Albert lose early lead

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Hawick Royal Albert 1

Craigroyston 2

EoS FIRST DIVISION

JOHN SLORANCE reports from Albert Park

IT WAS bright and breezy on Saturday and the game matched the elements.

Both sides had their moments, played good crisp football and it was an entertaining tussle.

Royal Albert, however, once again ended up on the wrong end of the result, but boss Mick Murphy was quite upbeat and told TheSouthern: “I thought we deserved to take something out of the game and I was very pleased with the way we played, especially in the first 20 minutes of the second half which we completely dominated. Okay, we might have nothing to show for it, but the players proved that they are capable of doing a job.”

Albert drew first blood by sailing into the lead in the ninth minute. Ross Wallace hurled a throw high into the goalmouth which was headed away by Paul Russell – only as far as Liam Lavery who unleashed a rasping drive that zipped into the net.

Lavery scored again minutes later with a curling free kick that Craigroyston keeper Stewart Addison did well to save.

With 20 minutes gone, Craigie drew level when Steven Manson tucked a Russell pass out of the reach of Albert’s schoolboy keeper Bruce Connelly.

In the 22nd minute, the capital men took the lead. Steven Finalyson hit a cross over from the right and Greg Irvine stepped in to fire home.

Back came Royalists and Addison denied Albert an equaliser, spreading himself to block an Allan Campbell shot, after the Hawick midfielder latched onto a defence splitting through-ball from Malcolm Cooper.

After Lavery went close with another free kick, Connelly pulled out the stops with an excellent save, pushing an Uboug Umotong header round the post.

With substitute trialist keeper Willie Turner, a onetime Albert and Peebles number one replacing Connelly in the second half, Royalists opened strongly and Owens headed a Lavery corner over the bar. The homesters continued to push forward and Campbell and Owens bothcame close to getting their names on the scoresheet. Although under siege, Craigroyston were giving nothing away at the back.

Craigie began to gain the upper hand as Royalists tired. On gathering a Kyle Hay pass, Umotong’s shot was cleared off the goal line by Craig Wilson. Minutes later Umotong had the goal at his mercy, but shot against the post.

Hawick Royal Albert: B. Connelly (W. Turner), M. Cooper, R. Shepherd, C. Wilson, C. Sharkey, S. Fraser, A. Campbell (J. Robertson), R. Wallace, S. Owens, M. Deans, L. Lavery.