GALA Fairydean Rovers progressed to the fourth round of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup with a hard fought victory over Preston Athletic at Netherdale this afternoon.

The home side almost took the lead in the second minute when Jamie Semple broke clear and attempted to dink the ball over keeper Sam Gray but his effort was well saved.

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Ethan Dougal then went close with a long rage effort but the visitors had a great chance to equalise and it took a superb last ditch tackle from Calum Ferguson to keep his side in front.

Moments later Gala had a penalty claim dismissed after Allan Smith appeared to have been tripped inside the area.

Sam Ostle then went close from 22-yards then Gala took a deserved lead in the 34th minute.

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Liam Watt demonstrated some neat footwork to find space then sent a sublime through ball into the path of Jamie Semple and the striker rounded the keeper and slid the ball into the net from an acute angle.

Gala boss Martin Scott made a couple of substitutions at half time with Smith and Semple making way for Gospel Ocholi and Lasana Drammeh.

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Nicky Reid almost doubled Gala’s advantage after cutting in from the left wing but his effort went high and wide.

Preston then started to dominate possession and created a number of good chances and at that stage looked the more likely to score.

However Gala wrapped things up in the 84th minute.

Watt’s cross found Riley Lightfoot who was tripped up inside the area, The referee pointed to the spot despite the protests from the Preston players.

Watt fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net to ensure the victory.

Preston were reduced to 10 men in the dying minutes.

The match report with reactions will be in next week's Border Telegraph