Gala Fairydean 2
Kelso United 4
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Netherdale
IT was only a shirt thrown to the ground, but it summed up the current morale at Gala Fairydean.
The problems surrounding Netherdale meant it was almost insignificant that Darren Bowie’s decision to storm off the pitch and perform a half Monty at the same time sealed a second successive defeat.
All of the focus before the game was on the resignation of manager Garry Fraser and possible consortium takeover of the club.
It meant the resultant performance from a dispirited Gala team should have served as little surprise.
Despite a series of meetings between the players and committee members, interim boss Geri Rossi called on the squad to concentrate on their own performances rather than the continued off-field uncertainty.
Speaking candidly after the match, the 24-year-old told TheSouthern: “We all know we should not be involved in the politics of the club.
“It is difficult for a player, but when you step over the line you have to give answers.
“We showed a lot of heart and desire against Craigroyston in previous game (lost 1-0), but today was very disappointing.
“A few guys in our changing room not only let the club down, but themselves as well.”
Despite Gala’s poor display, Kelso deserve credit for a smash-and-grab win, with the Tweedsiders defending deep before hitting their hosts on the break four times.
And in striker Derek Burnett, they have a front man who can lead the line on his own and score goals, grabbing a brace on Saturday.
Delighted United boss Prof Blaikie said: “We do not have the finances to beat the best of them, so instead we give the opposition the ball and if they score against us I take my hat off to them.
“But when we get the ball, we always look like scoring.
“There is plenty talk about Steven Shennan and John Crawford, but this is my fourth year at the club and Derek Burnett has scored 20 goals every season. He is a real handful.
“We got our reward today with a hard-won victory.”
Four goals in the final 10 minutes lit up a poor first half on a freezing, gloomy afternoon.
Kelso’s first on-target effort in the 35th minutes was a goal as Burnett expertly beat two defenders on the line after Elliot Turnbull had saved Jordan Lauder’s initial shot.
Marc Berry equalised five minutes later with a superb 30yd effort which dipped just before Scott Dowie to take the ball out of the reach of the United stopper.
Garry Mabon restored the visitors’ lead two minutes before the break as he lobbed home from 25yds.
But within 60 seconds, Colin Jeffrey found the net with another well-struck shot from outside the box to make it 2-2 at half-time.
Lauder restored Kelso’s lead on 56 minutes and the win was secured with 15 minutes remaining as Burnett scored from close range.
The subsequent disagreement between Turnbull and Bowie led to the defender’s unexpected early departure.
Jack Hay had a header cleared off the goal-line by Steven Tait, but Kelso’s well-organised rearguard meant the homesters rarely threatened in the closing stages.
There is likely to be further bad news for Gala, as Rossi indicated he would not be able to continue in a temporary management role.
Rossi added: “I am 24 years old and it is easier playing Championship Manager than actually running a team.
“At this point in time, to take on such a responsibility, is maybe a bit too early for me.
“I told the club I would help as much as I could, but the players need stability and with my work commitments it is difficult to give them that.”
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, S. Davidson, A. Brown (G. Hay 32), D. Bowie (J. Tait 75), G. Lothian, B. Miller, C. Jeffrey, G. Gass, S. Nightingale, J. Hay, M. Berry.
Kelso United: S. Dowie, J. McCutcheon, S. Angus, P. Dumma, C. Black, S. Tait, C. Webb (C. McClure 55), G. Mabon (G. Porter 72), D. Burnett, L. Wallace, J. Lauder.