Kelso United 3
Gala Fairydean 5
EoS FIRST DIVISION
GEORGE RILEY reports from Woodside Park
A HALF-TIME double substitution proved to be the turning point in this incident-packed encounter.
Fairydean were 3-1 down just before half-time, but rallied strongly after the break.
The introduction of the lively Jack Hay and Rob Hewitson at the interval by Jim McLean – in charge of the team as Gary Fraser was poorly – seemed to rejuvenate the Gala performance.
The visitors had their first sight of goal after eight minutes when a throw-in from Jay Wilson was flicked on by Scott Nightingale into the path of Billy Miller, but the wide man’s effort went over.
However, Miller did better with his next chance five minutes later when he picked up a Damien McNulty defensive header at the edge of the box, his shot hitting the inside of the post and into the net.
The home team equalised after 20 minutes. Jordan Lauder took off down the left wing and produced an inch-perfect cross for Chris Black, who volleyed into the net from six yards. Des Burnett had the ball in the net a minute later, but was adjudged offside when fed by Lauder.
Midway through the half came the big talking point.
Elliot Turnbull upended Lauder in the box when the big winger was through on goal. Everyone in the crowd was expecting referee Alan Hogg to produce the red card for the keeper, but the whistler simply pointed to the spot and took no action against the Gala captain. Burnett stepped up and duly dispatched the spot kick.
United made it three 10 minutes from the break when Lauder turned Fairydean defender Colin Jeffrey in the box and fired across goal, where top-scorer Burnett had the simple task of knocking into the net at the back post.
In the penultimate minute of the first half, Gala clawed a goal back.
A Darren Bowie shot hit a United defender and looped into the box, and with confusion between the Kelso backline and on-loan keeper Bruce Connelly, the ball was allowed to hit the ground eight yards out and spin over the teenage No1 to nestle in the net.
The game was pretty tactical until midway through the second half when the visitors got their equaliser.
After a succession of corners, Fairydean eventually made one count when Nightingale swung the ball towards the near post, Gary Lothian rising to head powerfully beyond Connelly.
Gala finished the match strongly and made pressure tell when Hay picked up a ball from the left and fired a shot which young Connelly did well to parry, but the ball fell to Marc Berry, who finished from close range.
Five minutes later and Fairydean made it five with more or less a carbon copy of the fourth strike.
Hay shot from inside the box, Connelly parried and Berry fired home.
Kelso: B. Connelly, J. McCutcheon, S. Angus (D. Richardson 75), G. McNulty, S. Tait (S. Harker 78), D. McNulty, C. McClure (G. Gillie 75), C. Black, D. Burnett, L. Wallace, J. Lauder.
Gala: E. Turnbull, C. Jeffrey (R. Hewitson 45), A. Brown, D. Bowie (J. Hay 45), G. Lothian, P. Young, J. Wilson, G. Gass, M. Berry, S. Nightingale, B. Miller.