NORTH Lanarkshire Leisure won the 2019 Gala Fairydean Rovers Walking Football tournament at Netherdale Stadium on Sunday.

In what was the largest entry to date, a total of 12 sides from throughout Scotland took part.

After ten sets of group fixtures, Linlithgow Rose won Group A with Tranent finishing in second place.

The eventual winners from North Lanarkshire won Group B with Gala Fairydean Rovers finishing runners up.

Previous winners Gretna 2008 finished in in third place despite only conceding one goal in the five games.

The semi-final between Gala and Linlithgow was the outstanding fixture of the day with play raging from end to end and both clubs creating chances.

Gala took the lead with a goal to grace any game after a seven touch move which ended with Gordon Rae curling sensational 20-yard strike which flew into the top corner of the net leaving the keeper helpless.

Rose fought back and equalised before John Dodds looked to have secured victory, but a late penalty from Linlithgow took the tie to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Jim Watters, Gordon Rae, John Dodds, Howard Edge and Mike Godsman all scored whilst Ross Buchan saved the final effort from Linlithgow.

North Lanarkshire Leisure beat Tranent in the other semi-final with a controversial goal which was hotly disputed by the Tranent players.

Tranent beat Linlithgow Rose in the third/fourth place play off before a hard-fought final between Gala and Lanarkshire Leisure ended goalless.

Gala had the better chances but Lanarkshire’s keeper was in outstanding form which continued into the penalty shoot out where he saved twice to secure victory.

After the game Gala Coach John Dickson said: “Congratulations to North Lanarkshire who performed to a high standard throughout the tournament.

“It was a fantastic day and I was proud of our players gave their all. It reminded me of the Scotland World Cup campaign on 1974 when we exited the tournament undefeated.

“I would like to thank all the volunteers at Gala Fairydean Rovers who gave up their time to help run the event and in particular the referees Rob Fairbairn, Stewart Robertson, Fred Blackie, Derek McGill and also Ed Jackson from Melrose who all performed their duties admirably and to a high standard and club secretary Paul Gray who kept track of all the results and acted as a timekeeper and compere.

“Without their help the tournament could not have taken place. I would also like to thank Scottish Water who provided enough water to keep everyone hydrated which is very important and the staff of the Red and Black Café who kept everyone fed and watered.

“In addition, it was reassuring to have the St Andrews First Aid team of Neil and Jennifer on site and thankfully they were not kept too busy.

“Finally thanks to Lynne Marshall of Scottish Borders Council who has been instrumental in bringing walking football to the Scottish Borders.”