them into the lead before Jack Hay kept the three-goal pattern going with a fantastic free-kick in the second-half.

Their stuttering start was due to some extent to the home side missing several first-choice players such as Paul Young, Aaron Brunton and the livewire Craig Livingstone.

But their true strength is the fact that they have many players who feel comfortable having a dig at goal, no matter their position – and finding it.

Kelso boss Prof Blaikie was right when he said that his team enjoyed the a large amount of posession in this encounter. It was just that they were unable to do anything with it most of the time.

Blaikie said: “I am very disappointed. We may have been beaten 3-1 but for long spells we dominated.

“I have a lot of sick laddies in there.”

It took some time for the new-look Fairydean – including trialist Colin Jeffrey from Livingstone Under-19s – to gel, allowing Kelso to dominate early play and score through Swailes in the 13th minute.

The visitors continued to press and almost went two ahead when a Jordan Lauder corner was swept agonisingly wide by the strong wind coming in from the road end.

But with 30 minutes gone, Jack Hay’s inviting cross beat the entire Kelso defence and Gass thumped the ball into the net with a diving header.

Four minutes after they got the second. Geri Rossi’s free kick found its way eventually to Rob Hewitson, whose turning shot flew past David Simmonds’ clutches.

Swailes ended the half with a shot that went just wide after Rossi lost the ball in midfield.

Both sides had several chances in the second half, but inevitably, it was that man Hay who took his – he won a free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box and thumped it home, almost taking Simmonds’ fingernails with it.

Fairydean boss Lothian is understandably a happy man at the moment. It’s tough not to be when your team wins without actually playing all that well.

He told us: “It wasn’t the greatest preformance from us but it is never that easy against Kelso, and it was never going to be easy with the players we had missing.

“The lad Jeffrey started off with a sticky 10 minutes, as did the rest of the team, but he pulled things together well.

“He’s a triallist at the moment but we are hoping we can get him tied up.”

Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay, A. Brown, G. Lothian, C. Jeffrey (C. McDonald 81 mins), C. Tyson, R. Hewitson (F. Myer 92 mins), G. Gass, G. Rossi, J. Hay, J. Wilson.

Kelso United: D. Simmonds, J. McCutcheon (J. Milner 84 mins), C. Black, S. Harker, S. Tait, D. McNulty, C. Webb (G. Mabon 54 mins), J. Swailes (M. Lockhart 80 mins), D. Burnett, L. Wallace, J. Lauder.