Hawick Royal Albert 0
Kelso United 1
EoS FIRST DIVISION
JOHN SLORANCE reports from Albert Park
THERE may have been a shortage of goals, but there was plenty of everything else in this blood-and-thunder derby battle – seven bookings, a sending off, barrowloads of missed opportunities and loads of tension.
Kelso manager Prof Blaikie told TheSouthern afterwards: “We created a lot of chances, but failed to take them and this was frustrating, especially as Hawick played a good part of the match with only 10 men. We were the better side, but Hawick dug in and defended well. It took us a long time to score, but when our goal did come along, it was deserved.
“I was very happy with our win, especially as we kept a clean sheet. Due to the young Hawick supporters in the stand, the atmosphere at the game was brilliant”.
Albert midfielder Andy Noble said: “The sending off of Graham Clee was a big turning point in the game. If we had 11 players on the park for the 90 minutes we would have won.
“I thought we played very well as a team. All the boys fought hard and we gave Kelso a game”.
With both sides pushing forward, proceeedings got off to a lively start and Liam Wallace came near to breaking the deadlock for United when he cut in from the left flank, only to fire wide. Minutes later, Hawick keeper Ross Taylor denied the Tweedsiders an opener by getting down to block a Jordan Lauder shot after the latter had been set up by a Derek Burnett pass.
Hawick were reduced to 10 men in the 24th minute when Clee was involved in an off-the-ball clash with United’s Damien McNulty. Clee was shown a straight red card and McNulty a yellow.
This was a big blow for the homesters, but Hawick nevertheless began to make their presence felt and United keeper Scott Dowie was twice put to the test dealing with efforts from Paul Power. Towards the interval Albert were denied a goal by the woodwork when a Kyle McCulloch shot hit the upright.
Kelso started the second half firing on all cylinders and Hawick had their backs to the wall. United’s finishing, however, was not on par with their constructive approach work. Wallace squandered two good chances in a matter of minutes, Lauder then doing likewise with a miscued header from a Chris Black cross.
Taylor halted the visitors in their tracks, pulling off a superb save from Graeme Gillie before thwarting McNulty with a fingertip stop.
With the Teries on the defensive, Kelso continued to push forward and took the lead in the 79th minute. Taylor failed to hold a Burnett shot, the ball breaking to the feet of the lurking Wallace who produced the finishing touch.
Burnett came close to notching a second in the dying stages when he broke clear after pouncing on a Hawick defensive error, only to have his net-bound shot pushed round the post by Taylor.
Hawick Royal Albert: R. Taylor, Ronald Fleming, M. Patton (Raymond Fleming), G. Young, I. Zenati, G. Clee, A. Noble, D. Hogg, P. Power (P Keenan), R. Brand (S. Clee), K. McCulloch.
Kelso United: S. Dowie, G. McNulty, S. Angus (D. Richardson), S. Tait, S. Harker, D. McNulty, C. Black, M. Laidler, D. Burnett, L. Wallace, J. Lauder (trialist).