GK1Sam George   
 RB2Michael Oliver   
 LB3Richard Kirwan   
 CB4Alan Benton   
 CB5Andy Ward (c)   
 CM6Ross Ballantyne (vc)   
Off70RM7Jonathan Black   
 CM8Jamie Barclay   
 CF9Andy SelkirkScorerx2  
Off60CM10Jamie Broadfoot   
 LM11Stephen O'Neill Yellow Card 
On70 12Robbie Duncan   
  14David Grant   
On60 15Blair Munn   
  16Cammy McKay (u20)   
  17Dylan O’Hagan (u20)   

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12/09/2015  |  League

Gala Fairydean Rovers   2  v  2  Cumbernauld Colts

An up and down week for the Colts, winning their first home game against Threave on Saturday before suffering their heaviest defeat to Spartans on Wednesday, ended with another long trip south to face Gala Fairydean Rovers in fixture 9 of their Lowland League season.

Having won 3 games from 3 on the road so far it was likely a welcome trip for the Broadwood men after Wednesday, one change in the starting lineup in Galashiels as Black replaced McIntyre on the right of midfield.

Both teams started brightly enough in the south of Scotland rain, moving the ball and probing their opponents without really creating much in the way of goal scoring chances. Both keepers were able to comfortably collect shots from distance and both fielded a number of dead ball crosses as the early stages were very much played out in midfield.

The first real chance fell to the visitors, Colts capitalising on a slip in midfield before driving forward through Black and Selkirk, the striker feeding the run of Barclay inside. With a 2 on 1 overload and O'Neill in space to his left the midfielder didn't spot him and shot narrowly over with his right.

The big midfielder tested the palms of the Gala stopper minutes later as he latched onto a pass from Broadfoot before stepping inside his man and shooting powerfully with his left, the keeper moving across to gather comfortably.

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O'Neill and Kirwan linked well on the left, setting up the Colts first (click to enlarge)

O'Neill showed similarly good footwork to slip inside two men before creating space for a shot from 18 yards which the keeper again gathered well, before their next attack saw Oliver doing well to get his head on a looping ball at the back post, just unable to lift it over the Gala keeper to open the scoring.

The home side also managed to create some decent openings, George looking sharp twice to field efforts from just outside the area before the home side had the best chance of the half so far. O'Neill tried to play square in midfield but the home side pounced on the pass and broke through on goal from half way. To O'Neill's immense credit the wide man never gave it up and worked superbly to get himself back behind the ball to block out for a corner.

Despite a few warnings though the Colts didn't heed, Gala taking the lead after 25 minutes from a free kick. Broadfoot fouled his man 35 yards out on the right, the kick floated to the back post where the Gala attacker got above his man to head beyond George in the Colts goal, the keeper with no chance.

It only took 10 minutes for the men in yellow to get back into the game though, scoring an excellent footballing goal. A free kick in the right back area saw Oliver think quickly to play into the feet of Black. Black skipped beyond his man and found Ballantyne in midfield who moved quickly to Kirwan at left back, the sharp switch of play isolating the fullback 2v1 against the Colts attack. Kirwan played a great ball inside the fullback into the path of O'Neill who only needed one touch to pick out Selkirk, the forward volleying first time in the corner from 6 yards with his right.

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Selkirk volleys in the Colts first as Barclay watches on (click to enlarge)

An excellent goal and the sides level again.

Gala had a chance to re-take the lead on 40 minutes, Kirwan caught under the ball but the attacker firing wide. And they would be left to rue that miss as the Colts took the lead almost straight away. Following some scrappy play in midfield Ballantyne picked up the loose ball and lifted over the top into the run of Selkirk. With the home defence stopping expecting an offside, the linesman signalled play on and Selkirk showed a cool head to run onto the pass and finish low to the keeper's right for his and Colts second.

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Selkirk ran through to make it 2-1 to Colts just before half time (click to enlarge)

2-1 at half time and the Colts in control of the game.

Into the second half and Gala came out strongly, enjoying the lion's share of possession as they pushed for an equaliser without creating much in the way of clear chances against a Colts defence who looked content to sit deep and allow their hosts possession. In fact, Selkirk latched onto another ball over the top and fired inches over the bar in what was probably the best chance either side had in the opening 20 minutes or so of the half.

As the pressure mounted though the Colts defence succumbed, a real stramash in the area following a home corner saw George make two fine saves as the ball ricocheted around inside the area, Gala getting a little fortunate as what appeared to be a 50-50 tackle between Oliver and the forward resulted in the ball running across goal and into the corner for 2-2.

What followed in the closing stages of the game can best be described as basketball-esque, both sides taking it in turn to attack each other looking for the winner as the game became stretched, real end to end stuff.

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Skipper Ward challenges the home keeper (click to enlarge)

In the period there were chances for Selkirk, O'Neill, Duncan and Benton for Colts, none finding a way beyond the home stopper. Gala themselves had 4 excellent chances, one of which was the best of either team to nick the 3 points. From a Colts corner the home side broke forward and worked their numbers well to get their midfielder through 1v1. George in the Colts goal stood up well, making a fine save to win his side a point, the defence getting back to scramble clear.

Colts will be disappointed to have let their lead slip but on the balance of chances a point apiece was probably a fair outcome for the game, Colts still unbeaten away from Broadwood and surely looking to take that form into their home games going forward, starting with Edinburgh University next weekend.

(Pictures by Alex Miller)