St Mark’s inspires a less than holy Fairies’ performance

Craigroyston 4

Gala Fairydean 1


KENNY PATERSON reports from St Mark’s Park

IT was fitting that Gala Fairydean put in their most dismal performance of 2013 in the surroundings of Craigroyston’s St Mark’s Park.

The Edinburgh ground will not rival Barcelona’s Nou Camp for fame or Braga’s quarry-carved stadium for dramatic scenery, with a set of allotments and a crematorium either side providing a gloomy setting.

Gala did at least score a goal to match both of the former stadia through Scott Nightingale’s spectacular 30yd volley, but it proved to be merely a consolation.

Fairies boss Garry Fraser conceded the better team won, as possibly the youngest Gala side ever saw their promotion hopes surely end.

He said: “Craigroyston are a decent side, but we gave away too many cheap goals, which is not good enough.”

One of the few Gala players to get pass marks, according to the Dean’s management team, was Colin Jeffrey.

Filling in at centre half, he did play a part in the opening goal for the hosts after just five minutes, as Steven Moncur peeled off the Gala defender from a Russell Hogarth long ball to slot a shot under Elliot Turnbull.

However, Jeffrey recovered to put in a commendable shift against a Craigroyston team who will be promotion contenders.

They dominated the first period, and Gala captain Turnbull had to make a fantastic fingertip stop to deny Mark Hendrie with a curling 12-yard effort.

The Gala goalie then produced an incredible double save, palming away Moncur’s shot before jumping to his feet to tip Craig Dickson’s follow-up on to his crossbar.

But the keeper’s heroics were not matched by his side’s defending from the resultant Hogarth corner, which Errol Douglas stabbed into the net for a 36th-minute second goal.

It could have been worse for the visitors, were it not for Turnbull making another superb save from Hendrie two minutes before the break.

When the Gala number one tipped over Dickson’s shot just after half-time, it appeared Craigie would dominate the second half just as they did the first.

But the home side were completely stunned on 50 minutes when the ball sat up for Nightingale, who thumped a dipping shot over the head of Craigroyston goalkeeper Stuart Burnside. It could be regarded as a lucky strike, had Nightingale not scored with similar efforts on numerous occasions previously.

Craigie were now on the back foot, and some panic could be detected in the home ranks.

However, pint-sized forward Dickson sealed the points with his head in the closing stages.

He firstly produced a skilful 12-yard header from a John Dunn corner which found the top corner of the net on 74 minutes, and 10 minutes from time he dived on to the end of Hogarth’s cross.

Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, B. Lochrie, A. Brown, C. Jeffrey, S. Davidson, G. Gass, M. Berry (R. Hewitson 69), B. Miller, J. Hay, S. Nightingale, M. Fairburn (Hointza 79).