Gala FR almost grab late winner in derby thriller

Berwick's number 13, Daniel Purvis, does his best to get through a forest of Gala FR players (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
Berwick's number 13, Daniel Purvis, does his best to get through a forest of Gala FR players (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Gala Fairydean Rovers 2, Berwick Rangers 2

Honours finished even in a pulsating cross-border derby at the Netherdale 3G Arena on Saturday.

While Berwick will lament two goals being chalked off for offside, and were on top in the second half, Gala almost sneaked

a victory at the death when Stuart Noble was foiled by a great save by visiting ‘keeper Sean Brennan.

It was Berwick who got off to a dream start, with Daryl Healy heading home an opener after only four minutes.

Cameron Lumsden almost added a second with an angled drive as Gala struggled to match the visitors.

But, in 16 minutes, the home team were awarded a penalty after Allan McRitchie was caught by Jack Cook.

Scott Taylor Mackenzie converted the spot kick to level.

He was given the chance to fire his team in front 10 minutes later, as another penalty was given for Kevin Waugh’s challenge on Niall Kelly.

Sean Brennan pulled off a fantastic save this time but Jack Cowan won the race to convert the rebound.

Within three minutes, Berwick had drawn level with Healy again finding enough room to head beyond Fraser Morton from close range.

The large travelling support thought Lewis Barr had fired them back in front just before the break but the former East Fife midfielder was flagged for offside.

Only a finger-tip save from Brennan prevented Cowan volleying Gala back in front at the start of the second half.

But Berwick proceeded to dominate the remainder of the second half.

Ricky Miller fired over before Waugh headed Cameron Lumsden’s deep cross just wide.

Ciaren Chalmers beat Morton with a looping header in the 66th minute but Ben Herdman managed to clear off the line.

Chalmers did find the net five minutes later with another header but he was controversially waved for offside.

A tremendous Morton save also denied Ally Forster’s powerful low drive finding the net.

Berwick continued to bombard the Gala goal with crosses and corners but it was at the other end where there was almost a last-gasp winner.

In the 87th minute, Marc Berry raced into the area, only for Brennan to save.

And substitutes Phil Addison and Noble combined on another sweeping counter attack in injury time, only for Brennan to produce a fine save from Noble’s low shot.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: F. Morton, L. Kinchant, A. Chingwalu, B. Herdman, L. Grant, N. Kelly, Y. Mendes, S. Taylor Mackenzie, A. McRitchie (P. Addison 85), M. Berry, J. Cowan (S.Noble 63).

Berwick Rangers: S. Brennan, C. Brian, K. Waugh, J. Cook (K. Jack 73), R. Miller, E. Smith (C. Chalmers 63), C. Lumsden, A. Forster, D. Healy, L. Barr, Y. Osei (D. Purves 59).

Attendance: 300.