Rob Roy continued their perfect start to the season with a deserved but hard-fought win at Cumnock on Saturday.
The win, Rabs’ eighth consecutive victory since the start of the season, put Stewart Maxwell’s men top of the Super League Premier Division standings.
Rabs almost got off to a dream start when, in the second minute, Craig Buchanan’s header from a Gavin Mackie free-kick was well saved by Cumnock keeper Darren Johnston.
Three minutes later Rabs went in front when in-form striker Willie Sawyers collected a Chris Duff lay off before steading himself then sending a well- placed shot past Johnstone.
Nock missed an opportunity to draw level when Adam Hunter’s corner kick flashed across Rabs penalty area but found no takers.
Johnston was the busier of the two keepers; he did well to collect a Sawyers header under his crossbar then punched clear an inviting Lee Gallacher cross from his goalmouth.
As Nock attempted to haul themselves back into contention Rabs defender Scott Walker made a vital intervention to halt Scott McKenzie as he ran in on goal.
The Ayrshire side equalised in the 38th minute when a long clearance from defence was headed back to Michael McKinven by Buchanan but bounced over the keeper’s head, allowing the pursuing Calum McRobbie the simple task of heading the ball into the unguarded net.
Rabs regained their lead two minutes into the second half when Johnston spilled a Sawyers shot and it fell to Jordan McGuire to set up Gallacher to score with a clinical finish.
Ten minutes later Gallacher completed his double with another decisive counter to put his side 3-1 ahead.
Poor Rabs defending allowed Cumnock back into the contest two minutes later when Andrew Muir ran into the Rabs penalty box before setting up Paul Burns to fire past McKinven.
McKinven came to Rabs rescue in the 65th minute when he made a brave dive at the feet of McKenzie to prevent the striker from scoring a certain equaliser.
The hosts’ situation was made more difficult in the 72nd minute when Burns picked up his second booking for a handling offence and was sent off.
A fine save from Johnston prevented Gallacher’s, hat-trick tipping his netbound shot over the bar.
Rabs wrapped up the scoring and the points in the 81st minute when a long ball from Walker found Sawyers out on the right and his perfect cross was nodded home by substitute Kevin Watt.
A minute later Watt rattled Johnston’s crossbar with the keeper beaten.
Rabs then played out the remaining minutes with confidence to pick up all three points.