Hawick Royal Albert 0
EoS FIRST DIVISION
JOHN SLORANCE reports from St Mark’s Park
ONE side was second bottom in the league table, the other second top.
At a windswept St Mark’s Park on Saturday, however, there was not such a big gap. Lowly Hawick Royal Albert saw to this by giving high-ranking Craigroyston a run for their money in a game that conjured up some good football despite the blustery conditions.
A late goal clinched victory for the city men, as well as shattering a much-improved Hawick outfit that had deserved to take something out of the match.
Albert manager Lawrie Dunn, told TheSouthern: “A few games ago we would have been quite happy to have just lost 2-0 against one of the best teams in the league. After today’s match, however, our heads were down after being beaten, which shows how much we have come on.
“We were very unlucky to lose. In the first half when playing into the wind, I felt we played very well as we closed Craigroyston down completely. In the second half I was a bit disappointed, though, as we did not use the ball well enough and should have created more chances. Our attitude was very good, though, and we are definitely improving.”
With a strong swirling wind at their backs, Craigroyston set the early pace. Hawick, however, were defending well and the homesters never looked like scoring until after the quarter-hour mark, when Martin Laidlaw blazed a Steven Mullen pass over the bar.
After Craigroyston keeper Stuart Addison had made the first save of the day, keeping out an Andy Noble effort, Albert number one Paul Tansey proved his worth with a fine stop from Mullen.
Although moving the ball about well, Craigie were failing to dent a well-organised, sound Hawick rearguard, until a lapse by the Albert Park outfit resulted in the deadlock being broken in the 32nd minute. After Dunn had lost possession in midfield, Craigroyston swept into an attack which ended with Mullen driving a shot high into the net.
Following the interval, the pattern of the game began to change and, with the elements in their favour, the Albert began to gain the upper hand. Darrell Laing rifled a shot over the bar following a thrusting run and Craig Beattie then found space through the middle before hitting in a shot that was blocked by Addison. The rebound broke to the feet of Bryan Tait, who sent an effort past the target.
Craigroyston were now well and truly on the back foot, but in a breakaway raid almost stretched their lead. Substitute Johny Herd got his head to a well-flighted Laidlaw cross and a goal appeared to be on the cards until Tansey produced a magnificent one-handed save.
Minutes later, Craigroyston were awarded a penalty after Herd had been brought down by Malcolm Cooper. Michael Stewart rattled the upright with the resultant spot kick.
Battling Hawick were pushing hard for an equaliser and Noble almost obliged with a well-struck free kick. With three minutes remaining, however, the Teries were sent reeling when Craigroyston scored again – Kenny Manson driving home a Laidlaw cross.
Hawick Royal Albert: P. Tansey, M. Cooper, C. Wilson, L. Dunn (C. Robb), S. Duff, B. Tait, D. Laing, C. Beattie, L. Rodgers (A. Jack), A. Noble, L. Cooper.