North Lanarkshire Leisure team triumph at walking football tournament

The triumphant North Lanarkshire Leisure squad
The triumphant North Lanarkshire Leisure squad

North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) won the 2019 Gala Fairydean Rovers Walking Football tournament at Netherdale Stadium on Sunday.

Twelve sides from throughout Scotland took part in the annual event, the largest number so far and the teams were divided into two groups following a formal draw made by Hibernian, Arsenel, Aston Villa and Scotland legend Alex Cropley.

Group A consisted of a Lauder/Gala select, Tranent, Linlithgow Rose, NLL (B), Tweedvale and Hawick.

Group B consisted of Gala Fairydean Rovers, NLL (A) Gretna 2008, Kelso, Midlothian and Heart of Midlothian.

After 10 sets of fixtures, Linlithgow Rose won Group A with Tranent finishing in second place.

NLL (A) won Group B with Gala Fairydean Rovers finishing runners up.

Previous winners Gretna 2008 finished in in third place despite only conceding one goal in the five games.

The semi-final between Gala and Linlithgow was the outstanding fixture of the day with play raging from end to end and both clubs creating chances. Gala took the lead with a goal to grace any game after a seven touch move which ended with Gordon Rae curling sensational 20-yard strike which flew into the top corner of the net leaving the keeper helpless.

Rose fought back and equalised before John Dodds looked to have secured victory but a late penalty from Linlithgow took the tie to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Jim Watters, Gordon Rae, John Dodds, Howard Edge and Mike Godsman all scored whilst Ross Buchan saved the final effort from Linlithgow.

NLL (A) beat Tranent in the other semi-final with a controversial goal which was hotly disputed by the Tranent players.

Tranent beat Linlithgow Rose in the third/fourth place play off before a hard-fought final between Gala and NLL (Auld Gits) ended goalless.

Lanarkshire’s keeper was in outstanding form which continued into the penalty shoot out where he saved twice to secure victory.

Volunteers at Gala Fairydean Rovers gave up their time to help run the event.

Organisers also thank referees Rob Fairbairn, Stewart Robertson, Fred Blackie, Derek McGill and Ed Jackson who all performed their duties admirably and to a high standard.