Hawick Royal Albert 0, Sauchie 4
It was the first round of the King Cup – but it was not to be a royal occasion for Hawick Royal Albert.
Royalists floundered to an early exit in being outgunned by former junior side Sauchie, who were paying their first visit to Albert Park.
It was the Albert’s seventh defeat on the bounce and also their seventh game without scoring a goal, with 30 now conceded in that time.
Another sad chapter in a sad tale of Hawick’s poor season had been written.
Sauchie came near to scoring with just three minutes of the game gone.
Ant McTaggart drove in a shot which was blocked by Michael Johnston and the rebound broke to the feet of Darren Cummings who fired inches wide.
Cummings then fluffed a chance to break the deadlock when shooting tamely at Hawick keeper Craig Saunders, on being set up by a Craig Donaldson cross.
With 16 minutes gone, the visitors took the lead. Donaldson emerged as their marksman in netting from close range, after Saunders had pushed away a McTaggart shot.
Minutes later, Saunders did well to keep his goal intact when finger-tipping a Connor Langton drive round the post.
For the remainder of the first period, Sauchie had loads of possession but failed to turn this into goals.
Early in the second period, Cummings had the ball in the net for the Clackmannanshire men, only to be pulled up for offside.
With Hawick on the back foot, Sauchie continued to push forward. Cumming and Ian Diack were both denied strikes by top-notch stops from Saunders in rapid succession.
In the 68th minute, however, Stevie Dolan got his name on the scoresheet. Connor Langton then came near to notching a third with a well struck angled drive which cannoned off the upright.
In the 78th minute, David Cross put struggling Hawick into further arrears byslotting away a penalty.
In a rare attack at the other end, Dom Pacitti had a chance to reduce the leeway when in the clear, only to finish poorly.
Just after this, the hosts had an even greater opportunity to pull a goal back on being awarded a penalty after Josh Neil had been brought down in full flight, attempting to round Sauchie keeper Cameron Cairney following a dash through the middle.
There was to be no joy for the Albert, though, as Johnston’s spot kick was kept out by Cairney.
Two minutes into injury time, Sauchie rubbed further salt in Hawick wounds as Donaldson whipped a low cross over the face of the goalmouth and it was buried by Langton.
Albert team boss Paul McGovern said: “We played well enough in the first half and were in the game right up to half time.
“In the second half, though, we made mistakes and got punished for them, and it ended up being a disappointing result for us.”