Kelso take all three points in closely-fought derby

Kelso goal scorer Owen Benzies
Kelso goal scorer Owen Benzies

Hawick Royal Albert1

Kelso United2

It could well be described as a smash and grab victory, but Kelso United couldn’t have cared less – the Tweedsiders came to do a job, did the job and went home, mission accomplished.

Sure, United were under the cosh for periods of the game, and sure, they had to dig deep to gain their win, but Kelso’s digging proved to be more than worthwhile.

Hawick, on the other hand, were left licking their wounds and contemplating on what might have been had they been able to turn pressure into goals.

United manager Scott Dowie told The Southern: “Hawick is always a difficult place to get a result and before the game I would have been happy to have came away with a point.

“We managed to get three, however, and I am absolutely delighted about this. Hawick had the better of the first half and should have punished us.

“Indeed, they could well have been three or four goals up at the break.

“In the second half, though, we were a different team.”

Albert were first to threaten with a good move which ended in Kelso keeper Elliot Turnbull saving well from Andy Noble. Steven Tait then headed a Darren Clark free kick wide at the other end.

It was Hawick who were in the driving seat, but despite having plenty of possession and constantly pushing forward, the home side, however, were making little impact in front of goal.

After Albert number one Martin Stewart had kept out a Shane Bonnington header following a Liam O’Rourke free kick, and Turnbull had saved well from Chris McLeod, Royalists took the lead in the 38th minute. Turnbull spilled a McLeod shot and the lurking Gordon Ramsay stabbed the loose ball into the net.

Kelso began the second half in a lively manner and, with six minutes gone, notched an equaliser.

O’Rourke floated a corner kick into a crowded goalmouth and the evergreen Tait, who has recently come out of retirement to help the Tweedsiderst, produced the scoring touch for the second week in succession, beating Stewart with a powerful header.

In the 75th minute, Kelso gave the hosts a lesson in the art of taking chances by stealing ahead.

A Ronald Fleming pass-back was gratefully intercepted by Owen Benzies, who raced through on his own to calmly fire past Stewart.

In an all-action finishing period in which Kelso had their backs to the wall, Albert’s Gavin Shanley had a header cleared off the line by Frankie Rankin, while Calvin Muttitt then hit the post with another header.