Third win on bounce turns season around for Gala Fairydean Rovers
That 2-1 victory was secured by an 83rd-minute Danny Galbraith penalty awarded for a handball and a Jamie Semple header from an Alan Smith cross two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match after Will Antoniuk had put the bottom-of-the-table students ahead at Netherdale in Galashiels quarter of an hour in.
It followed wins by 2-0 at home to Stirling University on Saturday and 3-2 away to Broomhill seven days previously, continuing a turnaround in fortunes for the Borderers after a three-game losing streak last month saw them concede 16 goals, with only one in reply, to Linlithgow Rose, East Kilbride and Celtic B.
They’re hoping to keep up those winning ways on the road at Cowdenbeath this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm, and they go into that game, their tenth of the season, sitting ninth in the Scottish Lowland Football League table, up from 12th, on 13 points, one point and one league place better off than their hosts, having played one match more.
Gala’s scorers at the weekend were Semple, from a Ciaran Greene assist, on 21 minutes and Gospel Ocholi on 87.
Though it took Rovers until within ten minutes of the final whistle to make their numerical advantage count against Edinburgh Uni, reduced to ten men by a 44th-minute red card for Antoniuk for a foul on Michael Aitken, captain Galbraith reckons they should have got on the scoresheet earlier on, a prior Semple header having been chalked off despite appearing to have crossed the line.
“Obviously, the longer the time ticks away, the more it probably feels like it’s not going to be your night, but it’s important to keep going,” said the 33-year-old.
“We stressed at half-time that we didn’t need to score in the first five minutes of the second half as there’d be 45 minutes to turn it around and we had to keep going to the end.
“It certainly wasn’t a performance we were necessarily too happy with but a positive, other than the three points, was that we did keep going right until the end and thankfully we got over the line.”
Galbraith was convinced Semple’s apparent goal earlier in the second half should have stood, saying: “I thought it was over the line, 100%, so when their goalkeeper’s pulling off some brilliant saves and then a decision like that goes against you, and there was also a pretty clear handball on the line at one point as well that wasn’t given, it does make you think it’s maybe not going to be your night but it’s important not to feel sorry for yourself and keep going and that’s what we did.”
Galbraith is hoping Rovers can extend their winning streak to four fixtures in Fife this weekend, saying: “It’s going to be really tough game, there’s no doubt about that, but, like every game, we’ve got to go into it with confidence.
“On paper, it’s a 50-50 game we feel we can win if we’re at it and they probably look at us and think exactly the same. It’s these sorts of games that will dictate our season and we’re going into it on the back of three good results so we’ve got to take confidence from that.”
Sunday’s Scottish Cup first-round draw handed Rovers a home tie against Scottish Highland Football League basement side Strathspey Thistle on Saturday, September 23.