Cumbernauld Colts 1 Gala 1: Colts end league campaign with draw

Colts try to find a way through the Gala defence
Colts try to find a way through the Gala defence

Cumbernauld Colts ended their Scottish Lowland League campaign by clinching a top six finish despite being held by Gala Fairydean at Broadwood.

But it was to be a frustrating afternoon for James Orr and Craig McKinlay’s men who narrowly missed out on fifth spot only by goal difference to Dalbeattie Star.

Colts started slowly and the visitors almost made them pay in the early exchanges with Sean Atchison and Kieran Ainslie both going close to opening the scoring with headers from set pieces.

The men from the Borders were causing Colts problems each time they ventured forward and in 22 minutes Darren Smith and Sean Paliczka combined well only for Paliczka to fire wide of the target.

But it was Colts who carved open the first real chance of the game in 24 minutes when Gary Murray found Stephen O’Neill with a neat through ball but the normally clinical O’Neill lobbed his effort narrowly over the bar.

However the visitors deservedly went in front in 41 minutes when Stuart Noble was gifted too much space in the box to turn onto his left foot and lash a shot high past Chris Fahey from 15 yards.

But Colts showed great character to hit back two minutes later when Andy Hunter did well to break into the right side of the box and pull the ball back for Johnny Black who made no mistake with a low crisp finish from eight yards leaving Gala keeper Kieran Wright helpless.

Colts started the second period much brighter and almost edged in front in 55 minutes when youngster Fraser Sheridan went close with a rasping left foot drive which went just wide of Wright’s right hand post.

Substitute Jamie Broadfoot curled a free-kick narrowly over from the edge of the box and O’Neill found space on the left before picking out Black at the back post but the wide man didn’t trouble Wright with his tame effort.

However the visitors were biding their time and they almost got their noses back in front with 10 minutes remaining when George Windram’s header fell kindly for Lewis Swaney who crashed a shot off the bar from close range.

And then Noble and Atchison both really should have scored with around five minutes remaining as Gala turned up the pressure but Fahey made a tremendous double save to deny the visitors all three points.

But there was time for one final chance for Colts to end their league campaign on a high when Black found himself unmarked at the back post after great play on the left by O’Neill but Black volleyed wide when he really should have found the net.