Gretna FC 2008 v Gala Fairydean Rovers
Scottish Sun Lowland League
Saturday 17th January. Galabank, Annan
Storm damage at Raydale forced the relocation of this match to Annan Athletic’s Galabank ground, and Gretna fans and officials were effusive in their appreciation of their neighbours hospitality.
The Gretna forwards were a little less welcoming to the players who had made the trip from the Borders. A mere five minutes had passed before Iain Anderson rounded John Dodds in the Gala goal to set up Scott Milligan with an easy tap in to open the scoring. Gala rallied and Ross Aitchison could have levelled the scores but sent the ball inches wide of Graham Wright’s right hand post.
It was only minutes later, however when Brandon Longcake extended Gretna’s lead, volleying a Conor Graham corner past Dodds. Play was moving from end to end. However, where the Gala build up was somewhat laboured, that of Gretna was incisive. Twenty minutes into the game, Gretna forced three corners in succession without converting any of them. Darren Addison was booked on the half hour mark when he committed one foul too many for referee Stephen Graham’s taste. Rob Halliday joined him in the ref’s notebook five minutes later.
Gretna continued to bother Dodds in the Gala goal. In 38 minutes, an Anderson shot was well saved. Two minutes later Scott Milligan shot narrowly past his left hand post. Minutes later he was called upon to parry a Brandon Longcake shot.
Just before half time the Gretna pressure paid off again when the ball came to Adam Main loitering with intent on the edge of the Gala penalty area. Volleying the ball at waist height he sent it past Dodds to make the score 3-0.
Gala made a change at half time, Craig McBride coming on for Paul Hossack. At the start of the half Dodds had to save a goal bound Longcake header. Gala refused to lie down however and in 54 minutes Dean McColm got one back the visitors when he was left unattended in front of goal. As the second half evolved it was Gala who were taking the initiative with Gretna defending their lead. On the hour mark, David Bonnar broke down the right wing to set up Jamie Gibson who shot tamely past the post. A minute later it was Stuart Noble’s turn to squander a chance, shooting over the bar.
As Gala continued to dominate the half, Wright was tested more and more. In the 67th minute he had to save bravely at the feet of Jamie Gibson. However such was the pace of the game, that play immediately switched to the other end of the field where Brandon Longcake blasted the ball against the post. Back then to the Gretna end where Stuart Noble found himself in the clear but couldn’t direct his header.
Half an hour into the second half, Stuart Rome made his first change, Danny Graham coming on for Darren Anderton. Gala were still dictating the play with Gretna breaking on the counter attack. Five minutes from the end, Conor Graham sent a cross over which Iain Anderson headed over the bar.
In the final turn of the dice, Joe Slattery came on for Conor Graham and loanee Dylan Neil made his debut replacing Scott Milligan.
Gretna FC 2008: Graham Wright, Jonnie Blake, Robson Halliday, David Wallace, Alan Inglis, Darren Addison, Brandon Longcake, Adam Main, Iain Anderson, Scott Milligan, Connor Graham; Subs Joe Slattery, Danny Graham, Dylan Neil, Rory McLean, Craig Murray (Gk)
Gala Fairydean Rovers: John Dodds, Lee Stephen, David Bonnar, Grant Robinson, Paul Hossack, Kyle Collins, Ross Aitchison, Billy Miller, Stuart Noble, Jamie Gibson, Dean McColm. Subs Andrew Common, Ashley Longford, Darren Thomson, Craig McBride.