Gala Fairydean 0
KING CUP QUARTER-FINAL
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Netherdale
GALA FAIRYDEAN were quite simply outplayed by the best team in the East of Scotland League on Saturday.
While they showed promise at times, their opponents were always quicker, sharper and more composed, hitting home the reality of what level Fraser Lothian’s men must aspire to if they do go on to win promotion this year.
Fairies’ assistant manager Ally McCulloch told us: “Teams such as Spartans can be quite deceptive. Sure,they play good football and all their players are really comfortable on the ball, but they are at their best when they punish you and we were punished severely today.”
With former Fairydean star Chris Anderson running the show for the visitors, it was largely left to Keith McLeod to finish things off – his hat-trick putting the seal on the victory.
But it was Sean Wringe, making his first start for Spartans, who opened the scoring in the 13th minute from Anderson’s cross. It did look all a bit too easy, a sign of what was to come.
However, soon after, Wringe had to leave the field complaining of breathing problems. He paid a short visit to hospital, but was released to recover at home.
In the 25th minute, Anderson’s shot was superbly tapped over by Gala keeper Elliot Turnbull, but from the resultant Jack Beesley corner kick, Dean Hoskins headed home the second.
Gala did do some pushing of their own, notably Scott Nightingale and Craig Tyson launching efforts goalwards that were confidently dealt with by Chris Flockhart in the Spartans goal.
There were signs of the home side becoming sharper by the interval, but the second half was the Jordan Binnie and Keith McLeod show.
The third goal came in the 50th minute, Binnie squaring for McLeod to knock it home, the entire Gala defence screaming for an offside call.
Then, 10 minutes later, Binnie caught Greg Hay trying to play a ball out of defense that should have been blasted upfield, crossed to McLeod, who hit his second.
And after Jack Hay was foiled by Flockhart, Former Kelso United man Beesley’s cross was thumped home from short range by sub Omar Kader.
Hay then hit the side netting after being released by Tyson before Binnie and McLeod combined yet again for the latter to score another from six yards with a minute left on the clock.
If there is a silver lining for the Fairies, it is that they can now concentrate fully on the task at hand, winning promotion.
McCulloch said: “When we do get to the Premier Division, it will bring its own challenges. Right now, our challenge firmly rest on getting out of the First Division, so we can play week in, week out, at that tempo, and the players need to adjust accordingly.
“I hate saying this, because our players worked hard and played really well at times, but today you did see a league of difference.
“We will lick our wounds, we will come back, and keep the promotion chase going.”
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay (D. Leckie 65 mins), A. Brown, P. Young, B. Hunter, C. Tyson, S. Nightingale (R. Hewitson 75 mins), J. Wilson, G. Rossi, J. Hay and R. Shephard (C. Gow 59 mins).