Gala Fairydean Rovers came within one point of winning the second Scottish Walking Football League after a dramatic final day at Ravenscraig on Wednesday.
The first game, against North Lanarkshire, started nervously for Gala, who conceded an early goal. But their persistent attacking was rewarded with an equaliser by John Dodds and then the ultimate winner from Gordon Rae.
The second game. against Fife Wanderers. saw Gala progress further, with a goal by Gordon Rae and two from Jim Watters, (one a penalty), eventually winning 3- 1.
The third game, against Glasgow East, started off disastrously for Gala, losing two goals in the first four minutes. Mike Godsman pulled a goal back in the eighth minute. Then, five minutes later, Jim McLaren appeared to have equalised, only to have the goal controversially disallowed for encroaching in to the penalty area. Jim Watters eventually made it 2-2 in the dying minute.
The final game was a dogged affair against a stubborn Ayr United Parkhouse, which was resolved in the last seconds by a goal from the imperious Jim Watters, resulting in a 1-0 win for Gala FR.
Hearts 56 eventually retained the title on goal difference from Hearts 98, with Gala FR in third place, one point behind.
Had Jim McLaren’s ‘goal’ stood, however, Gala’s superior goal difference would have seen them crowned champions.
Defender Mike Godsman said: “There have been some great individual performances during this year’s campaign but, ultimately, it was the strength of our team ethic ,against many teams with far greater playing resources, that took us so close to winning the National League Title this year.
The squad extended thanks to Lynne Marshall of Scottish Borders Council Community Capacity Team for her commitment to organising and promoting Walking Football in Galashiels and the wider Borders, as well as Gala Fairydean RoversFC, and main sponsor Zest Blinds.
Walking football continues throughout the winter with sessions held at Langlee Community Centre every Monday and Thursday from 2.30pm-4pm. New members will be made welcome.
Pictured is the Gala FR squad (back row) Chris Westwood, Jim Watters, Glenn Milne, John Dickson, John Dodds. Front, Jim McLaren, Martin Edmunds, Mike Godsman and Gordon Rae.