Gala Fairydean Rovers1
This was a tough opening-day fixture for the new-look Gala side, although due to a combination of suspensions, weddings and holidays, the only new look about them was Andy Cosgrove at centre half.
Preston exerted much of the early pressure and John Dodds made the first of many saves when he dived to gather a shot from Paul Devlin, although this was a regulation save compared to others that he made later in the game.
Gala were slightly fortunate when a looping shot from Michael Osborne clipped the top of their crossbar before they had their first chance – but Sean Paliczka mishit his shot. Just before the interval, Jamie Gibson’s long-range free kick for Gala deflected off the wall and away for a corner.
The Netherdale outfit took the lead early in the second half after Dean McHolm had a strong shot blocked by the keeper and Cosgrove threw himself forward to direct a flying header beyond Gilbertson. A series of substitutions were made during the next 20 minutes, Stuart Noble replacing Gibson and Kenny Munro coming on for Cosgrove.
With time ticking away and Preston pressing for an equaliser, Andrew Common went into the book when he delayed a restart by kicking the ball away. A few minutes later Craig Pinnons replaced Sean Paliczka as Preston continued to ramp up the pressure.
Two minutes from time Common again delayed a free kick and received a second yellow card to reduce Gala to 10 men which became nine when Billy Miller got injured and had to leave the field with no further substitutes available.
Five minutes of injury time had to be endured before a gutsy Gala claimed their first three points of the season.