Hawick Royal Albert bag bragging rights

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Duns 1 Hawick Royal Albert 2

EOS QUALIFYING LEAGUE

DESPITE ending the game with only nine men, Royal Albert gained the bragging rights in this East of Scotland League Cup encounter that had been switched from Hawick to Duns.

Showing much improved form from their past few outings, the Albert sailed into the lead in the 12th minute when Paul Brown rattled home a well flighted Nicky Cairns corner at the back post.

Boosted by this encouraging start, Hawick pushed forward for further goals and Michael McKenzie and Kevin Strathdee both came near to getting their names on the score sheet.

After being fed a Strathdee cross McKenzie then drove in a fierce shot which Duns keeper, Steven Mason did well to push out.

The ball broke to the feet of Michael Smith who fired over the bar.

Looking sharp and positive and moving the ball about well, Hawick continued to push forward and Mason came to the home sides aid again with a brilliant save in leaping to his left to tip a net bound Shaun Fallan header round the post from a Smith cross.

With 8 minutes of the first half remaining the Albert stretched their lead.

A sweeping raid that began on the left flank ended in Cairns spraying a pass to the feet of Smith who polished matters off to perfection in tucking a shot past Mason.

Lining up with a reshuffled formation in the second half Duns began to come more into the picture and after Michael Stewart had come close to scoring, had a great opportunity to reduce the leeway when being awarded a penalty.

Making his first appearance in an Albert shirt, trialist Craig Dilworth who had only been on the park for a few minutes handled a Gary Waddell cross in the box and referee Paul Hanlon pointed to the spot.

There was to be no goal joy for the ‘Dingers’ though for Jordan Ainslie’s penalty was superbly saved by Hawick keeper Andy Jack.

In the 73rd minute further drama emerged, Waddell swung a cross into the goalmouth and in attempting to clear, Dilworth handled for a second time.

Referee Hanlon awarded a second penalty as well as red carding debut boy, Dilworth.

Steven Shennan took the spot kick this time around and made no mistake in finding the net with a low shot.

Eight minutes later Hawick were reduced to nine men when Cairns was given his marching orders in picking up a second yellow card for a rash challenge.

In a hectic finish, Jack denied Duns an equaliser in fingertipping a well struck Andrew Renton effort over the bar.