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  • Callum Hodgson (Border Telegraph)


Photo by Debi Ritchie (GFR)




GALA Fairydean Rovers reversed a two-goal deficit twice to claim a point in an eight-goal thriller against Lowland League new boys Edusport Academy on Friday night. Noble’s men found themselves 2-0 down within 24 minutes when Thomas Garnier capitalised on a Mark Walters mistake and Maxime Oulaitoh knocked in from a corner. But headed goals from Kieran Ainslie and Stuart Noble got the Fairydean Rovers back into the game – although it wasn’t finished there.

Clement Jordan put the home side back in front on the stroke of half time, and a wonder strike from Ahmed Bouchentouf on 69 minutes restored Edusport’s two-goal advantage. But Gala didn’t give up. Scott Main converted a header just five minutes later and a brilliantly hit free kick from Billy Miller three minutes before the whistle ensured Gala brought a point back to the Borders – the very least they deserved. Boss Noble told the Border Telegraph: “On reflection, with 10 minutes to go, at 4-2 down you would take 4-4.

“All the lads really put in a shift. I couldn’t question their effort, I just think we need to tighten up a wee bit. “We regrouped and got ourselves back into it and came back brilliantly in the first half. I was very optimistic after that. But then we conceded a freak goal when they caught us on the break. “They went and scored another in the second half, but we brought on Adam Watson and he gave us a real spark. Jamie Gullan was also outstanding and we obviously came back again. It was a brilliant free kick from Billy Miller.” The visitors could have taken the lead on 15 minutes, but former Queen of the South keeper Bryn Halliwell was equal to Miller’s strike. But three minutes later they found themselves behind when Walters charged out of his box to try and clear his lines, but he was dispossessed by Garnier, who slotted into the empty net. Ricky Waddell’s side doubled their advantage when an unmarked Oulaitoh knocked in a Craig Quinn corner at the back stick.

This seemed to act as a wake-up call. Two minutes later Darren Smith whipped in a free kick, which found Ainslie’s head to make the game 2-1. Edusport seemed to struggle to defend high balls and set pieces all evening and Gala were soon level courtesy of another header. Main fired in a dangerous cross and Noble flicked it past the goalkeeper. It looked as if it was going to be all-square at the interval, but the home side had other ideas. Jordan picked up the ball from a Gala corner and sprinted the length of the pitch to beat Walters at the neat post. The Fairydean Rovers had most of the chances in the second half and should have scored when Hibs loanee Jamie Gullan found Ross Aitchison in the box, but he missed the target. And they were made to pay. Bouchentouf somehow managed to find the top-right corner from the edge of the area, giving the goalkeeper no chance.But it wasn’t done and dusted. Five minutes later Smith looped in a corner from the left and Main headed home.Gala pushed, with Gullan creating some good opportunities.And three minutes before the whistle they got what they deserved. Miller stepped up to take a free kick on the edge of the area and drilled it into the bottom corner to claim a point.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: M Walters, L Stephen, S Main, G Windram, K Ainslie (A Watson 49), D Bonnar (C Heugh 70), D Smith, B Miller, S Noble, J Gullan, R Aitchison (M Berry 67). Subs not used: G Brown, S Paliczka, L Swaney, L Muir.

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