Best bib and tucker for Gala lads, but unbeaten record ends

GALA FR U14S 1 ­

ac oxgangs u14s 3

At grassroots level, teams will often find that the opposition uses the same kit supplier as them, writes Blair Meikle.

It must be rare, though, for both teams to turn up wearing exactly the same strip.

But with Gala’s secretary working away and a subsequent breakdown in communication, that is exactly what happened at Netherdale on Sunday.

Not willing to let that get in the way of a game of football being played, both teams and the referee agreed that Gala would wear bibs to avoid a clash.

And this correspondent spent the 70 minutes trying to see white numbers through white bibs.

Table-toppers Gala may have been slightly put off by this change in dress code as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.

Hearts had been billed as the last undefeated league side in Britain, but those reports neglected to note the similar unrelenting form of the Fairydean Rovers.

However, on the same weekend that the Jambos lost their unbeaten record, so did the Borderers.

And it was an impressive Oxgangs side who saw to that.

An even opening to the match saw both teams trying to utilise their pace in attacking areas with through passes.

It was Oxgangs who were first to see some sort of reward for this approach. The lightning-quick Ewan Evans came close twice. First he was denied by a good save by Gala keeper Josh Bain, then his driving run into the box and cut back was blocked by the defence.

Gala hit back and had chances of their own. Josh Lamb played in Declan Bell, but Arran Paterson got down to stop his shot.

Daniel Cairnie then hit a shot from 25 yards which was not far away before Bell was in again. This time he got on the end of a flicked-on free-kick, but the ball seemed to come at him too quickly to get enough contact.

A goal from either team was imminent and it was the away side who got the crucial opener. When Gavin Wells’ driven cross was parried by Bain, Alistair McWhirter was following up to score on the rebound.

Matthew Roberts of Gala and Evans of Oxgangs are two players of real pace and they appeared to be having a battle to see who could go on the longest dribbles.

Both had a run and shot at goal before the half was out.

Evans began the second half in much the same fashion as he had played the first. He broke forward minutes in, but was too wide for a shot at goal and his team-mates were struggling to keep up with him to provide support.

He got the goal his play deserved in the 51st minute. He showed strength initially to hold off a defender, then pace to get away from him, then composure to slot into the bottom corner.

Gala had switched to three at the back in an attempt to get back into the game. While this seemed to give them more midfield possession, there was increased space for the Oxgangs attack to exploit.

Thomas Fuller shot wide from outside the box before having a go from closer in after good play by Evans. Again, though, his attempt was wide of the goal.

A third counter did come and this time it was from a set piece. After Luke Sayers flighted in a cross from a free kick, a goalmouth scramble ensued. Wells reacted quickest to a loose ball to head home.

Gala managed to pull one back before the end. Rodrigo Olival had burst into life for them in the closing stages. His first lung-bursting run took him right into the opposition box from the halfway line, but he was closed out. Not to be denied, he tried again. He drove forward before picking out Josh Dougall. Dougall’s strike seemed to be blocked by one of his own players. But the ball fell kindly for Bell who tucked it away.