Gala 27

Dundee 24

David Morrison at Netherdale

PROBABLY the biggest cheer of the afternoon at Netherdale was for the final whistle.

After a nervous hang-on in the closing stages, which saw Dundee test the home defence, the welcome sound from the referee's lips brought relief to the Maroons supporters.

Going by the two performances so far in National League One Gala shouldn't be far away from the coveted promotion berths at the end of the season.

But, as Saturday proved, getting there will be far from comfortable.

It all began brightly enough with Dundee's Andrew Hamilton being shown yellow for infringements.

And Alan Emond took full advantage to open the scoring with a well-executed try a few minutes later. Gregor Hunter converted.

Even when Dundee were back to full strength it was Gala who continued to enjoy possession and territorial advantage.

A second try followed just after 20 minutes with Stephen Cairns touching down near the post. Hunter stretched the advantage to 14 points.

Fraser McKay responded for the visitors with a penalty.

But it was the home team who continued to drive forward with some good handling and powerful play from the pack.

Another score for Gala at this point could have ended the contest but Dundee defended well.

After the interval it was the turn of the visitors to keep hold of the ball.

Hunter did ease the pressure with a well-taken penalty to regain the 14 point advantage.

But this looked a vastly improved Dundee from the team in the first half.

Sustained pressure resulted in Isoa Matacagi finding the space to dart over for a try. McKay closed the gap to seven points with the conversion.

Gala struggled to maintain any periods of possession as Dundee forced errors and controlled close play well.

Alasdair Mackie dived over in the 63rd minute for another try, with McKay's conversion levelling the scores.

The Maroons needed a response and it came from the boot of Hunter.

His penalty took the game back in Gala's favour - and just four minutes later Graham Speirs rounded off a fine move to score a try.

Hunter's conversion gave Gala a 10 point cushion going into the final eight minutes.

But back came the Dundonians with Matacagi weaving his way to the line. McKay set up a grandstand finish with the conversion.

It was edge-of-the-seats stuff in the closing three or four minutes but Gala defended well to hold on for the whistle.

Gala: Chris Keen, Jack Chambers, Terry Logan, Cameron Pate, Blair Reavely, Chris Weir, Scott Wilkinson, Stephen Cairns: Lachlan Johnson, Gregor Hunter, Craig Russell, Alan Emond, Rex Jeffrey, Fraser Hunter & Graham Speirs. Subs: Martin Christie, Richard Tod, Robbie Irvine, John Turnbull, Daniel Nicholson