Whitehill Welfare 1

Gala Fairydean Rovers 1

Kenny Paterson

at Ferguson Park

“NOT good enough” was how furious Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Dean Shanks described his side’s showing on Saturday as their awful Ferguson Park record continued.

Despite having lost five out of six previous matches at the Midlothian venue, Gala were heavy favourites against a Whitehill Welfare side who were officially relegated the previous midweek.

And while the visitors did take the lead through Phil Addison’s heavily deflected first half shot, Mikey Hamilton’s equaliser 15 minutes from time was thoroughly deserved.

At full time, Shanks even felt his side could have lost the game against a team with just one Lowland League win all season.

He said: “There are no excuses for that performance. It was not good enough.

“We have a chance for Gala to achieve one of their highest ever Lowland League positions and have a cup quarter final to come, yet we just went through the motions today.

“We were fully prepared, including playing a midweek warm up game on grass to get us ready for the Ferguson Park pitch.

"We knew we would have to fight and battle to get a result here but it didn’t happen and we maybe even deserved to lose the game.”

It felt like a meaningless end of season game during a first half of few chances but plenty of mistakes by both sides.

Welfare looked the better side initially, with Gala struggling to find their feet on the sodden Ferguson Park pitch.

Gala’s cause was not helped when right back Ryan Stevenson hobbled off with a painful looking knee injury after 20 minutes, with their centre half Patrick Scullion then needing to make a vital headed clearance from Jack Wright’s excellent cross.

Fairydean Rovers rarely threatened but still managed to open the scoring on half an hour with a goal which summed up Whitehill’s luck this season.

Addison’s low shot from the edge of the box was heading in the direction of the bottom left hand corner of the net until a massive deflection off David Wilson took the ball spinning into the opposite corner.

Kevin Keane scored the goal of the Scottish Cup first round this season with a stunning strike against Edinburgh University, and the left back almost scored another cracker, only for his 55th minute free kick to be tipped over brilliantly by Patrick Martin.

Addison could have finished the game after a nice move involving new signing Scott Taylor-Mackenzie and Ruari Paton set the ex-Selkirk man clean through but his delicate chip hit the crossbar rather than the net.

Dale Baxter then also struck the bar while Wright had another effort well saved by Martin at the other end as the game at last sparked into life.

And the homesters eventually levelled with Keane’s corner headed in by Hamilton on 75 minutes.

Gala’s Darren Smith almost won the game in dramatic fashion in the final minute as his cross evaded everyone in a packed penalty box, but keeper Paul Grant managed to claw the ball away just in time.

Shanks added: “We face Dalbeattie Star next week who have been playing well.

"We will need to be much, much better to get a result.”

Gala Fairydean Rovers: P. Martin, R. Stevenson (T. Patterson 20), S. Main, P. Scullion, K. Ainslie (R. Miller 75), D. Smith, K. Watson, S. Taylor-Mackenzie (S. Cunningham 83), R. Paton, D. Baxter, P. Addison.