Easthouses Lily 2
Gala Fairydean 6
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Newbattle Complex
IT is not a result that will have Saturday’s Scottish Cup opponents Irvine Meadow quaking in their Ayrshire boots.
But, as Gala Fairydean manager Fraser Lothian believes, it should silence the Netherdale men’s detractors for a little while at least.
Gala had lost four Qualifying League Cup games on the bounce, conceding 16 goals, raising questions about the side which last season missed out on promotion by just one goal.
The Dean’s first division bow at Easthouses was expected to see a continuation of the club’s woeful form, and provide further ammunition for the doubters.
Instead, the Braw Lads sit top of the league thanks to a spectacular six-goal thumping of Easthouses, whose two sending-offs derailed their efforts quicker than a Kevin Pietersen text message.
Lothian said: “I was pleased with the performance and result at a difficult venue.
“It should keep the critics quiet for a while.
“We have been struggling for players in the League Cup games, but we had five back today and it made a difference. I’m sure we will be up there (for promotion) this season.”
Among the returnees was right back Greg Hay after a short stint in America, but Gala’s rearguard was still vulnerable at times against an Easthouses team who looked average at best.
Indeed, the visitors’ frailties were exposed after only eight minutes when James Currie drifted unnoticed into the penalty box to prod the ball beyond Elliot Turnbull.
A rapid response was vital and it arrived within five minutes as Scott Nightingale easily beat his opposite number Jamie Shields before providing a low cross for Geri Rossi to smash the ball past Justin Hind.
Nightingale repeated his trick , setting up Andrew Brown to head home his first for the club on 33 minutes, while Rossi’s cut-back for Jack Hay made it three on 38 minutes.
Easthouses still looked dangerous in attack, but the game ended as a contest three minutes before the break when Graeme Young showed his complete lack of sense by kicking out at Jay Wilson right in front of referee David Doig.
Greg Hay scored his first goal on his second Gala stint with a great run and finish on 52 minutes, before Neil Ferry’s 61st minute header was adjudged to have crossed the visitors’ goalline, despite the best efforts of Michael Fairburn.
Lily’s Scott Borthwick could have cut the deficit to just one, but Turnbull saved well from close range as the Fairies’ hearts started to flutter.
Wilson ’s well-hit free kick put the result beyond any doubt 21 minutes from time.
Teenage substitute Marc Berry then fired in a sixth on 84 minutes, another first competitive goal for Gala, before Daniel Watson finally got a second yellow after a series of fouls so petulant, a spoilt toddler would have been embarrassed.
The performance was a big step forward by Lothian’s young side; they now need to take a giant leap this weekend for further success in Ayrshire.
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay, M. Fairburn, G. Lothian, P. Sutherland, B. McGregor, S. Nightingale, J. Wilson, G. Rossi (D. Bonnar 78), J. Hay (M. Berry 69), A. Brown.