GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS 1
EAST KILBRIDE 2
FERARRI PACKAGING LOWLAND LEAGUE
A depleted Gala side put up a brave fight but eventually losing out 2-1 to a very good East Kilbride at the 3G Arena. GFR had eleven players out injured/unavailable and therefore could only name three substitutes, with manager Steven Noble among them.
Gala started on the front foot and really went after EK with the returning Jamie Gullan who was unavailable in midweek fired just wide from twenty-five yards with four minutes on the clock. The visitors went up the pitch and won a corner, only for Declan Hughes to fire over after it was taken short.
The East Kilbride keeper was the first to be called into action with Billy Miller glancing a header into his arms from about seven yards following a corner after ten minutes. This seemed to wake EK from their stupor with their number nine Ross McNeil hitting the bar following a counter minutes later.
The game flowed from end-to-end with neither side really on top. George Windram was having another excellent game at full back picked up where he left off midweek, making numerous key interceptions and winning any ball in the air that dared to drift within ten yards of him. The visitors would again come close in the thirty-second minute, Ross McNeil again denied by the bar but this time with a bullet header from a cross on the left wing.
But it was Gala who broke the deadlock just four minutes after the break in some style. David Bonnar laid the ball off to Darren Smith twenty-five yards out, and he smashed it first time past Jacob Kean with a little help from the post. The home side's endeavour to get more goals would be their undoing with EK getting their equalizer on a scintillating counter attack following a Gala corner. Newly signed Celtic loanee Keiran Campbell drove up the left flank and played in for Michael Anderson who slotted it home well just after the seventy-second minute mark. The goal was a real sucker punch for Gala having played so well up until then they now faced a quandary settle for a point against a very good team, or really go for it and hope for some luck defensively. Naturally manager Steven Noble went for the latter, throwing on David Brown in place of Sean Paliczka.
Unfortunately for the hosts Brown's main contribution would be at the wrong end pulling down Gavin Millar on the left-hand side of the box in the eighty third minute. He was perhaps unlucky with the way the attacker fell suggesting much more contact than there actually was. Adam Strachan took the penalty and emphatically smashed it past a helpless Lewis Muir to edge the visitors in front late in the day.
There was still time for Jacob Kean in the EK goal to pull off a stunning save to deny Billy Miller with seconds remaining with the resulting corner being cleared out by the defense.
All in all it was a great performance from Gala with EK manager Billy Stark full of praise for Steven Noble's men.
GFR: Muir, Stephen, Ainslie, Guiney, Windram, Smith, Paliczka(D. Brown 77'), Miller©, Gullan, Watson, Bonnar.