Hawick United 5 Gala Hotspur 3
The pitch was heavy under foot, conditions were poor and this Border Amateur B Division clash could well have been a dour, slogging affair.
However, it turned out to be quite the opposite.Both sides conjured up some surprisingly good football, eight goals were scored and, indeed, there could easily have been a few more in what was a lively tussle, with Hawick United emerging as deserved winners.
The Wilton Lodge Park men had the edge for most of the game.
Gala Hotspur, however, had their moments. Four goals down at one stage, the visitors came back from the depths of despair to make a real match of it after all had appeared lost.
Searching for a win to keep their championship and promotion hopes ticking over, United opened with a bang.
After breaking down the left, Robbie Kelly sprayed an inside pass to Liam Lavery who fired inches wide.
Following another darting Kelly run, Aaron Swailes fired an effort over the bar.
Playing some flowing football, United continued to push forward and Gala keeper Shane Elliot was put to the test when keeping out a Swailes shot.
Hotspur replied with a breakaway raid which ended in Michael Sanderson pulling off a superb save in tipping a Stewart Robertson drive round the post.
Minutes later Marcus Gordon almost broke the deadlock for the visitors.
With 29 minutes gone, United took the lead when Kelly rattled home a Bolton cross at the far post.
Just on the interval Elliot prevented United from going further ahead with an excellent stop from Bolton.
United began the second half strongly and within two minutes added to their tally.
After running on to a Liam Lavery pass, Strathdee surged forward to shoot past Elliot.
In the 57th minute Gala fell further behind. Lavery whipped over a cross and Declan Hogg did the business in finding the net with a powerful header.
After Sanderson had saved well from Robertson, United went four up in the 66th minute.
Aidan Reilly unleashed a rasping drive which was pushed away by Elliot.
The ball then broke to the feet of Strathdee who hit over a cross that was slotted in by Danny Bolton.
It looked game all over, however, Gala had other ideas by staging a rousing comeback.
Gordon sparked matters off with a perfectly taken penalty in the 72nd minute after Robertson had been pulled down by Sanderson when attempting to round the keeper.
Boosted by this, Hotspur began to raise their game and after Sanderson had thwarted Robert Noble pulled another goal back.
Robertson ghosted inside from the wing and duly polished off his run with a spot on finish.
Immediately after this, Fraser Brown got his name on the Hotpsur scoresheet with a well taken goal.
It was fast and furious stuff, but it was United who were to bring an end to the goal fest when Strathdee latched on to a miss-hit Noble clearance and lofted an unsavable shot into the far corner of the net from a difficult angle.
United assistant manager John Paul Drysdale said: “It was a really good win for us as we had a few players missing.
“In the first half we were well on top and played some nice football only to miss a few chances.
“We played well in the second half also but after going four goals up we took our foot off the gas and allowed Gala to come back into the game when it should have been finished.
“However we ended up getting a deserved win.”