GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS 1
UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING 1
GALA gaffer Steven Noble says there’s a different mindset at Netherdale this season, after his side dominated a talented University of Stirling side on Saturday afternoon. GFR suffered an early setback when Chris Geddes converted against the run of play, leaving the Braw Lads with an uphill battle.
But two minutes into the second half, skipper Scott Main pinged the ball into the box and it somehow deflected in courtesy of Danny Ashe, to make sure the points were shared. Noble thought the response should have come sooner after outplaying the visitors.
He told the Border Telegraph: “We played some real positive football and created some great chances, but obviously we were a bit aggrieved to go a goal down when we were so on top and that gave them a bit of a boost.
“I think we finished the first half the stronger team and we were unfortunate not to equalise prior to half time.
“In the second half I felt from the whistle we were dominant. We were superior and well on top. We created several great chances. Jamie (Newman) was almost a spectator in that second half, but he’s always on his toes and alert. He has been fantastic for us, so we’re really gutted not to win the game,”
“The players are totally deflated because they feel we should have won and that tells you there’s a different mindset at Gala this season. We want to beat every team we play.
“There’ll be ups and downs but the boys should take some positives from that. Stirling are a top team but I felt we were the better side today.”
It was all Gala in the first 15 minutes. The ever-present Ross Aitchison showed GFR’s attacking intent in just the first minute when he fired a shot at Tim Hughes. He was soon involved again. Darren Smith knocked a brilliant ball into the box and Aitchison connected but saw his effort headed off the line.
In the 16th minute Stirling’s Paul McCafferty broke away against the run of play and managed to thread through poacher Geddes, who slotted home for his first of the season. It was a big blow for Gala who deserved to be in front. But Shelley Kerr’s side almost doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when Lewis Bonar played in Geddes, who couldn’t hit the target after rounding Newman.
Noble’s side then started to take control again and Jack Hay had three good efforts in the matter of minutes, but none could beat Hughes in the Stirling goal. A minute before the break the home side should have been level. Aitchison played in Hay, but again he couldn’t convert.
Last week’s 3-2 victory over BSC Glasgow highlights that. And they got exactly what they deserved in the 47th minute when Main’s shot from the edge of the box deflected off the boot of Ashe, bounced up in the air and lobbed the keeper. Rory MacEwan then came close for the visitors six minutes later, but that was the last real chance for Stirling. Jack Hay then saw another shot saved soon after and Ashley Langford really should have done better with a dead ball, which was sprayed in by Smith.
Substitute Dean McColm gave Gala a much-needed fresh pair of legs and four minutes before the end he weaved past Michael Touhy, but his effort was gathered by the Stirling stopper. Then in the third minute of stoppage time GFR should have snatched the game. Ashe couldn’t deal with an aerial ball, but Hay couldn’t take advantage and headed over the crossbar.
Gala Fairydean Rovers: J Newman, L Stephen, S Main, K Waugh (S Bonnington 90), M Allen (R Clapperton HT), B Herdman, D Smith, A Watson, A Langford (D McColm 71), J Hay, R Aitchison. Not used: G Windrum, K Collins, R Lamb