Rome praises his power strike-force
Gretna 2008 caretaker boss Stuart Rome praised his side’s lethal strikeforce as they put in a five-star showing against Dalbeattie Star.
The Raydale side claimed the derby glory with a comfortable 5-2 victory over their neighbours and secure their first home win since late September.
Daniel Smales scored a double - giving him six goals in three games - and further strikes from Jake Smith, Stuart Gray and skipper Kevin Connelly sealed the margin, all after Gretna had fallen behind to Lee Wells’ strike after half an hour.
Aiden Kerr claimed a further consolation for the visitors, but Rome said that his side were fully deserving of all three points.
He said: “We played really well and we were obviously rewarded for that performance.
“We fell behind after we lost a bad goal, but I’ll give the lads a lot of credit for continuing where we left off to get the equaliser we deserved and then Jake’s free kick right before half time.
“I felt that we completely dominated the second half and came out well for the first 20 minutes to kill off the game, like a lot of the good sides in this league do, although we did switch off for their goal.
“We have three quality strikers at the club so I decided to play them all and it paid off because they were absolutely on fire and caused havoc in their defence.”
While gaffer Rome was keen to praise the whole team’s performance, he spoke highly of hotshot Smales during his golden patch.
Rome added: “Dan was the focal point of our three up front for the game and he played well because they couldn’t cope with it.
“He’s a big physical lad who is a handful for defenders and has really taken his opportunity to start and grabbed it.”
After a hard-fought derby win, the tasks don’t get any easier as Gretna travel to face arguably the stiffest test in Scottish nonleague football - league leaders East Kilbride on Saturday.
The home side have lost only once this season from 17 games and can boast former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey among their ranks.
Rome said: “We need to try and build on the three points from Saturday and take that confidence into the game.
“EK are absolutely flying at the moment and we’re under no illusions about the size of the task on Saturday against a great side and a great football club.”
Dalbeattie Star boss Darren Kerr was furious with his side and said: “There’s nothing more that can be said than it was a shambles from the first whistle.
“Gretna were far superior all over the park, they won every battle, they won everything in the air and it’s not how we’ve played in the last month.
“The only good thing we did in the first half was score a goal and that was against the run of play.
“We had a chat at half-time and I didn’t think we could be any worse in the second half than we were in the first but I was proven wrong.
“It’s all well and good turning up against the bigger teams and not coming away with anything but we need to be performing against the teams round about us.
“We made three slight errors against East Kilbride the week before and were punished.
“On Saturday we made lots of errors in the first half against Gretna and weren’t punished.
“On another day Vinnie Parker could have saved all five goals but he couldn’t with the way they came into him and that’s nothing against Vinnie.”
Success Gretna celebrate after their monumental victory over Dalbeattie Star