Preston found that two convincing wins over Gala in the Lowland League earlier this season were to count for little, as hosts Gala recorded a convincing 3-1 win at Netherdale to top the table in the Lowland League League Cup Section A.
A Callum Jardine double set Gala up for victory. The striker netted for the first time in the fifth minute after weaving into the box through a disorganised Preston back line and firing low into the bottom corner.
Ten minutes later Jardine cracked his second high into the net from 20 yards out after Sean Paliczka picked him out from the halfway line.
James Reilly had a great chance to pull a goal back for the visitors on the stroke of half-time after picking up a Martin cut back in the middle of the box, but shot a foot wide of the target.
The Panners made a much brighter start to the second half and Brian Foster headed onto the crossbar from a Michael Osborne corner after the visitors won a series of set pieces around the Gala box. It was the home side however who scored next with Stuart Noble slotting home from ten yards in the 58th minute to stamp Gala’s authority.
Preston took charge of possession and Sean Martin pulled a goal back for his side in the 67th minute, but Gala held out comfortably thereafter. In the 79th minute Jamie Gibson missed the chance to restore Gala’s three goal cushion after sending a penalty kick left of Gilbertson’s post, while Osborne was sent off late on after picking up two cautions in quick succession.
Gala Fairydean Rovers: Dodds, Inglis, Common, Collins, Forrest, McColm (Hartley 51), McBride, Jardine (Sutherland 69), Noble, Paliczka (Grant 73), Nicol. Subs: Inglis, Grant
Preston Athletic: Gilbertson, Cherrie, Thomson, Foster (Stewart 63), Morrison, Elliot, Moore (Osborne 11), Philp (McCormack 63), Martin, Reilly, Devlin. Subs: Robertson.