Hawick Royal Albert 2, Civil Service Strollers 5
They say it never rains but it pours, and this has certainly been the case for Hawick Royal Albert of late.
A week that began with a downpour, triggered by the shock resignations of the managerial team of Dean Shanks and Dean Robertson was followed with coaches Scott McKenzie and Alistair McVeigh quitting their
And the week ended in a deluge as Royalists suffered their third defeat in succession at a rain-soaked Albert Park.
With players Allan Walker and Chris Hughes temporarily in charge of team matters, the Albert fell behind in eight minutes by giving away a gift of a goal.
Goalkeeper Kyle Rankin hit a clearance against the incoming Craig Newall and the ball spun against the post. Newall followed up to touch in the rebound.
Minutes later, Strollers ‘keeper Stuart Burnside pulled off a magnificent save when finger-tipping a rasping Jon McInally free kick over the bar.
Josh Morris then came near to putting Royalists on level terms in driving a Kris Mitchell pass into the side netting.
With 28 minutes gone, an equaliser did arrive, though, and what a golden goal it was.
Latching on to a Devon Jacobs pass down the left flank, McInally nutmegged a defender and broke forward to beat Burnside with a tremendous shot from what appeared an impossible angle.
Civil Service came rallying back and Rankin made amends for his earlier bungling error in making excellent stops from David Churchill and Scott Clapperton, before the interval.
After Rankin had foiled Churchill in the opening attack of the second period, the Albert sailed ahead in the 48th minute.
Recent capture, 16-year-old Cameron Watson, fed Kris Mitchell, who found Morris with a neat flick on, and Royalists’ top goalscorer rattled a shot out of the reach of the helpless Burnside.
But the Albert’s lead was only to last two minutes. Slack defending after a free kick had landed in the box set up a chance for Matt Cunningham and the Strollers man took his opportunity well by shooting home.
This counter was to change the course of the game. Strollers began to gain the upper hand and Daryl Johnson denied the Edinburgh side a third in clearing a netbound Steven Froude effort off the goal line.
Rankin, in turn, saved brilliantly from Ian Ballantyne. The same player then found the net with a header, only for a goal to be chalked off for offside.
Just past the hour mark, Civil Service went ahead. Jack Downie drove in a free kick which took a deflection off the Albert defensive wall and sailed past Rankin.
Apart from Morris having a cracking drive pushed away by Burnside, Royalists were never in the hunt after this.
Civil Service ruled and stretched their lead with goals from Ballantyne and Cunningham.
Stand-in boss and recent signing Allan Walker, whose former clubs include Livingston, Raith Rovers and Berwick Rangers, reflected: “Along with Chris Hughes, I have been asked to help look after things until a new manager is found.
“Losing managers and coaches is something that will just have to be dealt with.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for us om Saturday. Had Civil Service not scored so quickly after we had taken the lead, it might have been a different story.
“Individual mistakes cost us the game and you just have to put it down to being a bad week for Hawick.”
Hawick Royal Albert – K. Rankin, J. McPartlin, D. Jacobs, D. Johnson, C. Watson, S. Meikle, H. Hunter, S. Conaghan, J. Morris, K. Mitchell, J. McInally. Subs: G. Pettigrew, K. Hughes, S. Spence.