Stoppage time equaliser spells anguish for Gala
Berwick Rangers 2
Gala Fairydean Rovers 2
Gala Fairydean Rovers came agonisingly close to getting 2020 off to a flying start, only to be deprived of victory by an injury-time equaliser at Shielfield on Saturday.
The Braw Lads seemed to be holding out for a 2-1 victory but, in a frantic finish, Berwick grabbed a 96th-minute leveller through Euan Smith, whose 20-yard trundler squeezed into the bottom corner of the net.
Before that, GFR had looked reasonably comfortable and were deserving of their lead, thanks to a double from skipper Danny Galbraith.
But their inability to see the game out cost them dearly and another two dropped points on the road.
Gala FR took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark when Galbraith fired home a low shot from 12 yards.
Berwick’s only response in the first half was a Yaw Osei header from close range, which soared over the bar when he should have at least hit the target.
The home side upped the pace after the interval and Osei made amends by getting the equaliser in the 79th minute.
New Gala signing from Stirling Albion, Gareth Rodger – who otherwise had an excellent debut – was dispossessed on the touchline and Osei was allowed to run unchallenged to slide home the leveller.
Gala came storming back and Niall Kelly forced a diving save from ‘keeper Sean Brennan with a curling shot from the edge of the box with five minutes remaining.
But, from the resultant corner, Gala FR took the lead when the ball was was cleared only as far as Galbraith, who fired a low 20-yard shot through a cluster of bodies and into the net.
A second yellow card for Scott-Taylor MacKenzie on the 90 minute mark ensured it would be a difficult end to the match for the visitors.
And so it proved when, deep into injury time, substitute Smith ran unchallenged and unleashed a shot which looked to be going wide but found the net.
Even after that, Gala almost won it when Marc Berry outpaced the home defence, only to see his effort brilliantly saved by the outstretched foot of Brennan, with no-one following up to finish off the rebound.
Gala FR now have a run of three home matches in January, starting with the visit of Caldeonian Braves this Saturday at 3pm.