Hawick Royal Albert 0, Civil Service Strollers 5
It was a bleak, miserable day on Saturday and Hawick Royal Albert’s performance matched the elements.
In a dire performance, Royalists floundered to yet another defeat, as Civil Service Strollers ran the show and simply strolled to victory.
Without a Lowland League win in 18 outings, and having conceded 78 goals while netting only eight, the Albert are heading for relegation and a place in East of Scotland League football next season.
Civil Service came near to scoring in the first minute of the game when a cross-cum-shot from David Churchill drifted just past the far post.
Mark McConnell then had a chance to open the scoring, only to shoot straight at home keeper Craig Saunders.
Just past the 10-minute mark, however, a bigger opportunity fell Royalists’ way. After running on to a headed Lodovic Erhard lay-off, Curtis Rose was upended in the box by a Robbie Laird challenge.
It was a stonewall penalty – but there was no joy for the home men. Rose took the resultant spot kick, only to shoot wide of the target.
Strollers replied with a raid which ended in McConnell skimming the upright with a header, on meeting a Craig Newall cross.
In the 21st minute, however, Civil Service did open their account. On breaking down the right, Newall whipped a low cross over the face of the goalmouth, which Jack Hainey tucked away at the far post.
Playing some surprisingly good football on a heavy pitch, the visitors were having the bulk of the play.
Saunders, however, was in great form and kept the score down in pulling off excellent saves from Churchill, Matt Cunningham and Downie.
With seconds of the first half remaining, Strollers deservedly went further ahead when Downie netted a penalty, after McCall had been brought down by Jon Tully.
Ten minutes into the second period, another goal arrived. A slick passing move tore a gap in the Albert defence and James Hainey raced forward to place a shot out of the reach of Saunders.
Two minutes later, the Albert fell further behind. Hainey produced the scoring touch again in polishing off a darting run with a spot-on finish.
With Royalists struggling to make any kind of impact, Civil Service were running the show and McConnell had an effort well saved by Saunders.
Substitute Steven Froude then fired a shot against the post, with the ball rebounding into the hands of the grounded Saunders.
Civil Service continued to push forward and it was simply one-way traffic. After further chances had gone astray, Froude rubbed further salt in the Albert’s wounds by notching a fifth three minutes from time.
Hawick coach Andy Gibson said: “Having won two friendly games in a few days, as well as having scored 10 goals, we went into the match with great optimism. Indeed, we started off well and had a great chance to take the lead with a penalty. We failed to put this away and this was a real blow.
“We then got another kick in the teeth just on half time when we lost a goal through a soft penalty.
“After half time, we lost two quick goals and heads went down after this. You can’t argue with the result – we were well beaten at the finish.”