Gala day floats Spartans league title hopes boat

Posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Three goals in three first half minutes earned Spartans another valuable victory in the quest for the Lowland League title.

With Scott Bennett ruled out through injury, it was a return between the Spartans sticks for Ross Gilpin as Spartans looked to maintain their 9 point lead at the top of the Scottish Sun Lowland League.

Spartans started off well earning a free-kick within the opening sixty seconds. Motion’s strike hit the Rovers wall before being despatched for a corner.  The in-swinger was met at the near post by Bremner however his header was deflected away from goal.

Gala, on the back of victories against Vale of Leithen & Threave, came into the game with Des Sutherland letting fly in the 17th minute.  Unfortunately for him, his shot clearing Gilpin’s crossbar, making its way into the neighbouring rugby 7s tournament at Netherdale.

With the respective Managers contemplating their half-time team talks, a triple-whammy of strikes at the end of a frustrating 45 minutes left the scripts needing to be hastily re-written and hairdryers put back in the cupboard.

Keith McLeod latched on to a route one pass and the legendary striker out-paced McBride before leaving John Dodds with little chance as his shot whizzed into the back of the net. 0-1

The Gala defence barely had time to regroup before Beesley burst up the wing and after shaking off the attentions of Greene, he squared the ball across the six yard box for Motion to side-foot the ball into the unguarded goal to double the Spartans lead. 0-2

Spartans appeared to have their opponents like a boxer on the ropes.  Worse was to follow as the home defence were forced to take another damaging body blow.

Lovely linked-up play between McLeod and Motion saw the latter curl a delightful shot with the outside of the boot round Dodds and in off the base of the post.  The shrill of the Referee’s whistle for half-time offering relief for a decidedly shell-shocked Rovers.

Half Time: Gala Fairydean Rovers 0-3 Spartans

A top drawer save by Gilpin denied Andrew Common from heading Gala back into the game after five minutes of the second half, drawing applause from both sets of fans in the stand.

As the half played on, the busiest man of the afternoon was the lad on the Rovers bench who was required to produce a new ball each time a wayward shot caused the ball-boys a trip to retrieve a misguided spherical missile from the rugby pitches.

With plenty of football still to be played this season, Chris Anderson and Sean Muhsin replaced John Grant and Willie Bremner as Spartans looked to introduce fresh legs into a game that had dropped its intensity.

Muhsin had a decent attempt on the Rovers goal before McLeod’s attempt wouldn’t have looked out of place across the fence as it cleared the crossbar before hitting the beer tent at the rugby.

Spartans final replacement saw Henretty replace Beesley.

Anderson almost added a late fourth after fine individual skill saw him take the ball past two defenders before lobbing the keeper.  His shot looked destined for the postage stamp top corner however McBride just about got enough of his head on the ball to deflect it past the post.

Full Time: Gala Fairydean Rovers 0-3 Spartans

The result pleased goal scorer Keith McLeod.  The striker, making his return from suspension smiled, “It’s a lot easier to make a difference on the pitch than sitting in the stand.”  McLeod, scoring his 30th goal of the season, added, “I’m happy to be back playing and hopefully that can continue and no more daft red cards!

”We’ve got another tough league game next week at Whitehill and the boys are desperate to reverse the recent Cup Final result and maybe if we keep 11 on the pitch, we’ll have a good chance.”

Man of the Match: Kevin Motion

Spartans XI v Gala FR: Gilpin, Brown, Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Main, Grant (Muhsin), Beesley (Henretty), Whatley, Bremner (Anderson), McLeod, Motion. Subs: Blaikie, MacCuish.

Next Fixture

Date: 16/07/24
Opponent: Cove Rangers
Venue:Balmoral Stadium
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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