Star showing from Noble’s men as they hit full strength

Gala Fairydean players line-up to show racism the red card before Saturday's clash with Dalbeattie Star
Gala Fairydean players line-up to show racism the red card before Saturday's clash with Dalbeattie Star
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For a game that will always be remembered for the fact two goalkeepers were red-carded, it should also not be forgotten Gala Fairydean Rovers recorded an impressive league double against a team that were sitting fifth spot in the table.

It was a day to forget for Dalbeattie Star who had keeper Darren Martin sent off after just 21 minutes, and his replacement Darren Kerr also got his marching orders in the dying seconds.

But this was a major test for the home side, who had recorded just one victory all season at Netherdale, but at long last had a full-strength squad to choose from.

And while the final scoreline flattered Gala, it demonstrated the potential that exists when there is no catalogue of injuries to deal with.

The game’s major talking point happened in the 21st minute when Jamie Gibson won the race for a through-ball and was taken out by keeper Martin.

It was a clear penalty and the only decision for referee Scott Millar to make was what colour of card to show. He produced a red, deeming it a goal-scoring opportunity, and Dalbeattie sacrificed midfielder Lee Wells to bring on substitute keeper Kerr. Gibson slotted home the spot kick for his seventh goal of the season.

Gala proceeded to squander a series of chances as they failed to capitalise on the breakthrough, but Dalbeattie always looked dangerous on the break.

On the hour mark, the visitors drew level as Lewis Sloan burst through on the left flank and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net. But the introduction of Dean McColm gave Gala the extra width down the left to stretch their 10-man opponents. And he produced a stunning strike from the edge of the box to regain the lead in the 70th minute.

The visitors continued to threaten, but the points were finally made safe when Billy Miller curled in a 20-yard free kick with seven minutes remaining.

In the 87th minute, sub Ashley Langford netted from close range to make it 4-1 and the scoring was complete in injury time with a Stuart Noble penalty. He won the spot kick himself and if there was a debate over the first dismissal, there was no disputing the sending off of keeper Kerr. Noble had already rounded him when he was upended and referee Millar had no choice but to show another red.

Gala manager Steven Noble was delighted with the three points and the performance. He said: “Dalbeattie are a top team and play good football, but I thought we defended well and deserved the win.

“We created the better chances, but when they went down to 10 men they sat in and made it difficult for us to break them down.

“It is the first time in a long time we have had a full squad to choose from and it is really important we go on a run of wins now to finish as high in the league as possible and get through to the next round of the League Cup.”

Gala midfielder David Bonnar won the bottle of champagne for being man of the match, as voted by the charity Scottish Heart at Risk Testing.