Gala Fairydean 0
Gretna 2008 4
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Netherdale
FOR a side which before the weather-enforced winter break was pushing strongly for promotion to go 90 minutes with their closest rivals without getting a shot on target has got to be cause for concern.
Gretna keeper Connor Grant could, if he wanted, have stayed inside with a cup of tea for all the difference it would have made to this match. As it was, he looked positively bored.
The fact that neither side was able to string together more than a few passes was disappointing, given that these two sides are known for their open playing style. Perhaps they cancelled each other out, but Gretna was still the edgier side throughout.
The Raydale Park men were first to every ball and were that bit sharper than their opponents, who seem to have conceded their chances of Premier Division football next year are so slim they are no longer visible.
Gretna, on the other hand, don’t look like they are about to succumb to their obligatory end-of-season slump in form and have promotion with Leith Athletic firmly in their sights.
To be fair to the Dean, they were missing a few key personnel, including suspended forward Chris Anderson and keeper Elliot Turnbull, and were forced to field a couple of youngsters from their under-19 side.
And they showed some grit in midfield, particularly from Greg Hay and new signing Craig Tyson, but unfortunately their efforts were for naught.
Gala boss Fraser Lothian told TheSouthern: “We were certainly beaten by the better team today ... everything they hit went in.
“They played to a system and caused us a lot of bother.
“They are really fit, too, and that is the condition I would like Fairydean to be in.
“I was not disappointed with the effort we put in, but we missed Chris up front, as he is great at holding the ball up. Our forwards were not really getting much service today, and that’s where we fell behind.”
David Renyard was looking the hungriest of the visitors, from the moment he nutmegged Paul Young in the early stages, until he was replaced, two goals later, to rapturous applause from the large travelling support.
His seventh-minute strike opened the scoring for the visitors. He picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box and thumped it sweetly into the net.
Gretna continued to threaten, and a William Heaney free kick bounced dangerously around the Gala penalty box before it was cleared.
Just when Gala thought they might make it to half-time down by only one goal, up stepped Gavin Reilly. His 25-yard screamer sizzled past Gala’s stand-in keeper Liam Hanson for the second a minute before the break.
The second half was a mere formality. Four minutes in, Renyard stroked a free kick home to make it three and Adam McMath clipped in Renyard’s pass for the fourth.
Gala Fairydean: L. Hanson, R. Slater, R. Glass, C. McBride, P. Sutherland, P. Young, G. Hay, C. Tyson, A. Brunton, A. Smith (B. Miller 67 mins) and K. Boyes (C. Gow 76 mins).