East Kilbride 3

Gala FR 0

By Rob Fairburn

at K Park

THREE goals in a crazy five minute spell were enough for East Kilbride to extend their lead at the top of the Lowland League to four points.

And while the home side deserved their victory, they were given a major helping hand by the awarding of two controversial penalties just before the hour mark.

There were few talking points in a first half dominated by a strong wind, apart from Kilby having a Kieran Gibbons goal flagged for offside in the 19th minute.

Gala looked solid and won the majority of midfield battles but lacked the cutting edge to threaten Kilby.

After the break, the home side stepped up a gear backed by the strong wind and only a fantastic saved from debutant keeper Patrick Martin, on loan from Hibs, prevented Ross McNeil from breaking the deadlock with a header.

But Kilby got the breakthrough in the 58th minute when Ross Aitchison was adjudged to have brought down McNeil.

Even though the home players didn't even claim for a penalty the referee pointed to the spot and Adam Strachan netted from 12 yards.

If that penalty was thought to be soft, the second one two minutes later surpassed it.

Gala skipper Billy Miller was unable to get out of the way of a Bryan Prunty cross fired at home from five yards away and again the referee awarded a penalty for hand-ball.

Strachan again produced a cool finish to put Kilby on the road to victory.

To rub salt into Gala's wounds, Kilby scored a third goal just a minute later with McNeil blasting home from close range.

To the credit of the visitors they kept pushing to the end but were unable to break down a strong Kilby side with the weather conditions not helping either.

On a positive note teenagers Callum Riddell and Andrew Crawford, who had stepped up from the club's Border Amateur side, showed some neat touches when they came on in the second half while keeper Martin had an impressive debut.

Gala manager Steven Noble said: "Obviously the penalties changed the game.

"They were really soft and it is a sore one to take.

"But the players worked really hard without getting their reward so hopefully our luck will change soon."