Hawick Legion 3, Hawick United 1
It had all the makings of being a lively affair – and this derby clash certainly lived up to its billing.
Both sides showed great commitment and purpose throughout the Border Amateur ‘B’ Division encounter at Wilton Lodge Park.
At the end of it all, though, it was Legion who gained the bragging rights with a justified win.
The blue-shirted Legion men had that little bit of extra quality, that little more extra sting – and it was these attributes that brought the league leaders full points.
United, however, drew first blood by sailing into the lead in the ninth minute with a top notch goal.
Left back Ryan Shepherd did the business in finding the net with a glorious 35-yard drive, after the ball had bounced his way from a Legion clearance.
Shortly afterwards, however, United lost the services of Shepherd with a leg injury.
Despite both sides giving their all, few scoring opportunities were being conjured up and neither keeper was being seriously put to the test.
In the 24th minute, however, Legion snatched an equaliser when Darrel Johnstone latched on to the ball in midfield before rifling a shot past United keeper Michael Sanderson.
Within four minutes, Sanderson was beaten again, with Callum Hope this time applying the finishing touch, following a Johnstone corner kick.
Legion kept their foot on the gas and Sanderson did well to keep his goal intact in pulling off a splendid save from a powerful Rory Scott header.
After Simon Philbin had squandered a chance to equalise, Sanderson put up the shutters again in tipping away a well-struck John Shankie effort.
Towards the interval, a good link-up move involving oragne-topped United pair Kevin Strathdee and Ryan Law ended in Liam Lavery hitting a shot wide of the target.
Early in the second period, Lewis Ferguson broke through to waltz round Sanderson and hit in a shot that appeared netbound until being cleared by Aidan Reilly.
After Kevin Strathdee and Hope had failed to stick away chances, Declan Hogg had a free kick kept out by Watson.
Legion were looking the likelier side to score and, in the 79th minute, they did just that.
Hope floated a corner kick high into a crowded goalmouth and Shankie rose well to bullet the ball home with his head.
Legion now had a two-goal cushion but United were far from out of it, as they pushed forward for the remainder of the match.
Hogg headed a Lavery corner narrowly over the upright and Ross Scott was then thwarted by a fine Watson save.
Following a Sanderson stop at the other end from Scott Duncan, United were awarded a penalty.
But there was to be no joy for the Tangerines as Philbin’s spot kick was parried by the diving Watson.
Delighted Legion team boss Davie Fraser said afterwards: “It was a tough match but, apart from the last 10 minutes, when United threw everything they had at us, I thought we were the better side and deserved to win.
“I was pleased with the character we showed in coming back after losing an early goal. Not many sides can turn it around after going behind to United, but we did.
“This shows the great spirit we have in the team. It was a really good victory for us.”
United manager Geo Shepherd, who saw his side suffer their first league defeat of the season, commented: “I am very disappointed with the result. We under-achieved. We can play a lot better than we did.
“Ryan Shepherd got us off to a great start in scoring a brilliant goal but we then lost Ryan through injury and had to reshuffle the side.
“After this, things stopped working for us and we just didn’t really perform. Legion deserved their win. They were more hungry than us.”
Hawick Legion – C. Watson, G. Moffat, A. Maltman, C. McCuthcheon, R. Scott, J. Easdon, J. Shankie, C. Hope, L. Ferguson, S. Duncan, D. Johnstone.
Subs – S. Solley, J. Dickson, C. Caldwell, C. Mitchell, N. McColm.
Hawick United – M. Sanderson, R. Wallace, R. Shepherd, D. Strathdee, A. Reilly, D. Hogg, R. Scott, K. Paterson, K. Strathdee, S. Philbin, L. Lavery.
Subs – D. Slight, T. Storrie, C. Turnbull, S. McFarlane, R. Law.