Dalbeattie Star 7, Hawick Royal Albert 1
Dalbeattie Star scored a magnificent seven goals as they turned in a crowd-pleasing performance on Saturday at Islecroft.
Hawick were unlucky to come up against the side when the big score they had been threatening for several weeks finally burst out.
It was also the quality of goals, as well as the quantity on a very heavy pitch, that sent the home fans away with a smile on their faces.
Manger Darren Kerr understandably picked the same starting XI that performed so well in the previous week’s 4-2 win over Gala Fairydean Rovers.
Star kicked down the slope in the first half and, as expected, it didn’t take long for the pitch to cut up.
It was the visitors who started the better and, as early as the second minute, they had a great chance to score when Josh Morris found space inside the box but his shot flashed across the goal and, thankfully for Star, went past the post.
Star slowly played their way into the match but the Albert looked comfortable and Morris again went close when his first-time shot from a cross from the left was again narrowly off target.
The home side began to exert some pressure and, in the 21st minute, they created their first clear opening when Liam Park’s cross from the right was knocked down by Joe Slattery to Danny Dunglinson. He neatly laid the ball off to Dean Brotherston but the latter’s shot was inches off target. Two minutes later, though, they did find the back of the net when Brotherston took the ball round keeper Kyle Rankin and crossed from the byeline to Steven Degnan, whose flicked header fell for Lewis Sloan.
His left-foot shot smacked off the far post but the rebound fell perfectly for Slattery and he thumped the ball home to give Star the lead.
The game was still fairly even and while Star possibly looked the more threatening, the Albert had the impressive Kris Mitchell up front, although he was well marshalled by both James Baty and Richard Murray.
Eight minutes from the break, Sloan set up Dunglinson and his rasping effort from 20 yards was well handled by Rankin. However, the lead was doubled before the break with a superb team goal that had the home fans purring.
Some brilliant one-touch football around the edge of the area, involving a number of players, ended with Slattery laying the ball off to Dunglinson and he gave Rankin no chance with a left-foot shot from close range.
Star began the second half as they finished the first and, within four minutes, they scored a third when Sloan fired home from outside the box with a fine right-foot drive.
It now looked like a question of how many but, in the 57th minute, Hawick gave themselves some hope when Mitchell created some space for himself outside the penalty area and beat Vinnie Parker with an audacious chip that had quality written all over it.
If Star were stunned by this, it wasn’t long before they were back on the front foot, looking for a fourth. Midway through the second half, Tommy Muir came on and almost immediately made it 4-1. His first touch turned him away from his marker and his second was a right-foot shot from outside the box into the net.
This knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and things fell apart for them quickly as Star went through them at will.
In the 72nd minute, Brotherston was fouled inside the box for a penalty and Baty made his usual immaculate job from 12 yards.
With less than 10 minutes left, Brotherston scored his first goal in a Star jersey as he rounded the keeper and, from a tight angle, fired in a shot that went in despite a brave attempt by defender Daryl Johnston to clear.
The scoring ended in the last minute when Muir broke clear and passed the ball beyond Rankin to complete a memorable afternoon for the home side.
Hawick Royal Albert: Rankin, Stevenson, Begbie, Watson, Hughes (Hunter 60), Johnston (Begbie 81), McInally, Conaghan, Morris (Pettigrew 76), Mitchell, Meikle. Sub not used: Spence.