Gretna 1

Selkirk 3

Kenny Paterson at Raydale Park

THEY were out of form, depleted in numbers and 1-0 down at half time against a side who had beaten them the previous week.

But against the odds, Selkirk produced a second half comeback at Gretna which proved this young team has plenty heart, alongside their promising talent.

There were numerous impressive showings, despite Selkirk boss Ian Fergus only having 13 outfield players to choose from, led by ex-St Johnstone man George Hunter who scored one and set up another goal in a blistering second half showing.

Fergus said: “It was a big test for us to go to Gretna especially with four key players missing.

“We didn’t deserve to be behind at half time and we told the players at the interval that if we got one goal, we would go on to win the game.

“We dominated the majority of the second half, and players who have been on the peripheral of the team such as Lewis Turkington and Ciaren Chalmers were outstanding.

“George Hunter is still working on his fitness but he took his goal very well.”

Fergus was dealt a blow before the game with Reece Donaldson joining David Banjo, Ricky Miller and Dale Baxter on the injury list but Murray Christie returned to the backline which had looked shaky in the 2-0 loss to Gretna at Yarrow Park seven days earlier.

There were still some nervy moments at Raydale Park, with Ryan Sclater making an excellent block to deny Kevin Connelly, before strong penalty claims for a challenge on Connelly were ignored by referee Steven Reid.

But Selkirk looked dangerous on the break and when Hunter’s cross found Chalmers unmarked at the back post, the visitors looked certain to go ahead, only for John Jamieson to make a brilliant save, followed by another to deny Daryl Healy’s follow up header.

A minute later, and Gretna went ahead. A corner from Ellis Pearson was bundled in by Connelly, despite Selkirk protests that the ball had not crossed the line.

Selkirk were not out of the game, and could have equalised when Jamie Hope headed a Christie free kick against his own post.

But Fergus’ men also had to rely on the reflexes of Gregor Amos to brilliantly tip away a Liam Studholme shot to keep them in the game at the start of the second half.

It was to prove a pivotal moment.

Three goals in five minutes followed for Selkirk, with Healy firing Sclater’s free kick beyond Jamieson on 57 minutes, before Hunter showed his blistering pace to beat Gretna’s backline, round Jamieson and tap into the empty net.

The scoring was completed when the shocked home side again failed to deal with a Sclater free kick, which found Hunter who set up Chalmers for a 62nd minute third goal.

There were a couple of classic goalmouth stramashes in the closing stages, but Selkirk’s defence, led by the dominant Andrew Fleming, held out for a gutsy win.

Selkirk: G. Amos, R. Sclater, A. Fleming, M. Christie, G. Hunter (C. Helm 70), D. Heay, C. Chalmers, L. Turkington, P. Addison (J. Hopkinson 76), S. McKirdy, R. King.