University of Stirling 1
Gala Fairydean Rovers 0
at Falkirk Stadium
GALA were dealt a cruel blow on Saturday, when Rory MacEwan snatched all three points for the University of Stirling in the 89th minute.
It looked as the game would end goalless as both sides squandered chances. But there’s no such thing as 0-0 draws in the Lowland league.
The Fairydean Rovers were missing several first team regulars and could only name four substitutes – one being Andrew Callow who made the step up from the 17s.
And they held their own throughout the game, until substitute MacEwan converted in the closing stages, after he beat the offside flag.
Gutted gaffer Steven Noble told us: “I thought we were strong and didn’t concede too many chances and our game plan was working.
“We were doing pretty well considering we had a few players missing. The guys who came in were excellent and we were well in the game in the first half. Even in the second half we had the better of the chances.
“Obviously we are really disappointed to concede so late on after we had defended so well. To concede a goal with a minute to go is really sickening, but in the Lowland League you’ve got to concentrate right until the end or you’ll get punished.”
It was an incredibly quiet first half, but most of the chances that did arrive, fell to Stirling.
Chris Geddes had a couple and Lewis Bonar fired wide of the left post.
It was perhaps surprising, considering the quality of the pitch, which normally plays host to Championship football.
But despite a slow first 45, things picked up after the interval.
Paul McAfferty laid off George Leigh, but he fired wide and Tomos Jones forced a fantastic top-corner fingertip save from Kieran Wright – a touch so slight that a goal kick was awarded.
Shelley Kerr made two substitutions in eight minutes in an attempt to crank up the pressure, but Gala started to settle.
Shane Bonnington drove along the by-line towards goal, but had his shot saved at the near post and Stuart Noble fired over the bar after some good play from Sean Paliczka.
And then a golden chance fell. Billy Miller stormed forward, after getting the better of Kyle Faulds, he found Noble but his shot was drilled into the body a Uni defender.
It was a let off for Kerr’s men. They hit back with an effort from Faulds, but that was blasted over the crossbar.
Both teams would have probably settled for a draw and it looked like that was what they were going to get.
But on the 89th minute, after some good play from Ross Kellock and Sam Jamieson on the left, the ball was threaded through to MacEwan who slotted home to steal all three points.
As the ball was played through, the linesman seemed to raise his flag, but lowered it as the ball crossed the line.
The only explanation being that a different Uni player was in an offside position.
There was four minutes added on. Enough time for Wright to make another two good saves, again from MacEwan and McAfferty. It was certainly harsh on Gala, but they still sit in a respectable ninth place and remain the highest-ranked Borderers.
Border Telegraph man of the match: Sean Pringle.
Gala: K Wright, L Stephen, G Windram, J Krones, L Swaney, S Bonnington (B Noble 83), S Pringle, R Aitchison, B Miller, S Paliczka, S Noble. Subs not used: A Common, A Callow, R Clapperton