Royalists take bragging rights in historic derby

Gala's Taylor Hope heads clear another Hawick cross
Gala's Taylor Hope heads clear another Hawick cross
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Hawick Royal Albert 4

Gala Fairydean Rovers 1

It may have lacked the passion and drama of derby duels of the past featuring the two old rivals.

But this first Lowland League meeting between the Border sides certainly had its talking points and they all arrived in a colourful second half which was the complete opposite of a bleak opening 45 minutes.

Gala came near to scoring with just two minutes gone when Ross Aitchison blazed a shot over the bar following a Dean McColm corner kick.

This promising start was to fizzle out though as the remainder of the first half was pretty dire.

Josh Morris had a great opportunity to put Hawick ahead with a penalty after James McPartlin had been brought down by Billy Miller in the box.

The Albert’s leading goalscorer, however, fired well wide from the spot.

Gala were looking the more business-like of the two struggling sides and with 31 minutes gone opened the scoring.

On being put through by a spot-on David Bonnar pass, Stuart Noble kept his composure by racing in to fire past Kyle Rankin.

Just on half-time, Gala keeper Kieran Wright denied the Albert an equaliser in blocking a Morris shot with his foot.

Minutes into the second period Wright excelled again when tipping a Ryan Stevenson effort over the bar.

A goal was only delayed for in the 53rd minute the home side got on level terms.

The Fairydean defence only partially cleared a long throw in and the ball broke to the feet of Daryl Johnson, who found the roof of the net with a glorious drive.

After Gala team boss Steven Noble had been sent from the dugout to the stand for apparently making remarks towards the linesman, Gala received an even bigger blow when they were reduced to 10 men.

Scott Main was given his marching orders after getting a second yellow card following an off-the-ball clash with Johnson.

After Albert defender Robert Boyd had cleared a Miller free kick off the goal line, Gala fell behind in the 75th minute when Morris rounded Wright to shoot home.

This was to be the beginning of the end for Fairydean.

Stepping up their game, Hawick went further ahead, Morris beating Wright with a shot from what appeared to be an impossible angle.

Seconds from time Morris brought an end to the scoring as well as completing the scoring in making no mistake with a penalty.

Expressing his thoughts on the game, Albert’s golden goal man Johnson said: “We were poor in the first half and got told this in the dressing room at half-time in no uncertain terms and this was the kick up the backside we needed.

“In the second half we flew out of the traps right from the start, played well and got a great result.

“I was very happy with my goal. It was a sweet strike and it just flew in”.

Gutted Gala manager Noble said: “I thought we had the better of what was a poor first half.

“Hawick came out a different team in the second half and scored a great equaliser.

“We then went down to ten and had to change our for
mation to playing three at 
the back and got punished for this.

“Hawick deserved their win but I was disappointed with our performance.”