Hawick Royal Albert3
A brace by Hawick Royal Albert striker Michael Smith was enough to give the Royalists victory against Kelso, writes Ronan Alexander.
After a scrappy start, the hosts had the edge after shots from Innes Zenati and Andy Noble.
The Tweedsiders were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute when Grant Gass mis-timed a slide tackle on Noble.
The Teries made the extra man count in the 29th minute when Ronald Fleming found the net with a right-footed shot from just inside the box. Hawick continued to dominate, and nearly doubled their lead after Paul Brown headed wide as Kelso keeper Elliot Turnbull misjudged a cross.
The hosts were made to rue that chance as, from the resulting goal kick, the travelling side found the equaliser, Shane Bonnington firing home.
Hawick hit back instantly after Smith steered home a Michael McKenzie cross and the same man bagged his second of the game, after a well-worked free kick, which was squared across from Zenati to send the hosts 3-1 up at the interval.
The visitors started the second half brightly and managed to get back into the game when Chris Black halved the deficit with a free kick from 20 yards out, which found the bottom corner.
The Woodside Park men could not find an equaliser, finding it difficult to break down the Albert defence, being a man down. United’s best chance came five minutes from time, when Damien McNulty headed over from a corner.