First win of season for Gala Fairydean Rovers, thanks to 93rd-minute goal
Ross Aitchison lived up to his nickname of Mister Reliable at Cumbernauld Colts’ Broadwood Stadium yesterday, July 24, as Gala Fairydean Rovers picked up their first win of the new Scottish Lowland Football League campaign.
Not only did the 34-year-old midfielder answer manager Neil Hastings’ call to fill in at central defence due to shortages in that department, but he also popped up with a dramatic 93rd-minute winner to seal all three points.
It was a deserved win on the road for Gala, who, despite dominating the first half, found themselves trailing to Cumbernauld at the interval.
Aitchison said: “It was a crazy game really.
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“We started well and were well on top, but there was that spell five minutes before half-time when it all went wrong.
“But credit to the lads for refusing to lie down, and we got our rewards in the end.
“All I can remember about the goal is Jimmy Scott getting a flick on, and as soon as I hit it, I knew it was in.”
Gala started brightly in the July sunshine, and Marc Berry and Alieu Badara Touray had great opportunities to break the deadlock but missed the target.
Gala forged ahead in the 13th minute when Jack Beaumont's corner to the back post was headed home by captain Gareth Rodger, back following a one-game suspension after being red-carded seven days earlier.
The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of possession, but their North Lanarkshire hosts got back into the match in the 43rd minute when Aitchison was penalised for a challenge in the box and Sean Winter tucked home the penalty kick.
Against the run of play, Cumbernauld took the lead before the break when Dominic McLaughlin's header from a corner struck the post and Berry, trying to clear his lines, could only smack the ball into the roof of the net.
It was a disheartening double whammy, but Gala regained their composure and continued to force the pace and almost levelled when Daryl Healy's volley struck the bar.
The equaliser arrived in the 56th minute when a neat passing move played in Ciaren Chalmers on the left-hand side of the box and his angled drive found the far corner of the net.
Play swung from end to end, with both sides pushing for the winner.
It looked as it if was going to be honours even until Gala forced a late corner and Aitchison emerged at the back post to smash the ball into the net deep into injury time.
Colts threw everything forward in the dying seconds and had one last opportunity to score, but goalkeeper Dean Beveridge produced a fantastic diving save to ensure Gala earned all three points.
That was the Borderers’ first win of the season following a 3-0 home defeat against East Stirlingshire last weekend and a 2-2 draw away to Bo’ness United in midweek.
They’re next in action on Tuesday, July 27, hosting Edinburgh’s Spartans at 7.45pm and they’re at home again next Saturday, July 31, against Berwick Rangers at 3pm.