Royalists are sent reeling by Streamers

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THERE may have been many changes made at Albert Park since these two sides last met several weeks ago, but the result was all too familiar.

Without key players Roddy McConnell, Peter Gellaitry, Chris Batten and Malcolm Cooper, Royalists went down, although at least they went down fighting.

Facing a good footballing Coldstream side, the Albert were up against it from the start.

Lawrie Dunn’s men, however, despite being hit for five, did surprisingly well, especially in the opening period of the game.

With four trialists in their ranks, including former Waverley man Andy King, the Albert were the first to look like scoring.

Newcomer Gary Watson, however, miscued a shot after a passing move involving Luke Cooper and Liam Rodgers had torn a gap in the Coldstream rearguard. Rodgers was then just off target with a header from an Andrew Maltman cross.

Royalists continued to show the early promise and Dunn had a long range effort diverted round the post by Paul Cowe.

It was looking good for the Albert at this stage, but in the 14th minute it started to go wrong as Coldstream sailed into the lead when Kris O’Neil bulleted a Josh McLeod cross into the net with his head. This breakaway goal stunned Royalists. Five minutes later, though, worse was to follow. Josh Crawford hit a low cross over the face of the goal, which was tucked away by Jake Rutherford at the far post. Soon after this the woodwork robbed the hosts of a third when Crawford hit the bar with a raging shot from a Mark Bolton corner.

After home keeper Mark Walters had denied King, Crawford fluffed a great chance at the other end as he shot wide of an empty goal.

Coldstream ruled the rest of the first half, but with Royalists defending well, they couldn’t add to their tally, although Rutherford drove a Craig Heugh cutback against the post.

After the changeover the Albert opened in determined fashion and Walters had to be at his best to push a well-struck Cooper free kick round the post.

In the 57th minute, however, Coldstream struck again when Crawford nodded a Rutherford cross past Chris Anderson.

The Streamers were in the driving seat and King had to be called on to clear a net-bound O’Neil shot off the line.

With 68 minutes gone, though, Coldstream grabbed a fourth courtesy of a spot-on finish from Crawford. And minutes later he completed his hat-trick.

This was to bring an end to the scoring, but not the action , for in the closing stages Royalists were to be reduced to nine men.Maltman was first to go for a second bookable offence and Cooper followed him after a straight red for a rash challenge.