Gala edge thriller
Both teams served up a cracking match at Recreation Park and despite a hat-trick from Ryan Rutherford the Shipyard were edged out by four goals to three. The match had everything with some fine goals and a freak one too as both teams attacked each other all game. Paul Ferrier made his first start since returning to the club and Owen McCue was also back in the fold as his golfing season draws to a close.
Gala were the first on the attack and Maz Melia saved with his legs as the ball went out for a corner. From the corner in the third minute Gala took the lead when the ball broke to Scott Nightingale at the angle of the box and his strike deflected off McCue to leave Melia helpless. Ferrier nodded a corner over the bar for the Shipyard and Blair Grubb drove wide from 25yards before the Shipyard drew level. Stuart Gray played a great pass through to Ryan Rutherford who coolly lobbed the ball over the advancing Elliot Turnbull and into the net. In the 25th minute Jack Hay drove over from the edge of the box and Marc Berry outpaced the Shipyard defence but shot across the face of goal as Gala looked to regain the lead. They did so in the 32nd minute when Mike Brown got too strong a connection as he intercepted a cross field ball and beat his own keeper Melia, although he got a hand to it. Maz saved with his legs again as the game swung back and forth. The Shipyard were almost on level terms a minute before the break when McCue cut in from the left and unleashed a great shot that beat Turnbull but crashed back off the bar.
The Shipyard had a strong penalty claim turned down in the 46th minute when Ferrier appeared to have his legs taken away from him as he tried to cut across the defender. Nightingale shot wide for gala before Jack Hay put them 3-1 up in the 50th minute with a goal very similar to the Shipyard’s first. McCue then saw his shot from around eight yards deflected for a corner after a scramble in the Gala box. The Shipyard pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 55th minute after Turnbull upended Rutherford as he tried to go round him. Turnbull was lucky to go unpunished for his crude challenge that was surely at least a yellow and possibly a red card offence. Once the dust had settled Rutherford lashed the ball into the net. Berry had a chance for Gala but after rounding the keeper the put the ball into the side netting from a tight angle. Good work from Ferrier set up Rutherford but his first time volley was straight at the keeper. Gray then headed over from a corner as the Shipyard looked for an equaliser. In the 66th minute Melia and Gray combined to block the Gala forward at the near post then at the other end Rutherford and Ferrier set up an opportunity for sub Craig Hatton that Turnbull held. Gala scored their fourth goal a minute later when a corner was headed back across goal and Grant Gass had the simple task of knocking the ball in from close range. Two minutes later the Shipyard were back in it again as Ryan Rutherford completed his hat-trick when his shot from distance beat the despairing clutches of Turnbull. As the Shipyard pushed forward looking to draw level Gala were content to hit on the break and Jack Hay could have done better with the chance that arose for him. The Shipyard were awarded a free-kick in a good position as the game moved into added time and Rutherford tried to beat the keeper at the near post but he was just off target.
Billy Whitehead said after the match “We had no luck whatsoever today as you seen from the first two Gala goals and Owen’s shot hitting the bar. Ryan did not deserve to be on the losing side but there were some encouraging aspects to our play”.
Teams: Burntisland Shipyard: Melia; Brown; Grubb; Gray; Whyte; McCue; Robertson (Hatton); Bissett; Ferrier; Rutherford; Dow. Unused Subs: Neish; Lamont; Wilson; Houston.
Gala Fairydean: Turnbull; G. Hay; Young; Bowie; Lothian; Gass; Wilson; Tyson; Berry; Nightingale (Hewitson); J. Hay (Boyne). Unused Subs: Bonnar; Sutherland.
Referee: P Crosbie.