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  • David Knox


Gala Fairydean Rovers 2

Whitehill Welfare 3

Lowland League

FUMING Fairydean Rovers manager Steven Noble watched in horror as his team fell to their fourth defeat in a row on Wednesday evening.

Despite a sluggish start the home team continued to look the more likely to emerge winners in the entertaining tussle with Whitehill.

But conceding two goals from set pieces in the final half hour proved to be Gala's undoing.

Noble told us: "I could only see one team winning the game after we got on level terms but we shot ourselves in the foot by switching off yet again at a set piece.

"I didn't think we were good in the first half and I was pleased to get in just one goal down but we were a lot better in the second half after we changed our shape and probably did enough to deserve the win.

"The pressure starts building when you go on a losing run like this and we all feel it."

Gala's inability to dictate the tempo of games has been a telling factor in recent weeks.

The usually, easy to watch, flowing football has fallen flat with misplaced passes and poor decision making.

The same problems surfaced early on Wednesday evening as Whitehill were quickly on top.

Only a remarkable save from Kieran Wright, who instinctively dived to his left to fingertip Dale O'Hara's deflected freekick off the line, prevented the home team from going behind in the opening stages.

But there was nothing the on-loan Rangers stopper could do on 25 minutes after palming Conor McGregor's effort onto the post, only for Michael Osbourne to squeeze home the rebound.

Gala began to get to grips with the game approaching the half hour - and they were unfortunate not to be level on 33 minutes.

Ross Aitchison climbed well to head Darren Smith's angled freekick inches past the far post.

And five minutes later Jack Hay's close-range shot was well blocked by Bryan Young.

But Welfare, and particularly former Vale of Leithen midfielder Osbourne, continued to look dangerous.

Wright made two fine saves in the closing quarter hour - and Osbourne, uncharacteristically, headed wide at the back post with the goal at his mercy.

The Netherdale faithful were looking for a response, and it came just two minutes into the second half.

Persistence from the busy Danny Simpson led to Aitchison collecting the ball inside the box before being tripped for a penalty.

Smith tucked away the spot kick to equalise.

Smith turned provider five minutes later but Aitchison could only head his cross into the welcoming hands of Young.

Welfare restored their lead on the hour after being awarded a freekick 20 yards from goal.

McGregor's spectacular curling effort crashed in off the far post despite Wright flinging himself across goal.

The lead only lasted four minutes with Simpson bursting down the flank to provide a perfectly driven cross into the path of Adam Watson to net from five yards.

Substitute Ashley Langford and Hay both fired over as the home team searched for a winner.

But in the 85th minute it was the visitors who added to their tally. Osbourne created enough room for himself to latch onto a corner with an unstoppable volley from 15 yards.

K Wright, L Stephen (S Bonnington 86), S Main, K waugh, B Herdman, R Aitchison (R Lamb 62), D Smith, D McColm, J Hay, D Simpson (A Langford 66) & A Watson.

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