Weapons

Rome praises his power strike-force

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - SPORT -

STU­ART MCFAR­LANE

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

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