May 4 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
GRETNA 2008 shipped nine goals last weekend in their heaviest ever East of Scotland League defeat.
The Raydale Park outfit were brushed aside in a humiliating 9-1 defeat at home to Vale of Leithen.
Manager Stuart Rome had a keeper crisis ahead of the game and had to field 17-year-old Joe Adams, a midfield youth player, in goals.
He said: “We struggled so badly in trying to get a keeper in at last minute because of Connor Grant’s suspension.
“It was so frustrating and in the end one of the youth lads stepped up. He is a midfielder and played as a goalkeeper for a few years when he was younger.
“I can’t compliment the lad enough because he stepped up the plate and I can honestly say he had no contribution to any of the goals.
“He’s not a keeper yet he played very well considering the circumstances and the lad deserves a lot of credit. He is a leading light in the under 19 squad and he did his best for us last weekend and you can’t ask for anymore than that.”
On top of the keeper problems, Rome was without a hatful of first-team regulars and only had four senior players in his squad for the game.
Gretna were ripped apart by Vale of Leithen and were trailing by three goals after only 20 minutes.
Rome added: “All our injuries and suspensions really caught up with us last week and it was just a bridge too far. It was a disaster but there’s nothing we can do about it and we just need to move on.
“I had seven youth players in the starting 11 and a few on the bench and it wasn’t nice for them but it will set them in good stead.
“Vale were fighting for their lives and trying to avoid relegation and they came here knowing that they had to win.
“One of our players made a silly backpass to the keeper after just one minute and then we faced an uphill battle from there.
“Our senior players didn’t step up to be counted but you just have to take the good with the bad in this game. It was a nightmare, it really was.”
Gretna travel to bottom-placed Selkirk tomorrow looking to end a barren run of results.
Rome’s team haven’t won since February but will have a host of first-team players back in the mix for the trip.
Dean Rea and keeper Connor Grant return after suspension but Phil Storey and Jordan Atkinson are both out with long-term injuries.
Rome said: “We should be far stronger this weekend with Connor and Dean back in the team. Plus a few other lads who missed out last weekend through other committments while be back in. We really need to bounce back and three points would help us get back on track as soon as possible.