Premier performance shows promise for Hawick Royal Albert

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Royal Albert showed they could hold their own amongst the big boys on Saturday when coming up against Edinburgh University in the League Cup, writes John Slorance.

With both sides pushing forward, the early pace was lively and Hawick were denied a goal when University keeper Scott Hainey pulled out the stops with a superb save, tipping a Peter Keenan header round the post from a Nicky Cairns corner kick.

Albert number one Dean Fry then proved his worth at the other end, saving in style from Ross Patterson.

Chances in turn fell to both sides, but none were tucked away, and the first half had a nil-nil look about it until the students broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute.

Calum Murray doing the business, cashing in on an Albert defensive mix-up.

Two minutes later, Cairns put the home men on level terms, finding the net with a free kick.

With 52 minutes gone, the Students regained their lead.

On meeting a Paul Sutherland free kick, George Nikulaidis powered in a header which was pushed out by Fry and the rebound broke to the feet of Murray, who scored from close range.

After Keenan and Kevin Strathdee came close to snatching an equaliser, the University went further ahead in the 68th minute, when a Jack Guthrie drive whistled into the net following a deflection.

The students were reduced to 10 men not long after this, Stuart McFarlance being dismissed by referee Paul Hanlon for a second bookable offence.

In the 85th minute, Murray put Hawick into further arrears, nodding home a Nikulaidis free kick.

The Albert, however, had the last say, when Andy Noble rifled a shot into the net after Michael Smith drove a Michael McFerrin shot against the upright.

Albert defender Kevin Fettes said of the game: “The University are a Premier Division side, but we more than matched them.

“However, the rub of the green never went our way.”