|CM||6||Ross Ballantyne (vc)|
A second half equaliser by Andy Selkirk ensured the Colts came away from Netherdale with share of the points, although it felt like two points dropped on the day, as they were denied on numerous occasions by inspired young keeper Kiaran Wright in the Gala goal.
On a bright sunny afternoon in the borders the crowd was treated to so some exciting, flowing football, Colts had made five changes from last week’s Scottish Cup match, with, Tennant, Morris, Ballantyne, Broadfoot and Hunter replacing, Batchelor, Ward, Pirrie, Black and Ronald. There was not a lot between the sides in the early exchanges; however the Colts were moving the ball well without creating any clear opportunities and started to take control, the first real change came on the 20 minute mark when Hunter on a prodding run down the right latched on to a through ball, he slid in the advancing Murray who rather than fire at goal tried to chip the ball to the back post to O’Neil but unfortunately was out his reach.
The game burst into life in the 23rd minute when full back Kirwan broke forward on the left, before cutting inside to blast an unstoppable drive from 25 yards, which crashed off the underside of the bar into the empty net, Colts were on the ascendancy at this point with Fahey in the Colts goal a virtual spectator. Colts were on the hunt for a second and it almost came on 35 minutes, O’Neil was tormenting the home side defence and was felled around 25 yards from goal, he brushed himself down to take the resultant free kick only to see his effort crash off the Gala right hand post which rebounding off the keepers back and fortunately for the home side out for a corner. Gala’s first real opportunity came in 36 minutes when Miller cut in from the left on the edge of the Colts box but fired high over the bar. This should have been a wake-up for the Colts defence who up until this point had looked comfortable. Just as the half drew to a close Gala were gifted an opportunity to level when Morris hesitated in the box and as the Gala player nipped in he clipped the player as he attempted to clear, soft but a penalty nevertheless, Smith stepped up putting his shot straight down the middle into the net. 1-1. In the remaining couple of minute of the half the Colts created another two opportunities, on 44 minutes a poor clearance by the Gala keeper fell to the feet of Broadfoot who returned the ball goal bound from 35 yards only to see the keeper recover pulling off a great save to touch the ball over. The resultant corner was cleared only as far a Ballantyne who found a lovely pass to Murray whose shot was again pushed over, from the Broadfoot corner Morris at the back post was unlucky not to score as his header went close. HT 1-1
In the second half Gala seemed the hungrier and had increased their energy levels and looked the more likely, on 48 minutes Miller fire high over from 20 yards, minutes later Broadfoot lost out in the middle of the park and was grateful to MacFarlane who made a great tackle to dispose the breaking forward. The game was really open at this point as both side tried to get the important second goal, it was the home side got the vital second on 56 minutes, a mistake again in the middle of the park saw the Gala number six stride forward to strike an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into Fahay’s right hand corner. It was a good period for the home side and it was time for change for the Colts as Barclay was introduced replacing Broadfoot who had struggled to find this game. Colts started to push on and created a couple of chances of their own, however throwing men forward was opening up space for the home side as they tried to counter attack. Foggin replaced Tennant who had taking a heavy knock minutes before. It was Gala who came close to making it three when a cross from the Colts left flashed across goal missing the advancing home players.
Colts had started to re-establish their superiority and when O’Neil slipped in Murray it took a great save by the keeper to maintain the Gala advantage. The Colts however would not be denied and on 70 minutes another flowing move down the left saw O’Neil again the tormentor find Hunter in the box who flicked the ball beautifully to Selkirk who finished from close range 2-2.
Hunter was replaced by Ronald minutes later as Colts looked to inject some pace into their attack and on 82minutes this change almost paid off as Roland burst down the right, cut inside and unleashed a left foot shot goal bound, but again the keeper was up to the task parrying away the effort which was scrambled by for another corner. This game was not to pettier out and another effort from Barclay was comfortably saved, Colts continued to press to no avail.
The Colts will be disappointed to drop the two points having conceded two poor goals from their point of view, however the home side will feel they done enough to share the spoils.