In warm November sunshine it was the visitors who finally marched on to the fourth round in dramatic style after an enthralling cup match at Kilwinning Sports Club. A dominant first half display seemed to have given Gala one foot in the next round, but KSC were not for lying down, as they fought back to level the match. Then, in the dying seconds Rodrigo Olival won the tie for Gala, and the match ball with his hat trick.
It was a match played at high tempo throughout, both forward lines contributing to an open attacking game played in a good spirit. Fairydean started the brightest, with Olival and Matthew Roberts finding space in behind the KSC back line to create some early openings. The two combined to set up James Delaney with the first clear chance on seven minutes, who shot just over.
Two minutes later Delaney again had a shot saved by Adam Boyd, but Gala were to make no mistake on 10 minutes as they opened the scoring. Sean Curran floated a searching ball in behind the KSC defence, finding Olival clean through on Adam Boyd’s goal to tuck into the corner.
Gala continued to have the better of early exchanges as they pressed the ball in midfield, with the front trio of Olival, Roberts and Delaney providing plenty of options up front. The visitors almost doubled their lead on 12 minutes as good work from Olival put Sam Kelly in on goal but he shot just wide.
After this difficult opening KSC tried to push out and get their own danger men into the game. Liam Larmour forced a first save from Joshua Bain in the Gala goal on 15 minutes, with Dario Quigley creating space in behind with some good runs alongside him
But just as the home side thought they were finally settling back into the match, Gala went on to double their advantage on 25 minutes. Delaney moved down the left channel and played in Olival, and Boyd got a hand to the shot but couldn’t keep the ball from crossing the line.
Gala had proved ruthless in front of goal in a match of balanced possession. For KSC the only hope now was to get forward and throw caution to the wind, as Aidan Rae and Daniel Watson tried to drive the home side forward from midfield.
Despite this KSC struggled to create clear cut chances and this game could have been beyond their reach before half time, as both Roberts and Kelly struck the woodwork for the visitors. Rovers were still just in the game as the interval deficit remained at just two goals.