Gala storm to victory in dogfight

Hat-trick hero Des Sutherland. Photograph: Grant Kinghorn.
Hat-trick hero Des Sutherland. Photograph: Grant Kinghorn.

Leithen Rovers 1

Gala Rovers 6


KEVIN JANIAK reports from Victoria Park

THE battle of the Rovers was always going to be a huge dogfight between two deadly rivals.

However, the dreich conditions and the apparent unreadyness of the home side meant that, in terms of a contest, this was not exactly the El Classico Dos it was billed to be by the visitors’ Facebook page.

This takes nothing away from the Gala men. The Rovers stuck to their task and, playing some of their best football this season in spite of the underfoot conditions, they proved they had more bite than bark.

And it was top dog Des Sutherland who led the way, banging in four goals and setting up the other two.

The avalanche began in the fourth minute, Shaun Hardie’s cross tucked away by Sutherland.

Then the diminutive striker put a great pass through to the highly impressive Jordan Steele, who supplied an even better finish.

And with half an hour gone, Sutherland’s shot was parried onto the post by Leithen keeper Chris Watson, Shaun Hardie sinking the rebound into the net.

Five minutes later, Allan Nicol found Sutherland with a beautifully judged long ball, the main man picking his spot for his second and Rovers’ fourth.

For Leithen Rovers, Colin Smith and Scott Leitch both hit the woodwork – the former thanks to a superb parry by Stevie King in the visitors’ goal – and it was clear luck was not on their side.

Sutherland made it five in the 57th minute with a deflected free kick before the home side got their consolation, Alan McMath working his way to the byeline and cutting back to Thomas Fleming, who made no mistake.

But two minutes after this, Sutherland brought his personal tally to four, finishing off the scoring by rounding Chris Borthwick and slamming the ball past Watson.

Gala co-manager Craig Lowrie told TheSouthern it was incredibly important that his side bounced back after losing their first league points the previous week against Pencaitland.

He said: “We didn’t really give Leithen Rovers a chance today. We kept in their face and didn’t allow them to play the football we know they are able to play.

Lowrie also had some praise for his top scorer.

He said: “Des is different class. He’ll score goals at any level – once he gets the ball it looks like he’ll score every time.

“I don’t know how many he has scored this season, but he is certainly well on his way to breaking Gary Hastie’s record.

“But he can also be frustrating as we would maybe prefer him to release it at times.”

This result puts the Gala men howling at the moon, one point behind leaders Pencaitland – and leaves Leithen Rovers down in the mid-table doghouse, licking their wounds.

Leithen Rovers: C. Watson, D. Thomson, G. Rathie (S. Burton), R. Gibb, C. Borthwick, C. Smith, C. Hope, T. Fleming, S. Leitch, A. McMath, S. Philbin.

Gala Rovers: S. King, D. Paterson, K. Matheson (G. Nicol), S. Noble, S. Greene, A. Nicol (B. McGregor), B. Noble, R. Grant, D. Sutherland, J. Steele, S. Hardie (C. Jardine).