Hawick Royal Albert 0
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Albert Park
IT seemed the script had been written, albeit by referee Paul Hanlon rather than Steven Spielberg.
In his first match in charge of Hawick Royal Albert, Lawrie Dunn and his team were left with a significant numerical advantage after Hanlon sent off two Duns players before half-time under the Albert Park floodlights.
Surely, the Royalists would claim their first win of the season.
It was not to be, however, in a twist that Spielberg would not have even contemplated.
Speaking to TheSouthern afterwards, Dunn said: “We have got to learn to keep the ball rather than punt it long as we were at times tonight.
“The only good ball created was our best chance for Mark Deans when he rounded the keeper.
“I noticed the guys were down in the dumps when I came here and it maybe is a lack of confidence that is the problem.
“But they kept trying and trying tonight and it was frustrating that we didn’t get the equaliser.”
A decent Albert Park crowd watched Dunn’s debut, with the manager dusting off his boots to start the match in central midfield against a side who had destroyed Hawick 10-0 in the reverse match a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately the football was not of Hollywood standard, with whistler Hanlon dishing out nine cards in total.
Duns’ James Brydon almost opened the scoring in the second minute, but his curling 20yd effort was well saved by Chris Anderson.
Andrew Maltman’s free kick was deflected just past Duns keeper Mark Dixon’s goal by Hawick team-mate Mark Deans on seven minutes before Luke Cooper almost capitalised on a poor header by Dougie Brydon.
But Duns looked the slicker team throughout and earned a penalty in the 27th minute when Craig Wilson chopped down Jamie Lackenby inside the Hawick box, allowing James Brydon to score from the spot.
Two minutes later, Lackenby’s sliding challenge on Malcolm Cooper was deemed dangerous by whistler Hanlon and the left back was shown a straight red card.
It was possibly a slightly harsh, but certainly an inconsistent,decisionconsidering Hawick’s Darrell Laing had earlier committed a tackle arguably more dangerous on Dougie Brydon, but escaped with a booking.
Laing almost made a positive impact in the 35th minute when his 20yd volley from a Maltman corner flew just over Dixon’s crossbar.
But Des Chisholm should have doubled the visitors’ lead on 41 minutes when played clean through, only to curl the ball wide.
Just 60 seconds later, Andrew Douglas produced a clumsy challenge on Maltman and the referee showed the 18-year-old midfielder no leniency by producing a second yellow card, much to the fury of Duns boss Neil Oliver.
Despite being two men short, Duns created the best chances of a poor second half, with Anderson having to be alert to stop Dougie Brydon’s header.
But Hawick’s big opportunity came 16 minutes from time when Deans beat the onrushing Dixon to the ball, but with the goal seemingly unguarded, he decided to pass to Laing, who was denied by retreating Duns captain Gary Renton.
Unsurprisingly, visitors’ manager Oliver did not give whistler Hanlon a five-star rating at full time.
He said: “I think one of them (Lackenby) was a sending off as it was a poor tackle, but they had made plenty similar challenges prior to that and he (the referee) only spoke to them.
“I don’t mind when the referee treats both teams the same, but it is when he treats one differently from another which annoys me.
“When I go to watch football games I go to watch 11 vs 11 and I think the referee should be trying his hardest to keep all the players on the park.
“It was almost as if he went out there to try and reduce the numbers. It is not about him, it is about the two teams on the park.”
Hawick RA: C. Anderson, C. Wilson, D. Stuart (K. McGaughey 60), M. Cooper, C. Batten, B. Tait, A. Maltman, L. Dunn, M. Deans (S. Drummond 76), D. Laing, L. Cooper.