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Stunning Penicuik comeback cancels out early Gala lead

Penicuik Athletic YFC 4

Viola 32' McNeil 46' 47' OG 60'

Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts 4

Allison 19' Murray 23' 33' Lockley 37'
  • Sunday, 20 September 2015
  • Bog Road, Penicuik
  • Under 14´s
  • SERYFA Division 2
Blair Meikle

Blair Meikle | YFS Scottish Borders Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Penicuik coach Tom Mcfadyen hailed the fighting spirit of his team, as they battled back from being three goals down.
This Division two fixture brought together two teams who had both had mixed starts to the league season. Only four points separate them with Gala Fairydean Rovers having played two games less.
That the final result was a draw should therefore not really come as a surprise. The shock factor comes from the fact that Gala were 3-1 up at half time, and 4-1 up just after.
A double from Robbie McNeil and an own goal wrapped up the comeback for Penicuik, after two goals from Matthew Murray and one each for Aaron Allison and Thomas Lockley had given Fairydean Rovers a lead they would have hoped to hang on to.
Mcfadyen said: “We were missing a few players today who are starters. But it was a good game, and they have a great fighting spirit as you saw”.
The opening minutes set the tone for the rest of the match, both teams surging forward one after the other to try and get on the front foot.
Murray was lively for Gala, breaking through to hit the side netting and also having an effort saved by Jack Gulam.
McNeil was the danger at the other end, constantly looking to attack down the left wing. And the winger had a half volley saved after a great pass by Ben Viola.
It was the away side who got the first goal on 19 minutes. Murray was not involved for a change, with Declan Bell finding space to play in Allison who made no mistake in planting the ball past Gulam.
Penicuik responded with Matthew Ragwar getting on the ball in good spaces. But he hit a left foot strike off target.
Daniel Deya was also keen to have an influence, and determined play from him led to McNeil shooting over.
After missing those chances, Athletic suffered a sucker punch. Allison was the provider this time, playing a through pass for Murray who finally found the finish to get the goal he deserved.
The goal again prompted a reply from Penicuik, and Viola sent a speculative effort off target after cutting in from the left.
The same player had a much better chance when he went one on one only to shoot straight at the keeper. But he had the ball in the net seconds later. There was a bit of a scramble with Viola and Ragwar trying to walk the ball into the net, but the little striker eventually fired high into the net.
One minute later and two before half time Gala restored their two goal lead, just when Penicuik seemed to be growing in the game.
It was another excellent finish by Murray after latching on to yet another through ball.
And it was very nearly 4-1 before the half was out. Gulam found an attacker bearing down on his goal once more but this time he produced an excellent save with this foot when it looked like Bell’s effort was about to find the bottom corner.
  • Half Time:
  • Penicuik Athletic YFC
  • 1-3
  • Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts
Gulam had done well to keep the deficit down and his team in the game. But just two minutes into the second half that fourth goal did arrive, and there was little he could have done about it.
When the ball broke to Lockley on the edge of the box, the midfielder drilled a controlled effort low into the net.
The Penicuik pressing came again and their players did not seem to stop believing that they could launch a comeback.
A really enterprising run by Connor Alexander set up Viola but his shot was blocked.
The turnaround was set in motion by McNeil’s first of the game on 46 minutes. Continuing where he had started off in the first half, he drove into the box on the left and calmly dispatched with his right foot.
And one minute later, the livewire McNeil had his second. Athletic’s constant attacking was troubling the away side, and when they couldn’t clear their lines McNeil picked it up in space to tuck it away again.
The unlikely was beginning to look more and more likely with constant forward streams of blue and white.
But when you commit so many bodies forward you leave yourself vulnerable and the away side had a real opportunity to kill off hopes of a comeback. Lockley picked out a run from Bell, but the diminutive forward was just off target when pulling the trigger.
And that would prove to be a big moment when Penicuik levelled the game with ten minutes to play. Blair Friars’ deep free kick caused problems in the box and a scrap ensued with several in blue and white trying to force it over the line and several in black and red trying to clear. The final touch seemed to be from a defender, but that didn’t matter to Athletic as they had successfully fought back.
Both number 9’s could have nicked it at the death. Viola’s shot was saved and held by Jayden Smith, while Bell was ruled offside when he scored with seconds remaining.
  • Full Time:
  • Penicuik Athletic YFC
  • 4-4
  • Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts


Penicuik Athletic YFC
Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts
1. Jack Gulam
3. Blair Friars
5. John Graham
6. Connor Alexander
7. Calum Curtis
9. Ben Viola
10. Ethan Mooney
11. Robbie McNeil
12. Jake Hogg
14. Matthew Ragwar
15. Mark Gracie
16. Daniel Deya
17. Aidan Ward
1. Jayden Smith
2. Daniel Flinn
3. Elliot Douglas
5. Lee Edwards
6. Thomas Lockley
7. Ewan Taylor
8. Christian Temple
9. Declan Bell
10. Aaron Allison
11. Tyler Smith
12. Matthew Murray
14. Lewis Smith
15. Daniel Tait
Star Player
Penicuik Athletic YFC
Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts
Robbie McNeil - Busy day for the winger as he was a threat from the word go. Scored two second half goals to cap his performance.
Matthew Murray - Like McNeil for the hosts, Murray looked dangerous throughout the game. Also scored two goals.
Magic Moment
Penicuik Athletic YFC
Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts
The last gasp equaliser was reward for the massive effort that had been put in.
Lockley's powerful strike at the beginning of the second half seemed to give them a comfortable lead.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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