Easthouses Lily 2
Gala Fairydean 2
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Newbattle Sports Complex
FAIRYDEAN’S promotion hopes took a huge blow on Saturday as they somehow conjured up a way of allowing Lily back into a game during which they produced some of their best football of the season.
The home side never had a sniff for the entire first 45 minutes, while the ’Dean ran riot – converting two of their umpteen chances at goal.
But after the break it was almost as if the two sides had swapped strips and the Midlothian men won themselves a share of the points – and a contender for goal of the season.
Gala boss Fraser Lothian was disappointed about his side’s drastic drop in form, but insisted they were not yet out of the promotion race.
He told TheSouthern: “Considering our performance in the first half, which merited three or four-nil, and the fact that we collapsed in the second half, it is a bit gutting. We needed the guys to roll their sleeves up and they didn’t do it. The effort was there, but there were no leaders taking control to try to win it back, so I feel a bit let down by the character of the side.”
Lothian added that their dreams of playing Premier Division football next season are still alive.
He said: “There is a long way to go. We have seven games left, Gretna have more. We are still in there with a shout, and I don’t care what anybody says, it will go to the wire.”
The lively Chris Anderson opened proceedings, shaving a few millimetres off the outside of the right post with a chip that had Brian Young in the Easthouses goal beat, while at the other end Ross Gaylor’s free kick was launched straight at Elliot Turnbull in one of the home side’s rare excursions into the Gala half. The visitors’ passing was precise and kept the men in white and red off the ball for extended periods.
Ross Glass then slid a shot wide for Gala, while Aaron Brunton and Anderson both tested the keeper.
However, 21 minutes into the game, Anderson released Smith on a run through the middle and the youngster slotted the ball into the net.
And the second goal was a delight to watch. Greg Hay’s pass to Smith looked to be a touch heavy, but the under-19 star showed a cracking turn of pace to reach it and cut back for Keith Boyes to pass the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. Smith had another chance towards the end of the half, but Young touched it wide.
An eight-minute spell at the start of the second half undid all that, though.
First, Ryan Curran’s cross was headed home by Jamie Shields who was easy to spot, given the fact that no Gala player was near him.
And then David Jeffries took the ball from a midfield throw-in and thumped it 30 yards into the top right-hand corner of the net. Surprise and delight fought for control in his face as he celebrated, but with a finish like that he should be given the benefit of the doubt.
The circumstances of that equaliser kicked all the wind out of the Borderers, but they managed to get a grip of the game enough to see it out without losing another.
Anderson went closest for Gala in the closing stages with a swerving free kick that just swerved too much, but all of them knew they should not have been chasing the game by then.
The frustration led to Anderson being given a red card after the final whistle following his frank review of the whistler’s performance.
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay, G. Wood, C. McBride, P. Sutherland, P. Young, R. Glass, A. Brunton, C. Anderson, A. Smith and K. Boyes. Subs: A. McCulloch, C. Gow, D. Leckie and M. Faichney.