Gala Fairydean Rovers 3
Civil Service Strollers 2
A SPIRITED second half display ensured Gala returned to winning ways at Netherdale on Saturday, after three defeats on the bounce.
But they certainly didn’t make it easy for themselves.
They went behind just before half time when Jack Downie converted a penalty, but goals from substitute Des Sutherland, Jason Krones (pictured collecting his man of the match award) and Ross Aitchison secured the points despite a late strike by David Churchill piling on the pressure.
And defender Lee Stephen was given his marching orders four minutes before the end after picking up a second yellow from Craig Ferguson.
Relieved gaffer Steven Noble told us: “It was a hard-earned win. It was a funny game because we have been playing quite well, but today was a really poor first half. I was really disappointed with how we were playing, but Des come on and made a big difference.
“That goal really gave us a boost. It galvanised the team. We got the second and the third and we had chanced to get a fourth, but they got a late goal and it was exactly like it was when we played them away.
“We were hanging on in the end, but credit to the players they dug in and turned it around to get the result.”
The Fairydean Rovers never got started in the first half and really only had one chance, when Krones headed over the bar from a Darren Smith corner.
Civil could have taken the lead 22 minutes in when Churchill charged forward and played in Matthew Cunningham, but he saw his shot saved by Kieran Wright.
And just three minutes later Barry Milven’s header rattled the bar from a Downie corner.
Just when it looked as if it was going to be all square at the interval Krones clipped Joseph Dingwall in the box.
Downie stepped up and sent Wright the wrong way.
And they could have doubled their advantage before the whistle, but Wright produced a good save from Cunningham.
The Edinburgh side came close again at the start of the second half.
Cunningham played in Churchill, he turned and smashed the ball off the base of the post.
But that proved to be the wake-up call Gala needed.
Just three minutes later they were level. Smith picked out half-time sub Sutherland with his corner and he fired in.
The game was completely turned around, when Krones, struck a fantastic free kick past Stuart Burnside from the edge of the box – an effort worthy of winning any game.
Stephen then picked up a very harsh yellow when he tangled with Churchill.
The Strollers striker seemed to kick out at him, but the Gala defender was cautioned.
And on 68 minutes it looked as if three points were going to be secured, when Aitchison volleyed in a Stuart Noble cross at the far post.
But Civil Service tried to hit back through a David Stewart effort, which again hit the left post.
Five minutes before the end the visitors pulled one back to set up a nervy finish.
Substitute Peter Stenhouse jumped up with the goalkeeper, who tumbled to the ground, and there was Churchill to side-foot home.
And to make matters worse, Stephen was dismissed a minute later after a foul on Downie.
Craig Newall again smacked the post for the Strollers from way out on the right hand side and Wright, was forced into making another fantastic save from Scott Clapperton, to help Gala claim all three points.
Border Telegraph man of the match: Jason Krones
Gala Fairydean Rovers: K Wright, L Stephen, S Main, J Krones, G Windram, B Miller, D Smith, S Pringle (D Sutherland 46 (K Ainslie 87)), S Noble, S Bonnington (R Noble 57), R Aitchison.