• Derek Bell





With the Dream Team having played on Tuesday night a Wednesday night trip to Netherdale to see a couple of our league opponents was to good an opportunity to miss. This was the second time I had seen Gala this season and the first time I'd seen Shire since their league days.

Shire came into the game after back to back defeats against Bonnyrigg and East Kilbride having won two and drawn one scoring 14 goals into the bargain. Considered one of the pre-season favourites they were desperate to get back to winning ways. Meanwhile the home side had a very even start with two wins, two losses and their last game a tough fought 2 - 2 draw at Civil Service. Unusually Gala had lost both home games and won two away games.

In a landmark move for the Lowland League Shire TV were to live stream the game around the globe challenging the Champions League domination of the global television market. Quite what the world would make of Mad Bill's chants in the background are is as yet unrecorded.

The Shire line up featured a familiar face for Berwick fans with Jamie Barclay in goal and a few other known names including the irrepressible Bobby Barr, a player I've always enjoyed watching not just because of his ability but his whole demeanour on the pitch. For Rovers there was a noticeable absence with no Danny Galbraith in the team.

Shire started like they really meant business and wanted to get Saturday's, by all accounts unlucky, defeat out of their system. They had three free kicks on the edge of the box in the first couple of minutes and a couple of decent chances in the next few, Flynn rounding the keeper but firing wide. There wasn't too long for them to wait for an opener though Connor Greene heading in from the back post. At this stage you feared for Gala as Shire seemed rampant. Gala stuck to their plan though and got themselves some decent possession and attacked well forcing Barclay into making two decent saves to keep Shire ahead. It was entertaining stuff with two slightly contrasting styles and an end to end flow to the game. Shire were the more direct of the two moving the ball quickly from back to front and using their width. Gala preferred a more methodical build up from the back before getting it wide and posed a threat down the right with Kinchant (who impressed me in the opening game if the season) linking well with Hibs loanee Yafa, with Leddie at the back controlling the distribution. There had been a few meaty challenges from Gala and in the 17 minute Taylor McKenzie picked up the first booking. Three minutes later and Shire were two up, Bobby Barr playing a lovely ball down the left to Peggie who banged in a superb cross for Flynn to head home. The half continued in much the same vein and at a good tempo. In the 40th minute Mark Millar capped of another good move firing home for the third goal and pretty much sealing the win.

3 - 0 at half-time was a bit harsh on Gala who had played their part in an entertaining game and were a bit unfortunate not to be on the scoresheet but the better side were in the lead.

The bigger shock at half-time was the fact that it actually felt a bit chilly, a gentle reminder of proper footballing weather.

The second half saw Shire continue to press and create chances but unable to convert any. Gala kept going and also created chances to no avail. The game continued at a decent pace throughout and some there was plenty of decent football played by both sides. It's interesting to compare with the previous evening at Peffermill and this game was played at a much higher tempo, Gala are a bit slower in the build up and are happy to pass the ball along the back line looking for the right forward ball while Shire are full on in pressing and moving the ball quickly. I'm sure Gala missed the calming and creative influence of Galbraith in the middle. Whether his presence would have stopped them losing I'm not so sure.

TEAMS:GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS: Fraser Morton, Levi Kinchant, Alex Chingwalu, Ben Herdman, Dino Leddie, Scott Taylor MacKenzie, Mendes Fernando Yafa, Niall Kelly, David Bonnar, Ross Aitchison, Mark Berry

Subs not used: Kieran Ainslie, Jack Cowan, Edward Mangan (Trialist), Kit Gerard McRitchie (Trialist)

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE: Jamie Barclay, Martin Orr, Reis Peggie, Jordan Tapping, Connor Greene (Adam Murray 75m), Evan Horne, Andy Rodgers, Nicky Low, Matt Flynn (Paul McCafferty65m), Mark Millar (Jamie Dishington 67m), Bobby Barr

Subs not used: Jamie Gallagher, Sean Brown, Willie Dyer, Iain Ure

GOALS: Connor Greene (9m)

Matt Flynn (22m)

Mark Millar (40m)

BOOKINGS: Scott Taylor MacKenzie


Referee: Michael Addy

Assistant Referee: Craig Stevens

Assistant Referee: Niamh Westwood


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