BONFIRE night may have been 10 days previous but there were fireworks aplenty both on and off the park in this feisty Borders derby in the Image Printer Cup at Albert Park.

Stuart Noble’s Gala side emerged with a well deserved 5-0 victory as Hawick Royal Albert lost their discipline as well as the game.

The home side ended the match with only nine men and their manager sent to the stand in a tie that also saw the Gala coaching staff and committee members pelted with missiles from a section of the home support.

Roared on by a vocal home support the game had started well for Royal Albert as they set a frantic pace and put the Fairydean Rovers back line under intense pressure forcing five corners in the opening 20 minutes.

With new signing Fraser Forrest adding much needed stability at the heart of their defence the Netherdale side weathered the storm and took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd minute. Good work down the right by Jamie Gibson set up Des Sutherland to turn and sweep the ball into the net from the right hand corner of the area.

Following the goal referee David Doig paid the first of several visits to the home side technical area as Albert boss Graeme Chadwick and his staff argued that Gibson had been offside in the build up to Gala’s opener.

Hawick continued to force the pace and hesitation in the Gala defence allowed Kevin Strathdee to run unchallenged through on goal but he shot straight at John Dodds.

The miss was to prove costly for the home side as the Fairydean Rovers midfield started to impose themselves on the game.

Hawick’s Andrew Noble made a crucial headed goal line clearance following a well worked Gala corner just after the half hour before a foul on David Bonnar on the left hand side of the box presented the visitors was an opportunity to add to their lead.

The free kick by Dean McColm was initially cleared but Gala defender Craig McBride was quickest to react to the loose ball striking a sweet shot into the net.

To add to the home side’s woes Andy Williamson was shown a straight red card for dissent and referee Doig had to once again appeal for calm in the home technical area.

As half time approached Jason Inglis fired narrowly over as the visitors started to enjoy the extra space created by Williamson’s departure.

In a reverse from the opening 45 minutes it was the visitors who came flying out of the traps straight from the kick off.

Good work by Andrew Common allowed Des Sutherland to test Dean Fry in the home goal before the Hawick goalie was called on to make an excellent save from David Bonnar as Gala tightened their grip on the game.

In 52 minutes Jamie Gibson latched onto a defence splitting pass only to be brought down by Hawick’s Paul Brown inside the penalty area. The home defender’s actions left the referee with little alternative but to send him off as he had prevented a goal scoring opportunity.

Gibson dusted himself down to fire the resultant penalty beyond the despairing Fry.

Gala, unsurprisingly, enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and always looked likely to add to their total with only the linesman’s flag preventing Bonnar adding a fourth for the visitors.

Tensions continued to rise on and off the park and whilst missiles rained down on the Gala technical area the Hawick manager was finally sent to the stand following a series of confrontations with the officials.

In 82 minutes Craig Jardine broke from the half way line and kept his nerve to slot the ball past Fry for number 4. With just minutes remaining substitute Stuart Noble continued his recent good run of goal scoring form by turning the Hawick defence and firing low into the home goal to complete the scoring.

Fairydean Rovers manager Steven Noble said: “We knew this game would be a battle and we told the boys that Hawick would start the game well and come at us straight from kick off.

“We weathered the storm to play some good football and I was delighted with the way the players conducted themselves in very difficult circumstances.” Gala Fairydean Rovers: J Dodds, J Inglis, A Common (M Berry 60), D Bonnar, F Forrest, C Jardine, C McBride, D Sutherland, J Gibson, D McColm B Maxwell 60) & A Nicol (S Noble 75).

Hawick Royal Albert: D Fry, S Loughlin, P Brown, S Fallan, A Williamson, N Cairns, A Noble, D Hogg, K Strathdee, M Smith & M McKenzie.

Hawick Royal Albert 0 Gala Fairydean Rovers 5