John Cunningham scored his first Clydebank hat-trick as Bankies edged out Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 3-1 on Monday evening.
The on-loan Alloa man opened the scoring before Rob Roy equalised from the spot, but a second half double from the 20-year-old saw Bankies secure three successive home league wins.
Bankies boss Kieran McAnespie made three changes from the side that beat Kilbirnie, with Cunningham, Watt and Pearson all recalled while Vezza, Alexander and McClair dropped to the bench.
Bankies started on the front foot and it paid off when the home side broke the deadlock after just seven minutes. Pearson released Watt down the right wing, who delivered an inch perfect cross for Cunningham who powered a header home from six yards.
Despite the positive start, Rob Roy came into their own for much of the second half – with goalkeeper Marc Waters pulling off a series of fine saves to keep it level.
Jamie Darroch – who made several vital blocks throughout the game – then put his body on the line to deflect a goal bound effort before Waters was called into action, tipping Kevin Watt’s effort over.
But after 22 minutes, the visitors were awarded a penalty after Chris Dooley was penalised inside the area. Gary Carroll assumed responsibility and Waters was unable to make it three saves of three when he was sent the wrong way.
The Rabs began the second half in a similar style but Bankies broke when Ross Forsyth stepped out of defence with a deft drag and burst forward. The experienced defender played a wonderful defence splitting pass into the path of Cunningham, who took a touch before coolly slotting past McKinven.
Bankies began to grow in confidence and were given a boost when Rob Roy were reduced to ten men just after the hour mark when Gary McCulloch was shown a straight red card for an over-the-ball challenge on Ryan Deas on the right touchline.
The Rabs weren’t out of it, though, and tested Waters on several occasions. First, Daniel O’Halloran’s long range effort stung his palms before Carroll almost grabbed his second but skewed his effort wide of the post.
And with twelve minutes remaining, Bankies made the man advantage count as Cunningham completed his hat trick. Latching on to a break of the ball down the right, he comfortably shrugged off two defenders before passing the ball into the bottom corner.
The win puts Bankies stay in eighth spot on 17 points, with another two wins likely to be enough to secure Super Premier Division safety.
Next up for Bankies is the Central League Cup second round tie away to East Kilbride Thistle on Wednesday night, kick off at Showpark is 6:46pm.