Lowland League’s proving hard work

Stuart Noble of Gala Fairydean FC.
Stuart Noble of Gala Fairydean FC.

gala fr1

preston athletic4

The concession of four goals for the third match in a row will leave many Gala followers uneasy as to what the rest of the season will bring.

However, the Netherdale side can count themselves a bit unlucky on this occasion, as Preston Athletic snatched victory in the final 10 minutes with two goals on the break.

Nevertheless, it leaves Steven Noble’s men joint bottom of the Lowland League with Selkirk, with four losses from their five games and a defence that has conceded 19 goals.

East Lothian side Preston have also been struggling this season, but picked up their first win over Edinburgh City in the previous midweek while Gala lost to Vale of Leithen 4-1.

And David Bingham’s men were on the front foot from kick-off, with Gala relying on John Dodds to save them on a number of occasions early on.

However, Dodds could do nothing to prevent the opener on 16 minutes as Ryan Strachan passed Sean Martin’s cross into the net.

Gala fought back and Stuart Noble equalised just five minutes later after he smashed a shot beyond John Gilbertson in the Athletic goal.

However, once again Preston grabbed the lead seconds before half-time as Steven Philip punished poor home defending to score from close range.

Gala put in a much improved second-half showing to push Preston all the way. Noble and Sean Paliczka both went close, while substitute Marc Berry added pace to trouble the visitors. Noble was again the main threat and almost pulled his team level, but for Ricky Ramsay’s goalline clearance, after Berry’s mazy run had set him up. Then, with just 10 minutes to go, Fairydean Rovers supporters thought they were back on equal terms, only for Paliczka’s header from a Berry cross to go just over the bar.

But Gala hearts were broken on 83 minutes as a Preston break saw Gary McCormack head home at the back post.

And substitute James Reilly gave the scoreline an unfair look five minutes from the time with another goal on the break.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: J. Dodds, A. Nicol (M. Berry 58), R. Grant, J. Inglis, C. McBride, B. Miller, S. Paliczka, D. Bonnar, J. Gibson (B. Noble 77), S. Noble, K. Collins.