Gala FR stumble to season’s first loss

Gala Fairydean Rovers’ walking footballers suffered their first defeat of the season in the second round of fixtures at last week’s National League tournament, organised by Glasgow Sport in partnership with Walking Football Scotland, to celebrate Euro2020 coming to the city.

By Sports Team
Monday, 17th February 2020, 10:45 am
Updated Monday, 17th February 2020, 10:46 am
The Gala FR walking squad
The Gala FR walking squad

The games took place at the Toryglen Sports Facility next to Hampden Park and a number of former professional footballers, including Alex Rae, Darren Jackson, Mark Wilson, Martin Canning, Rab McKinnon and Suzanne Winters, attended the event to support the developments of Walking Football in Scotland.

Twelve teams from throughout Scotland are competing for the trophy, with each side representing a different host city.

Gala FR are representing Budapest and, after the first session, where they won two and drew two of the four games, they started the day in fifth position in the table.

In the first fixture against Glasgow, who were represented by Glasgow Sport West, John Webster gave ‘Budapest’ an early lead but the hosts fought back and scored twice before Gordon Rae equalised from the penalty spot.

Jim Watters almost grabbed a late winner but his powerful effort grazed the post with the ‘keeper stranded. Glasgow had a player sent off in the last minute and the ill-tempered encounter ended all square.

Next up were London, represented by Glasgow Sport East, and Watters gave ‘Budapest’ the lead before Rae made it 2-0 with a 20-yard thunderbolt. London fought back and Ross Buchan produced several fine saves to help secure the three points.

Baku, represented by Active Stirling, took the lead in the third game before Grant Leitch equalised with a fine strike. Baku made it 2-1 and as ‘Budapest’ pressed forward in search of an equaliser they were twice caught on the break and the Borders’ side suffered their first defeat of the tournament.

Budapest dominated the final game against St Petersberg, represented by the Gerihattricks from East Kilbride, but had to settle for a 1-0 victory, thanks to a superb goal from Watters.

Chairman John Hislop said: “Considering we were without a number of first-team regulars because of holidays and work commitments, I thought the team did well to take seven points from the four games.

“In these tournaments, we are punching well above our weight, as all of our opponents have much larger squads to choose from.

“Walking football has really taken off throughout the country and teams are now much fitter and better organised than before.

“Walking football is not just about playing in competitions, though – it’s about keeping fit, having fun and making new friends.

“We play twice a week at Langlee Community Centre at 2pm-3.30pm every Monday and Thursday, and I would encourage anyone aged over 50 who is interested to come along and give it a try. New members are always made welcome.”

Pictured, back from left, Jim McLaren, Ross Buchan, Gordon Rae, John Webster, Paul Bertram, Dave Dewhirst. Front, John Hislop, Peter McCourt, Jim Watters, Grant Leitch.