IN a game in which neither side hit the high spots, Hawick Royal Albert’s long run of home defeats continued at a sun-kissed Albert Park.
Fielding Hawick Legion’s Luke Cooper as a trialist in their attack, Royalists matched Easthouses in the first half. In the second period, however, it was a different story as the Albert dropped down a gear or two and Lily stepped in to take the honours.
Easthouses almost opened the scoring with a sweeping move. After gathering a spot-on Kyle Baffle pass, Brian Curran found space down the flank before whipping over a cross that Stuart Love thundered against the bar.
Liam Lavery was then just off target at the other end with a well-struck drive on meeting a Mark Deans lay-off.
Back came Lily and after Willie Turner had touched a deceptive Curran cross against the bar, Ross Gaylor had a chance to break the deadlock on meeting the rebound, but produced a rash finish. Then Lavery, who impressed throughout, caused Lily concern by weaving his way out of two tackles and chipping a shot on to the top of the net.
With half an hour gone the Albert lost the services of Luke Cooper due to a knee injury, with Jory Robertson coming on as a substitute. Easthouses had the edge in the remaining minutes of the first half with Gaylor and Neil Malone both coming close.
Minutes into the second half the Albert were kept at bay by a splendid save from Young, who pushed a netbound Lavery header over the bar.
This was followed by a spell of pressure during which Malcolm Cooper came to the Albert’s rescue in clearing a Baffle shot off the line and Gaylor rattled a shot against the bar. In the 56th minute, however, Gaylor opened the scoring in nodding home a well-flighted Curran cross.
Two minutes later Easthouses hit the bar for the fourth time through a raging Baffle drive.
However, a goal was only delayed, for a minute later Lily stretched their lead. From a Curran pass, Baffle fired in a shot that should have been easily dealt with by Albert keeper Turner, but he got it all wrong and the ball rolled under him and into the back of the net.
In the next attack, Lavery was unfortunate when he beat Young with a shot, only to see his effort cannon off the bar.
Within minutes, the Albert were reduced to 10 men. Gaylor was grounded by an Alan Campbell tackle inside the box, although the Royalists full-back appeared to have won the ball. Edinburgh referee Michael Scott, however, not only awarded a penalty, but also dismissed Campbell. Justice was done, though, as Turner made up for his earlier blunder by saving Gaylor’s spot kick.
But seven minutes from time, Gaylor redeemed himself by completing the scoring.
Albert coach Davie Aitkin told the Hawick News: “In the first half we were as good as Easthouses. We had created chances and we were playing quite well. After half-time though we lost two bad goals and that was the end of it for us.”