Gala Fairydean 2
Eyemouth United 3
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Netherdale
FAIRYDEAN’S promotion hopes now lie in the hands of the students of Heriot-Watt after they were summarily dispatched by a fitter, faster and altogether better Eyemouth side on Saturday.
The final game of the season sees the current top two, Heriot-Watt and Preston Athletic go head to head – and it could prove to be the clincher as to who plays in the Premier Division next season.
Gala boss Fraser Lothian said: “It was a poor defensive performance from us, especially in the first half. We didn’t deserve to go in at 3-2, it could have been 5-2.
“It has let Preston back into the mix and it is out of our own hands now.”
The Fairies were hampered through injury, suspensions and unavailable players, but they were far from being shoestring. Still, the Fishermen were first to almost every ball, passing with precision and running like maniacs off the ball, while the home side were mostly reactive rather than proactive.
It was a rather lackadaisical performance from most of them, although Grant Gass was perhaps their hardest-working exception.
He was first to threaten, hitting the side-netting after a nice pass from skipper Geri Rossi in the third minute.
Then the superb Johnny Simpson scored for Eyemouth, although the touch judge wrongly called offside and it didn’t stand.
Gala’s Craig Tyson had a golden opportunity to score into an empty net from a Scott Nightingale cross, but his volley from five yards ballooned over the crossbar. Rossi then hit the post from close range before the Fishermen opened the scoring in the 28th minute.
Steve Shennan was a fair bit offside when he latched onto a long ball from Simpson and rounded trialist keeper Craig Bald and scored, but the touch judge made up for his previous mistake by making another and the goal stood.
Three minutes later, Gala were level. A superb pass from Gass was squeezed home by Tyson. Equality lasted less than 60 seconds. Shennan was on the verge of offside again, but his lob beat Bald and Eyemouth were back in front.
Gala defender Paul Young was booked for dissent, but in the visitors’ next drive, Shennan was booked for diving when he was clipped in the box – it should have been a penalty.
Bald kept his team in the match with a superb save from Ross Aitchison’s header, and Gala levelled again two minutes into first-half injury time.
Jack Hay was fouled in the box needlessly by Andrew Hastie and Nightingale sent Dean Avery the wrong way from the spot.
But the half was not over and Eyemouth regained the advantage, again, less than 60 seconds later. Simpson’s clever flick from the byeline should not have caused any problems, but James Wilson made the most of Gala’s hesitation and drove the ball home.
The second half saw a gradual deterioration in the home side’s determination and Eyemouth seemed happy to sit on their single goal lead.
Gass had a late chance to equalise, but his free kick from a tasty position just outside the box was fairly non-committal, and soared into Avery’s hands.
Gala will now need to win both their remaining matches against Coldstream and Ormiston, both at home, and hope the Edinburgh students do them a favour in their last match against Preston.
Gala Fairydean: C. Bold, M. Fairburn, A. Brown (R. Hewitson 85 mins), P. Young (C. Jeffrey 66 mins), G. Lothian, C. Tyson, A. Brunton, G. Gass, G. Rossi, J. Hay and S. Nightingale.