Gala Fairydean 1
Eyemouth United 3
EOS FIRST DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Netherdale 3G Arena
At full time, the managers wore contrasting expressions but uttered the same analysis – we won’t be promoted.
For Eyemouth United manager Carl Hudson, whose side leapfrogged opponents Gala Fairydean into third place after claiming a deserved victory, his comment was probably a bit of reverse psychology.
But for Dean boss Garry Fraser he meant every word.
With Gala now five games without a win, and dropping down the table faster than the ratings for Tom Daley’s reality show Splash, Fraser has demanded an improvement otherwise several players could face the exit door.
Fraser told TheSouthern: “We have told them it is not good enough.
“We put them out on the park and take them for training but we can’t do it for them on the pitch.
“We have told them if it doesn’t improve shortly then we will look to bring in other people in their place.
“Its not last chance saloon. They have got the ability and showed that for the first 25 minutes of the second half. But we need to perform for the whole game.
“I think it is fair to say we are out the promotion race – we were probably out of it after the Berwick Rangers Reserves loss the week before.
“We still have to play Coldstream and Craigroyston and Leith twice so you never know. We will just have to work hard and try and pick up as many points as we can.”
It was a tepid start by both Eyemouth and the Fairies, who brought in Darren Bowie and Dean Boyne in place of holidaymaker Stewart Davidson and dropped Grant Gass.
Both struggled in front of the onlooking Craig Gordon – the Scotland goalkeeper warming up Gala stopper Elliot Turnbull as he works on his coaching badges – but the game came to life 12 minutes in when Steven Shennan scored, only for the strike to be ruled out by referee Ralph Gordon for offside.
Gala’s first threat came from a superb passing move which eventually saw Andrew Brown’s low cross just evade Jack Hay’s left boot.
But it was at the other end where most of the pressure was being applied, and it was not a huge surprise to see Eyemouth take the lead on 35 minutes, albeit from a Gala mistake.
Defender Bowie fluffed his clearance, allowing midfielder Mark Bolton to fire a fierce 14 yard shot past Turnbull.
Five minutes later and the Fishermen were two up, as a Bolton chipped pass fell perfectly for Shennan to control and volley in.
Gala heads dropped but they got a lifeline on the stroke of half-time, when Hay’s run and shot was saved by Adam Mutch, only for the ball to ricochet into the goal off Eyemouth midfielder Jonathan Brown.
Fraser believed his side would have gone on to win the game had they grabbed an equaliser during their domination of the start of the second half. But they didn’t.
Chance after chance was missed, with Hay in particular struggling to hit the target.
However, the best opening fell to strike partner Scott Nightingale with 16 minutes to go, when substitute Grant Gass, who made a positive impression from the bench, lifted the ball into Nightingale’s path only for the forward to blast his shot straight at Mutch from ten yards.
The points were heading east with eight minutes remaining as Billy Miller clipped his opposite number James Wilson, and Shennan converted the penalty.
There was still time for things to get even worse for Gala, as youngster Marc Berry picked up a straight red for swearing at whistler Gordon.
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, J. Wilson, A. Brown, G. Lothian, D. Bowie, P. Young (G. Gass 49), M. Berry, B. Miller, J. Hay, S. Nightingale, D. Boyne.