United’s late goal takes all three points from regenerated Royalists

Hawick Royal Albert 1

Kelso United 2

EoS FIRST DIVISION

JOHN SLORANCE reports from Albert Park

IT was the last game of the season for both sides in the lower half of the league, but this was far from a meaningless affair with a lot to play for – namely pride.

And it was Kelso who gained the bragging rights in a gritty hard-fought encounter in which the result could well have gone either way.

United manager Prof Blaikie told TheSouthern: “Our main problem this season is that we have been so inconsistent.

“However, we have finished well. It was a very competitive game but we deserved our win as I felt we had a little more in the locker than Hawick did.”

Kelso sailed into the lead in the seventh minute. Albert player/manager Lawrie Dunn fouled Aaron Swailes in the penalty box and referee John Weir awarded a penalty which Chris Tait tucked away.

Minutes later Dunn almost put the homesters on level terms when sending a header over the bar on meeting a Jay Paterek lay-off from a Paul Power corner kick. Then Hawick’s Andy Noble prodded a Danny May cross wide.

Back came Kelso and after being set up a Damien McNulty pass, Derek Burnett unleashed a thundering drive that Albert keeper Andy Jack finger-tipped over the bar.

Within minutes, Hawick were awarded a penalty of their own when Paterek was brought down by Jamie Swailes, but United keeper David Simmonds saved Kris O’Neil’s spot kick.

Early in the second period, Jack denied Kelso a second, tipping a raging Jordan Lauder angled drive against the upright.

And in the 54th minute, Albert equalised. From Power’s corner kick, O’Neil sold a perfect dummy for Noble to step in and thunder the ball high into the net.

After Lauder had twice come close to restoring United’s lead, the Tweedsiders struck again in the 83rd minute.

Taking advantage of a Dunn error, Aaron Swailes broke forward and fired in a shot that was pushed away by the driving Jack, but the lurking Derek Burnett was on hand to rattle in the loose ball for his 21st goal of the season.

Player/boss Dunn added: “I was very disappointed with the result as I thought it was a match we should have won as we played the better football and created the more chances.

“Kelso are a strong physical side and they played to their strengths and it was this that got them their win.”

Hawick Royal Albert: A. Jack, G. Burnett, D. May, L. Dunn, J. McGhie, P. Power (L. Rodgers), A. Noble, C. Beattie, J. Paterek, K. O’Neil, M. Patton (K. Paterson).

Kelso United: D. Simmonds, S. Tait, J. Mabon, S. Harker (M. Lockhart), D. McNulty, J. Swailes, (C. Webb), C. Tait, A. Swailes, D. Burnett, L. Wallace, J. Lauder.