GFR TAKE ALL THE POINTS AT NETHERDALE
CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS 1
SCOTTISH LOWLAND LEAGUE
MIDFIELDER Scott Taylor-Mackenzie went from villain to hero inside five minutes on Saturday as Gala Fairydean Rovers beat Civil Service Strollers 3-1 at Netherdale. The 24-year-old had given away a needless, early second-half penalty to allow Connor Young to level the scores. But almost immediately he led the recovery with a stunning 30-yard strike. Taylor-Mackenzie said: "I was determined to get a goal after letting the boys down by giving away the penalty.
"I practise long strikes and freekicks so when I get the chance, I like to have a go.
"The most important thing today is that we beat Civil and collected the three points that take us the table."
It had been a sluggish start from Neil Hastings' team which saw Strollers dominate early play. And Ross Guthrie should have done better than drag a shot wide of Fraser Morton's goal in the fifth minute. Gala gradually found their feet and began to dictate the tempo with Taylor-Mackenzie, Danny Galbraith and Ross Aitchison controlling midfield. Phil Addison went within a whisker of steering Zander Murray's cross home at the back post, and moments later an Addison corner was deflected onto the roof of his own net by Guthrie.
Both Galbraith and Taylor-Mackenzie went within inches of making the breakthrough as the first half wore on. But it was just before the interval that the Fairydean Rovers went closest with a Galbraith lob coming back off the bar before being scrambled clear as Addison prepared to pounce. And from the resultant corner Ben Herdman also clattered the woodwork with a close-range header.
Gala, who had impressed in all areas of the park, went in front from a corner on the hour. Aitchison rose well to head goal-wards and Murray was on hand to poke the ball over the line. But the lead only lasted three minutes as Mackenzie-Taylor dived into a challenge on Craig Newall inside the area. Young gave Morton little chance with a powerfully struck penalty to level the scores.
Mackenzie-Taylor quickly made amends as he ran onto Galbraith's lay-off to curl a spectacular 30-yard dipping shot beyond Lewis Budinauckas and into the far corner of the net. Aitchison made sure of the victory in the 80th minute as he fired home at the back post after some impressive build up play.
The victory pleased manager Hastings. He said: "We didn't start particularly well but once we got going I thought we were good today.
"I need to keep reminding myself what a young group of players we have here, and they are improving as a group all the time.
"You know you've done well if you beat Civil, and we did well today."
Gala Fairydean Rovers: F Morton, L Grant, C Hall, B Herdman, G Rodger, S Taylor-Mackenzie, P Addison, R Aitchison, Z Murray, D Galbraith & J Campbell. Subs. M Berry, A Roue, C McBride, S ward & L Campbell.