Royalists somehow snatch defeat from jaws of victory

Hawick Royal Albert were two goals up and facing 10 men.

It should have been game all over but it wasn’t. Vale of Leithen saw to this by coming back from the dead to snatch a 4-3 victory that had looked well beyond them.

Vale took the lead in the seventh minute when Sean Stewart took advantage of a mistake between Hawick keeper Kyle Rankin and Daryl Johnson by latching onto a loose ball to slot in a shot.

With 19 minutes gone the Albert equalised.

Gavin Pettigrew hit over a cross and Josh Morris produced the scoring touch in finding the net with a powerful header.

Five minutes later Vale were reduced to 10 men –Stewart was shown a straight red card for upending Kris Mitchell.

Although a man down, Vale’s Keith McLeod had the ball in the net only for a goal to be chalked off for offside.

On the stroke of half time, Hawick edged ahead.

After finding space down the flank, Pettigrew swung over a low cross which was stuck away by Sean Conaghan.

In the early stages of the second period Pettigrew got his name on the scoresheet with a raging drive.

Vale came battling back and Rankin pulled off two excellent saves in a matter of minutes from Brendan Edwards and Blair Atkinson.

After Morris had squandered a great chance at the other end, Vale reduced the deficit.

Ryan Stevenson needlessly pushed Atkinson off the ball in the box and Liam McIntosh netted from the spot.

The Victoria Park side had their tails up and got on level pegging when Hawick defender Neil Smeaton put through his own goal in attempting to clear a McIntosh corner kick.

Further drama was to come for with two minutes remaining, McIntosh put victory the Vale’s way in banging in a second penalty.

Delighted Vale manager Chris Anderson said: “We might have had a bit of luck at the end but it was a great win for us. Although going down to 10 men, we pushed forward and attacked and we got our win because of this”.

Gutted Hawick team boss Dean Shanks said: “No excuses. The Vale wanted the game more than we did. I can accept defeat but not when you don’t put in application and effort”.