Tough test as Fairies keep pushing towards top

Gala Fairydean 2

Craigroyston 0

EOS FIRST DIVISION

John Clayton reports from Netherdale

GALA Fairydean increased the pressure on the league leaders on Saturday with a hard fought home win over Craigroyston.

Craigroyston were on the front foot in the first few minutes before the game settled down.

Both sides probed the opposition defence and it took ten minutes before the first chance was created. Greg Hay chased and won a ball on the touch line and put a cross into the box which Scott Nightingale gathered before shooting for goal, but Stuart Addison comfortably gathered the effort.

Mid way through the half, Grant Gass tumbled as he challenged Addison to a high ball with several defenders in attendance and, to everyone’s astonishment, a penalty was awarded when the referee adjudged that Gass had been pulled back. Nightingale kept his nerve to drill the ball into the left hand corner of the net.

Jack Hay went close with an effort shortly afterwards but Craigroyston were handed a chance to equalise just before the interval. Jay Wilson failed to clear his lines and a Craigroyston effort struck Paul Young’s arms as he attempted to protect his face and the ref decided to award a second penalty. Keiran Dodd struck his kick well but Elliot Turnbull, in the Gala goal, used his entire 6ft 7in frame to swoop to his left and push the ball away for a corner.

One minute into the second half, Craigroyston’s Johnny Herd picked up a second yellow card when he scythed down Greg Hay, reducing the visitors to 10 men, and the Craigroyston managers protest also saw him banished to the stand.

Despite being reduced in numbers, however, it was the visiting team who pressed the Gala side back and a Darren Lockhart header from a corner was cleared off the goal line by Paul Young.

Play swung from end to end and Lothian headed a Geri Rossi free kick over the Craigroyston cross bar. Gala made certain of the points four minutes from time when Nightingale collected the ball on the left of the Craigroyston area and laid it back to Wilson to drive home a shot from just outside the penalty area, and thereby close the gap on the top two sides in the division.

Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay (B. Hunter), A. Brown, P. Young, C. Lothian, C. Tyson, J. Wilson, G. Gass, G. Rossi, J. Hay, S. Nightingale.