Hawick Royal Albert spring surprise victory

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A new-look Hawick Royal Albert’s extremely encouraging performance away to Peebles Rovers led to a surprise victory for the visitors.

Royalists finished bottom of the East of Scotland First Division table last season. Peebles Rovers ended up top and there was a big gulf between the two sides back then.

However, there was no such gulf in Saturday’s East of Scotland League Cup season opener, and although it is very early in the season, this young Albert side gave a hint that better days could be ahead for a club that has had its lean times in past seasons.

Albert manager Mike Atai told the Hawick News: “On the East of Scotland League Pie and Bovril [website] nobody had given us a chance against Peebles and had written us off. Our coach Dean Shanks printed these comments out for our players and asked them to prove these people wrong. And the players did. I was really pleased with the result. We showed a lot of hunger and desire but I felt we could have controlled the game more.

“It was a good team performance, but during the league cup we will be making changes to the team and trying out different formations before the league starts.

Cameron MacFarlane had the ball in the net for the Albert Park men during the opening exchanges but his effort was chalked off for offside.

After Chris Taylor had blazed wide at the other end, Sam Campbell was off target with a header for Royalists from a Craig Robertson cross.

Both sides were pushing forward for a goal and home keeper Darren Walker pulled of a superb save in tipping a net-bound Robertson drive over the bar following good play by Gavin Pettigrew.

Albert number one Kyle Rankin then proved his worth with a magnificent stop by twisting himself in mid-air to push away a Taylor shot.

With time running out a no-scoring draw appeared to be on the cards. In the 88th minute, however, Royalists changed this.

After Jonathon Flockhart had cleared a Bobby Nwanze shot off the line, the ball broke to Ryan Stevenson who sprayed a pass to Robert Boyd who fired home for a last-gasp winner.

Royalists finished bottom of the East of Scotland First Division table last season. Peebles Rovers ended up top and there was a big gulf between the two sides back then.

However, there was no such gulf in Saturday’s East of Scotland League Cup season opener, and although it is very early in the season, this young Albert side gave a hint that better days could be ahead for a club that has had its lean times in past seasons.

Albert manager Mike Atai told the Hawick News: “On the East of Scotland League Pie and Bovril [website] nobody had given us a chance against Peebles and had written us off. Our coach Dean Shanks printed these comments out for our players and asked them to prove these people wrong. And the players did. I was really pleased with the result. We showed a lot of hunger and desire but I felt we could have controlled the game more.

“It was a good team performance, but during the league cup we will be making changes to the team and trying out different formations before the league starts.

Cameron MacFarlane had the ball in the net for the Albert Park men during the opening exchanges but his effort was chalked off for offside.

After Chris Taylor had blazed wide at the other end, Sam Campbell was off target with a header for Royalists from a Craig Robertson cross.

Both sides were pushing forward for a goal and home keeper Darren Walker pulled of a superb save in tipping a net-bound Robertson drive over the bar following good play by Gavin Pettigrew.

Albert number one Kyle Rankin then proved his worth with a magnificent stop by twisting himself in mid-air to push away a Taylor shot.

With time running out a no-scoring draw appeared to be on the cards. In the 88th minute, however, Royalists changed this.

After Jonathon Flockhart had cleared a Bobby Nwanze shot off the line, the ball broke to Ryan Stevenson who sprayed a pass to Robert Boyd who fired home for a last-gasp winner.