Vale of Leithen0
John Dodds celebrated signing a new Gala Fairydean Rovers contract with a win and his first clean sheet in 15 games.
While the three points in Group A of the Lowland League Cup meant nothing in terms of qualification, with Preston Athletic advancing to the semi-finals, it did plenty to boost the Netherdale outfit’s fragile confidence.
It also means Vale of Leithen have now lost four games on the trot, with their early season form having well and truly deserted them.
Gala boss Stevie Noble said: “I am delighted we got a clean sheet, especially for John who has signed a contract for next season. Our back four were excellent, as was the whole team. This is a team of Borders players and it is great to beat a side made up of experienced players from Edinburgh.”
A Vale win, coupled with a Preston loss against Selkirk, would have taken the Victoria Park side through, but in the end they were well short.
Vale manager Chic McAleavy said: “It has been the same story for the last six weeks and today was another bad performance. We had three players missing through suspension or injury and had to play some guys who were not fully fit, but that is no excuse. Gala deserved their victory.”
A minute’s silence was held before kick-off for Vale vice-chairman Andy Scott who passed away on Wednesday.
Gala were ahead after just seven minutes. Dean McColm’s inswinging corner was headed home by Craig McBride, who was left unmarked from six yards out.
It was no great surprise to see the visitors go two up in 15 minutes when Stuart Noble’s low cross saw keeper Bruce Callan – deputising for the suspended Graham O’Brien – palm the ball into the path of Callum Jardine who made no mistake.
And Fairydean Rovers made it 3-0 with a bizarre goal on the half-hour. Stuart Noble went down in the Vale penalty box under a challenge from James Young, but referee Alan Hogg waved play on, only for Callan to inexplicably pass the ball straight to Sean Paliczka, who fired home.
A half-time rollicking by McAleavy saw the hosts fired up for the second period. But Dodds put a stop to any chance of a comeback when he saved well from Keith Lough’s shot four minutes after the break.
Vale rarely threatened during the rest of a drab half, with The Dean adding a fourth a minute from time via sub Des Sutherland.