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  • Callum Hodgson (Border Telegraph)





IT was always going to be a tough afternoon for Gala.

Elgin City are flying high in League 2 and came to the Borders fresh from a 5-0 victory away at Montrose.

Around 450 fans crammed into Netherdale, the majority of course hoping for a Scottish Cup upset.

But on 15 minutes Shane Sutherland put the visitors in front and just seven minutes later it got a whole lot worse when Billy Miller put the ball past his own goalkeeper.

In all honesty a miracle was needed to overcome the 2-0 deficit as Elgin piled on the pressure. Chris McLeish made it 3-0 on 31 minutes and Brian Cameron completed the rout, two minutes after half time.

Disappointed gaffer Steven Noble said: “Elgin are a very good side, but I think we helped them with a couple of the goals we gave away.

“They were clinical and they took the chances when they fell to them. We lacked a bit of cutting edge and lacked composure in the final third.

“Overall we’re disappointed with the result, but our boys fought until the end and you could see that Elgin had that bit better quality. A lot of our guys have come from amateur football so it’s a big step up.

“We weren’t a million miles away. We weren’t under relentless pressure as we had chances of our own. They just took theirs.

“We’re obviously disappointed our Scottish Cup dream isn’t continuing, but we need to move on and learn from it.”

It should have been 1-0 to City within four minutes when Sutherland scuffed a shot, as Elgin showed their attacking intent from the whistle.

And they did break the deadlock 11 minutes later. Cameron drove forward and whipped a ball across the box, finding Sutherland who knocked in. Their next goal, however, came from nowhere. Instead of firing the ball down the line, Billy Miller tried to knock back to Kieran Wright, which turned out to be catastrophic due to the drenched 3g pitch. The keeper tried to trap the ball, but it skidded under his boot and into the net.

Despite having played around 20 minutes, it was difficult to envisage a comeback, as the Moray side showed why they are second in their league. Cameron hit the bar and Sutherland hit a free kick wide.

But then, after half an hour, Sutherland again stormed forward and cut through the Gala defence like a hot knife through butter. He tapped towards McLeish and the inevitable happened. 3-0.

The Braw Lads’ man of the match Adam Watson, did create a good chance just before the break though, but he saw his powerful shot saved by Mark Waters.

But it didn’t take Elgin long to add to their tally after half time. Sutherland again played in Cameron and he converted with precision.

Sutherland was causing havoc and should have scored more. Before the hour mark he went clean through but fired wide.

Then, soon after, he headed wide after a good cross from substitute Daniel Moore.

Five minutes before the end, Billy Miller almost made up for his own goal, when his fantastic effort from 30 yards rattled the crossbar.

This was a difficult match for Fairydean Rovers, who did fight hard. But Jim Weir’s men put Gala to the sword with their sharp, clinical and convincing play.

Gala Fairydean Rovers: K Wright, L Stephen, B Miller, S Main, T Hope (G Windram 60), D McColm (S Bonnington 88), D Smith, A Watson, S Noble, S Paliczka (K Collins 45), D Bonnar. Not used: M Fenton, R Clapperton, D Simpson, K Waugh

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