ALTHOUGH facing a swirling wind, Royal Albert began in a business-like manner and with just minutes gone came near to scoring, writes John Slorance.
Peter Keenan unleashed a raging free kick that looked a goal all the way until Athletic keeper Iain Gordon got in the road.
Leith then showed what they had to offer and Hawick number one Dean Fry pushed a well-hit Grant Burns drive over the bar.
In the 21st minute though, Athletic did find the net. After Fry had excelled in parrying a shot from Euan Campbell, the ball broke to the feet of Lewis Tracey who tucked away the rebound.
With two minutes of the first half remaining Leith went further ahead. The Hawick defence failed to clear a Lewis Cairns cross and Campbell stepped in to fire past Fry.
Hawick came out with a purposeful look after the break and within three minutes reduced the leeway. On finding himself in the clear, Keenan kept his cool to stroke a shot into the net.
However, the Albert’s joy was short-lived for two minutes later Cairns whipped over a cross and Tracey did the rest with a spot-on finish. Leith had their tails up now and within two minutes added to their tally, Campbell getting his name on the score sheet for the second time by rattling away a Kenny Hall cut back.
The goal spree continued and in the 57th minute it was Hawick who did the scoring.
Nicky Cairns floated over a corner kick from the left flank which ended up nestling in the far top corner of the net.
Play continued at a brisk pace and after Fry had halted Leith in their tracks with a splendid one-handed save from a Robbie Mason header, Andy Noble was out of luck at the other end with an effort that dipped just over the bar.
Hawick were pushing forward at every opportunity, but were unable to make any difference to the final outcome.