Gala Fairydean Rovers 0

Spartans 2

By David Knox

at Netherdale

THE cruel side of football surfaced on Saturday for everyone connected with the Fairydean Rovers.

This thrilling Lowland League clash swayed one way then the other during a pulsating 90 minutes.

But just moments after being reduced to 10 men, it was Spartans who mounted a final assault to snatch the points.

The late goals were a devastating blow for Gala manager Neil Hastings.

He said: “It is frustrating that we put so much into the game and created so many good chances that we walk away with nothing.

“The lesson is that we need to take those chances and get ourselves in front when we are on top.”

Spartans showed early why they are still among the league’s top teams with energetic closing down and the carving out of a couple of early chances.

But Fraser Morton was equal to Scott Maxwell’s shot and Dean Hoskins’s effort was deflected round the post.

Gala, though, began to stretch the visitors with some eye-catching movement and passing.

Scott Taylor Mackenzie did round keeper Blair Carswell but his angled shot rifled into the side-netting.

The same midfielder rattled the bar with a dipping 25-yard free kick.

But the best chance of all came in the 27th minute after Danny Galbraith remarkably waltzed his way past three defenders on the byline to square to the back post, only for Levi Kinchant to miss the target from five yards out.

Kinchant almost immediately made amends as he burst into the area to tee up Marc Berry, but the former Vale midfielder squeezed his shot wide of the far post.

Spartans did finish the half on the front foot and they had a strong claim for a penalty as a Hoskins header was blocked on the line by the arm of Alex Chingwalu.

It had been a promising opening half with Gala’s midfield of Taylor Mackenzie, Galbraith and David Bonnar more than holding their own.

And the new pairing of Dino Leddie and Ben Herdman looked solid in the centre of the home defence.

Gala did create a couple of chances early in the second half with Lewis Grant heading just wide and Berry’s terrific cross just evading Phil Addison in front of goal.

The relentless pace, though, began to show in the home ranks with tired legs allowing the visitors to turn the tide.

But apart from a couple of shots that Morton saved, Spartans couldn’t really threaten the home goal with their increased possession.

A second yellow card for Spartans defender Blair Tolmie in the 78th minute looked as though advantage was back with the home team.

But, apart from a brief spell of Gala pressure, it was the Ainslie Park team who had the last word.

An angled cross was only cleared as far as substitute Nicky Reid at the edge of the area in the 84th minute, and the 16-year-old rifled an unstoppable volley beyond Morton.

As Gala pressed for an equaliser deep in added time, Blair Atkinson won the race for a long clearance to chip Morton near the half way line and run the ball into the empty net.

Spartans manager Dougie Samuel said: “I thought both sets of players showed great commitment today and it was a game that could have gone either way.

“I’m just happy that it was us who made the breakthrough.”

Gala:. F Morton, L Grant, A Chingwalu, B Hardman, D Leddie, L Kinchant (R Mayer 78), S Taylor Mackenzie, D Bonnar (N Kelly 88), D Galbraith, M Berry & P Addison (Y Galantes 61).