Dalbeattie Star 2

Gala Fairydean Rovers 3

GALA Fairydean Rovers collected their first win of the season in the Lowland League at Dalbeattie on Tuesday evening.

It was a deserved three points although the visitors were left hanging on in the end after failing to kill off the game at vital periods.

However, it was Dalbeattie who came racing out the traps and dominated the early stages and it came as no surprise when Daniel Orsi headed home from close range after just five minutes.

The home side were sharp and seemed to be first to every second ball but Gala dragged themselves back into the game with skipper Danny Galbraith drilling in a low 20-yard shot shot which was turned round the post by the keeper.

The Braw Lads got back on level terms in the 27th minute when Marc Berry floated a corner to the back post and Scott-Taylor MacKenzie's header struck the underside of the crossbar and was adjudged to have crossed the line.

There was a delay from the officials in awarding a goal but the lack of protest from the Dalbeattie defenders seemed to suggest it was a correct decision.

Star continued to have the edge for the rest of the first half but with very few chances created.

Shooting uphill in the second half, Gala appeared to have their work cut-out from what always looked likely to be a tough trip to the deserted Islecroft Stadium, although plenty of spectators took up viewing areas outside the perimeter wall.

While Dalbeattie's tempo dropped from the first half, Gala stepped up a gear and took the game to the home side.

Another Berry corner picked out the smallest man on the park, Mackenzie, who outjumped the home everyone in the six yard box to head home just after the hour mark.

This settled Gala who looked extremely dangerous on every break and they thought they had scored a third when Zander Murray slotted home Ross Aitchison's cross only to be deprived by a dubious offside flag.

But the third goal was not far away, in the 66th minute to be precise, and it had quality written all over it.

Hearts loanee Sean Ward – who moments earlier had replaced the injured Berry – showed a piece of sublime skill to drift past a defender and his low cross was swept into the net by Murray who is now starting to display the form which made him such a stand-out last season.

Gala continued to dominate with some slick passing movements and it seemed only a matter of time before they added to their lead.

However, they switched off 11 minutes from time when Lewis Sloan was allowed to run unchallenged for 30 yards before slipping the ball to substitute Calvin Cowie who picked his spot in the bottom corner.

There followed a frantic final 10 minutes – which was actually extended to 16 minutes with injury time – as Gala preferred to see the game out instead of chasing a fourth goal and settle the matter.

It could have been a costly policy as there were a couple of near things near the Gala goal as Dalbeattie pumped in high balls hoping to get a break.

Deep into injury time, Gala should have wrapped up the points when Murray was left one on one with a covering defender only to fire his blistering shot inches over the bar.

The visitors were relieved to finally hear the sound of the final whistle and a welcome three points after a long midweek journey to the south-west and now have a trip to face league leaders at East Kilbride this Saturday.