New Royal Albert signing Alieu Faye said there would be more goals to come – and the big striker duly delivered with a hat-trick at Woodside Park on Saturday.
Following his double in a pre-season friendly against Hawick United, Faye commented that he would definitely find the net more often for Royalists, and this East of Scotland League Cup first round tie saw the hitman live up to his words.
The Albert’s triumph, however, was not all about Faye’s treble, it was all about a good all-round Albert team performance.
A performance in which Royalists looked positive and organised as well as producing some flowing football in what turned out to be a keenly-fought Borders derby clash.
Expressing his thoughts on his side’s showing, Albert manager Mike Atai told the Hawick News: “It’s always good to get a win away from home, especially when you score five goals.
“We knocked the ball about well at times but I thought we could have bossed the game a bit more and this is something we’ll be working on.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we lost a goal but overall the team played well. There is room for improvement, though.”
With the winners set to meet Lowland League outfit Spartans away from home in the second round of the competition, the game got off to a lively start and with nine minutes gone, the Albert opened the scoring.
Faye grabbing the first of his threesome when slotting home a shot after Kelso keeper Willie Stewart had blocked a Cameron MacFarlane effort.
On the quarter-hour mark, the Albert Park men extended their lead. After ghostinh his way through the Kelso defence with a weaving run, MacFarlane was upended in the box by Ryan Beveridge. It was a clear-cut penalty and Faye netted from the spot.
The Tweedsiders replied with a spell of pressure and Robert Boyd came to Royalists’ aid in clearing a Ben Herdman shot off the line, before Ewan Hutchison saw an effort cannon of the bar.
In the 44th minute, the Albert Park outfit regained the initiative, putting Kelso into further arrears. The impressive MacFarlane threading a pass into the path of Faye who completed his hat-trick with a spot -on finish.
With two minutes of the second half gone, United pulled a goal back. With the Albert rearguard caught on the hop, Kyle Blaikie latched onto a long ball from the back, before racing forward and finding the net with a glorious shot.
The 60th minute saw Royalists get back on track again. On breaking down the left, Stewart Crozier whipped over a low cross which MacFarlane stuck away with great precision.
Following a spell of lively play, Kelso were reduced to ten men when Blaikie was ordered off after picking up a second yellow card.
Within minutes of this. Kyle’s father, Kelso team boss ‘Prof’ Blaikie, a former Albert manager. was dismissed from the dugout by the referee for directing remarks towards the official.
Royalists followed this up by netting a fifth. In a well-worked move, Crozier tapped a corner-kick to Gavin Pettigrew who caught Kelso cold by darting inside to drive an angled shot into the far corner of the net.
Minutes from time, the Albert had a golden opportunity to add to their tally when awarded a penalty. Faye’s shot was pushed away by the diving Stewart. The ball broke back to Faye but the frontman failed to cash in by scooping a shot well over the bar.
Hawick Royal Albert: K. Rankin, C. Robertson, S. Crozier, S. McKenzie, R. Boyd, D. Linton, G. Pettigrew, F. Lockhart, A. Faye, B. Wales, C. MacFarlane. Subs: M. Lynch, S. Campbell, L. Mitchell, B. Nwanze, A. McKay.