Hawick Royal Albert 0
Preston Athletic 3
EoS FIRST DIVISION
FACING league leaders Preston, bottom-of-the-table Royal Albert more than held their own in a non-scoring first half.
Andy Noble twice came near to netting for Hawick, while Sean Martin was just off target with a header for Athletic.
Six minutes into the second half Preston took the lead with a hotly disputed goal. Albert keeper Paul Tansey had the ball knocked out of his hands by an Athletic player. It appeared a clear foul, but there was no referee’s whistle. Preston’s Fraser Henderson tapped his shot into the net and the visitors were ahead in bizarre fashion. Royalists protested vigorously and Graham Clee was booked for talking out of turn.
A minute later, Clee was shown a second yellow card after fouling an Athletic player and it was the end of the game for the Albert’s recent signing from the junior ranks.
Preston began to gain the upper hand from here on and increased their lead when Henderson slotted away a Martin cross.
Ten-man Hawick kept plugging away, though, and Noble and Craig Beattie were both thwarted by saves from Athletic keeper Ross Gilpin in a matter of minutes.
After Tansey had proved his worth with a string of fine saves, Kevin Cairnie notched a third for Athletic seconds from time.
Royal Albert: P. Tansey, G. Burnett, S. Chambers, L. Dunn, S. Duff, G. Clee, P. Power, C. Beattie, K. O’Neil, A. Noble, D. Laing.