Kelso United 2
Gala Fairydean 6
EOS FIRST DIVISION
GEORGE RILEY reports from Woodside Park
Gala put their Woodside Park hoodoo behind them by smashing in six goals against a United side who were intent on striking the self-destruct button.
The crowd were scared to take their eyes off the pitch in case they missed something – with two sending offs, numerous bookings, four penalties and eight goals to take in.
Referee Paul Hanlon must have had a quiet Saturday night at home trying to catch up with the paperwork he generated in the afternoon.
The action started with barely a minute gone when United’s Steven Tait fouled Chris Anderson at the edge of the box.
From the resultant free kick Paul Young swung a cross into the box which defender Stuart Harker only cleared to the feet of Anderson on the penalty spot and the Gala striker stroked the ball past keeper David Simmonds to put Fairydean one up.
United were down to 10 men after 10 minutes when former Gala defender Lawrie Dunn, who had just been booked for a skirmish, lunged and caught Niall McGurn weaving through on goal and out came the ref’s second yellow card, followed by the red.
However, United got a goal back within a minute when a long free kick from Paul Dumma found the head of Steven Tait who rose above the defence and planted the ball in the net beyond Elliot Turnbull.
Another minute gone and Kelso were down to nine players when a short pass back to his keeper by United’s John McCutcheon was seized upon by Aaron Brunton.
Running through on goal, the Gala man was upended in the box by David Simmonds and the ref had no alternative other than to produce the red card for the No. 1.
United were forced to ring the changes by withdrawing John McCutcheon and bringing on substitute keeper Bruce Connelly.
Connelly’s first touch was picking the ball out of the net from Anderson’s penalty.
Just after the half-hour mark surprisingly United could have gone level when they were awarded a penalty. A free-kick at the edge of the box was taken by Des Burnett – his right-foot shot hit a Gala hand in the defensive wall and the referee pointed to the spot. Burnett stepped up to take the penalty, but Turnbull dived to his right and saved well.
Ten minutes before the break and another penalty, this time to Gala, when Steven Tait brought down Niall McGurn in the box. Anderson made no mistake from the spot and completed his hat-trick.
The second half was nine minutes old when Gala got their fourth goal, this time Anderson beat three defenders before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Allan Smith to head over the line. With 20 minutes left, United got their second penalty when Greg Hay brought Burnett down in the box.
This time, Burnett did convert, giving Turnbull no chance.
But the Fairydean lead was extended a minute later when a cross from the left saw United’s Dumma and Black going for the same header in the box, the ball glancing off the head of Black and ending up in the corner of the net past the helpless Connelly.
Gala were now attacking at will and completed the scoring with 15 minutes to go when substitute Billy Miller drove into the box, the ball eventually finding its way to Smith who finished the move.
Kelso: D. Simmonds (B. Connelly), J. McCutcheon, P. Dumma, L. Dunn, S. Harker, S. Tait, A. Jamieson (A. Swailes), D. McNulty, D. Burnett, C. Black (D. Knox 82), J. Swailes.
Gala: E. Turnbull, R. Glass (D. Lectic 75), G. Wood, G. Hay, C. McBride, P. Young, N. McGurn (B. Miller), A. Brunton, C. Anderson, A. Smith, C. Gow (J. Hay).