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  • David Knox | Border Telegraph





A calamatous four minutes led to Gala’s losing streak being stretched to four games on Saturday. After a bright start against lowly Whitehill, the Fairydean Rovers came unstuck through defensive and goalkeeping errors just before the interval. Despite rallying in the second half the damage had been done. Manager Steven Noble couldn’t hide his frustration at the final whistle. He said: “We got off to a dream start and were playing comfortably but when they came at us we were all at sea in defence. “It was comical defending which allowed them to score three goals in five minutes before half time. “We need to sort out our defensive issues before the Scottish Cup tie in a couple of weeks.”

With the injured Scott Main watching from the sidelines, Kieran Ainslie suspended and Sean Guiney on holiday, Noble was forced to drop midfielder Billy Miller in at full back and recall centre half Lewis Swaney from the club’s amateur team. During the opening stages it looked as though the changes were benefitting Gala. Swaney played in Stuart Noble after only three minutes, but his angled effort was headed off the line by Ryan McKenzie. Just a minute later Swaney was also denied by a McKenzie goal-line clearance. But from the resultant corner the towering centre half eventually found the net with a powerful header. Ross Jardine had also made a couple of good saves in the opening exchanges as Gala began brightly. But the problems emerged as soon as Whitehill went up the other end. On 12 minutes James McPartlin floated in a deep angled cross and William Kidd enjoyed an acre of space to volley into the far corner of the net. McKenzie smashed a shot inches wide as the Rosewell team continued to expose gaps in the Gala defence. And only a good save from Lewis Muir prevented Mark Smith finding the net on the half hour. The home team had enjoyed their fair share of possession but the best they could muster in the latter stages of the opening half was a Noble shot which flashed past the post after good work by Adam Watson.

With half time approaching attacking midfielder Jack Wright made sure the points were going back to Midlothian with a sensational hat-trick in just over four minutes. The 20-year, who had only netted once prior to Saturday, expertly caressed McPartlin’s low cross beyond Muir. Exactly three minutes later the former Cowdenbeath player found the net again with a 25-yard drive which somehow went through the hands of Muir after Gala had failed to clear their lines. And within 90 seconds he nipped into the area to nod Mark Smith’s cross into the net. Wright could easily have scored a fourth just a minute later but, again unmarked, he volleyed McPartlin’s cross over the bar.

Noble made changes at the break and Gala did gain a degree of dominance for lengthy periods. They were rewarded with Windram rifling a low shot into the net on the hour. Despite plenty of energy from substitute Rhys Craigie the home team never looked like they would get back on terms. And, with 10 minutes remaining, former Selkirk striker Gary Nicholson made sure it was Whitehill’s day as he charged through a couple of challenges to slot the ball home from the angle on his debut.

Gala Fairydean Rovers. L Muir, L Stephen, B Miller, L Swaney (R Aitchison 46), D Bonnar, D Smith, S Paliczka (R Craigie 46), S Noble, J Gullan & A Watson.

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