Gretna 2008 Report: Bar Struck Twice as Barr Thrown In at Half

A changed up squad couldn’t slip through a Gretna side looking to regain form in this goalless encounter at Raydale.

There were a number of unexpected changes to the squad who lost three points to Kelty at the weekend; Ross McMillan took back the captain’s armband after missing the last game due to illness, John Mitchell served a peculiar suspension from a Scottish Youth Cup game last year, the trio of Orr/Prunty/Strachan was replaced with Murray/Grehan/Winters and most importantly, new signing, Carlo Pignatiello made his debut for the club after signing on a season-long loan from Livingston.

The first five minutes at Raydale was a strange experience as kick-off was delayed due to a broken net and Stevie Murray decided to use the time to enjoy some banter with the locals about who would win in a heading contest between him and Gretna striker Kevin Connelly. We never got the answer.

A few minutes in a bad tackle on Ross Smith went unpunished much to the anger of manager Stephen Swift and co and the official felt the need to have a word with coach, Michael Moore, despite forgetting to actually stop the play on-field.

A few BSC chances didn’t go unnoticed to the Gretna faithful with a series of Stevie Murray crosses landing at the feet or head of Martin Grehan only to go inches over the crossbar or impressively saved by stand-in keeper Alistair Ferguson. Just after the half hour mark, a BSC free kick crossed into the box found Declan Hughes who tried to find the net from a hard angle only for the ball to bounce off the post and back into the keeper’s hands.


Ryan Marshall was subbed off after suffering a dislocated finger in a collision with Connelly in the last act of the first half. He was replaced by Stephen Barr.

The stalemate was sustained well into the second half and one of the best chances again came from a decent Murray cross towards which found Grehan at the back post. The striker’s downward header looked to have the youngster Ferguson beaten but somehow the keeper flashed out a hand and palmed it away.

Pignatiello almost found a debut goal when he fired a left-footed strike that whizzed past the post. The only other excitement in the second period arose in the final five minutes when a messy corner landed at the feet of David Winters whose strike smacked off the crossbar and threw Gretna into the counter attack who then hit the crossbar themselves.

Goalkeeper Stephen Barr:

“On a personal level, it’s obviously good to get back in and get a clean sheet and I think that’s a positive we can take from it. The boys probably needed a clean sheet, we didn’t lose any cheap goals but unfortunately we’re just not getting up the green at the other end.”