Late Paton strike seals season’s last home league win
Gala Fairydean Rovers 3, Dalbeattie Star 2
Gala FR took all three points in their final home league game of the season, cementing a mid-table finish – but it took a late header from striker Ruari Paton to seal all three points.
Centre back Pat Scullion opened the scoring for the hosts after 10 minutes with a close-range header, after Sandy Cunningham and Phil Addison missed good chances to put GFR in front.
Dean Shanks’ men dominated the early stages and may have gone further ahead, but Ricky Miller saw his header hit the crossbar. Cunningham limped off before half time and his replacement, Charlie Green, made an immediate impact, setting up Ruari Paton. His glancing header found the corner of the net to double the home side’s lead.
Dalbeattie rarely threatened Paddy Martin’s goal but, just before half time, he picked the ball out of the net when Star’s Lewis Todd gave the visitors a lifeline with a well-taken close-range strike for 2-1.
Star came more into the game after the interval and looked to get level but found GFR’s defenders, Miller and Scullion, on form .
On 60 minutes Gala’s Tommy Patterson bore in on goal and looked to take the ball round Star ‘keeper Vinnie Parker, who then seemed to trip the talented left-sided player.
But the referee waved play on and the ball went harmlessly out for a bye kick, to the amusement of the home support. With the home side passing up chance after chance to put the game out of sight, it was the visitors who were to level the score, through Corey Thomson, and set up a nervy finish.
GFR introduced 16-year-old Declan Bell for the final 10 minutes and, to the relief of the home crowd, Addison found Green on the right wing and his inch-perfect cross was met by man of match Paton, whose strong header flew past Parker to seal the points.
Gala FR: Martin, Ainslie, Patterson, Scullion, Miller, Smith, Baxter, Taylor-Mackenzie, Paton, Cunningham, Addison, Green, Bell, A. Trialist , A. Trialist.