Defensive sluggishness puzzles GFR boss Noble

Gala Fairydean RovERS 1

Dalbeattie Star 4

Three matches into the new season, and Gala Fairydean Rovers have a single point to their name.

It’s certainly not the most stunning of starts, the players finding it difficult to stamp their authority on the Lowland League. The Fairies’ biggest problem at the moment lies at the back – their inability to react quickly to a quick break or a well-timed long ball allowed the sharper Dalbeattie players to take their chances.

Ask what the problem was, Gala boss Stevie Noble said: “I can’t put my finger on it. But we’ll get there. We’ll talk about it and work on some defensive aspects at training because we have lost too many cheap goals so far.”

Jamie Struthers opened the scoring in the 10th minute. He picked the ball up just inside the Gala half and set off on a looping run into the box and slipped the ball into the net past John Dodds.

Struthers had to be subbed after taking a knock in the 24th minute, and he was replaced by gangly ginger-headed Hugh Cameron.

Unfortunately for the home side, he turned out to be even more dangerous than his predecessor.

He made it 2-0 after finding himself with the ball in space, and four minutes later he hit the third, winding his way in from the left and shooting home from an acute angle.

Jamie Gibson narrowed the gap from the spot after he was taken down by Dalbeattie’s Kevin Neilson, but the three-goal gap was reinstated, with Cameron again in the mix – his shot across goal looked as though it would sneak in at the left hand post, but Jack Steele made sure of the counter by guiding it beyond Dodds with a deft swipe.

Gala were not completely outplayed. They did, indeed, enjoy a large amount of the ball and had several close encounters with the opposition goal, and hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions. They were also the victims of a couple of very dodgy refereeing calls, one of which saw Stuart Noble given a free kick instead of a penalty, in an otherwise fairly uneventful second half.

However, for all Gala’s good points, it is certain that they need to shore up that back line so that all the good work they do elsewhere is not for naught.

Dalbeattie top the new league, while Gala sit third from bottom. This early in the season, table positions are almost always false. Going by Saturday’s display, however, it feels about right.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: J. Dodds, A. Nicol, K. Collins, J. Inglis, C. McBride (R. Grant 53 mins), D. Bonnar, B. Miller (S. Paliczka 63 mins), M. Berry, S. Noble, J. Gibson and D. McColm (C. Jardine 63 mins).