Hawick Royal Albert 4, Peebles Rovers 4
Both sides were in much need of a win on Saturday to welcome 2019 and to improve on their lowly league positions in the East of Scotland Conference A table.
Neither ended up gaining the bragging rights but they did share the honours in a superb derby clash, in which the result was in doubt until the final whistle.
Under new manager Allan McDonald for the first time, following Colin Smith’s resignation in midweek, Peebles were first to look like scoring when Grant Wilson fired wide from a Jamie Mckay cross during the opening exchanges.
In the ninth minute, however, the Whitestone Park men did break the deadlock.
On being fed by a Wilson pass, Alan ‘Speedy’ McMath had an effort parried by Hawick keeper Craig Saunders and Robbie Sterricks was on the spot to stick away the rebound.
With 17 minutes gone, the Albert got on level terms.
After latching on to a long ball from Ben Maxwell, Josh Neill hit over a cross and Egidijus ‘Eggy’ Savickas duly flicked the ball to the feet of David Watson, who drilled home a shot.
With both sides looking hungry and showing plenty of endeavour, play was fast and furious. In the 26th minute, a third goal arrived.
Dominico Pacitti put Hawick ahead by beating Rovers keeper Bob Hall all the way with a rasping drive, after being set up by a short Watson free kick.
Rovers had the edge for the remainder of the first half and squandered a couple of good scoring chances.
Peebles began the second period strongly. After McMath had been foiled by a Saunders save and Callum McKenzie hit the side netting with an angled shot, they equalised in the 54th minute.
McMath was their marksman, polishing off a move with a spot-on finish.
Just after this, Wilson hit the upright with a cross cum shot.
In the 62nd minute, Peebles went ahead – David Lindsey making no mistake with a perfectly taken penalty, following the upending of Ross Lamb by a Savickas challenge in the box.
Within two minutes, Lamb had the ball in the net only for a counter to be chalked off for a previous infringement.
In the 80th minute, the game’s second penalty arrived.
On breaking through, Neil was brought down by Hall and a defender.
Michael Johnston took the spot kick and drove in a shot that the diving Hall got a hand at but failed to stop.
Time was running out but the match was far from over and, in the 83 rd minute Peebles went ahead for the third time when Wilson found the roof of the net with a beauty of a free kick.
That could well have been the end of it but, in the 89th minute, Pacitti made it all square with a superbly struck free kick.