Hawick Legion Rovers5
Fast-flowing football, goals galore and end-to-end play, this Collie Cup quarter-final tie had it all as both sides threw caution to the wind and went hammer and tongs for a win.
And the outcome was a vastly-entertaining encounter.
Rovers gave a hint of the flood of goals that was to come when soaring into the lead in the third minute, Sean Clarke producing the scoring touch by beating Melrose keeper Louis Steel with a cracking angled shot after being set up by a Chay Caldwell pass.
Nine minutes later, Chay Caldwell put Rovers further ahead with a swirling corner kick that sailed into the roof of the net.
Melrose came rallying back and had a golden opportunity to reduce the leeway after being awarded a penalty. There was to be no joy for the visitors though as Michael McAuley fired wide from the spot.
After Lee Brown and Keith McAuley had come close for Melrose, Rovers added to their tally in the 34th minute. On collecting a Michael Moir pass, Clarke drove in a shot that went under the body of the diving Steel.
Minutes later Steel foiled the home men with a superb stop from a Clarke free kick.
Following a top-notch save by Rovers number one Kevin Miller from a Michael McAuley header at the beginning of the second period, Melrose opened their account in the 57th minute. Keith McAuley slotted away a penalty with great precision.
Six minutes later Moir restored Rovers’ three-goal lead in touching in a well-flighted Jordan Caldwell free kick.
Play continued to rage and Keith McAuley put Melrose back in the hunt when nodding home a Kevin Paterson corner kick at the back post.
With 70 minutes gone, Matthew Moule got his name on the Rovers scoresheet with a long-distance effort that dipped into the net. Melrose heads refused to drop though and Michael McAuley pulled a goal back two minutes later.
Boosted by this, Melrose kept their foot on the gas and after the Rovers defence had failed to clear a Jamie Bertram throw-in, Keith McAuley blasted a shot out of the reach of Miller.
In a ding-dong finish, chances fell at both ends, but there was no addition to the scoring.