Albert’s miserable season ends in familiar fashion

Hawick Royal Albert keeper Wullie Turner
Hawick Royal Albert keeper Wullie Turner

THE curtain came down on yet another desperately disappointing season for Hawick Royal Albert on Saturday.

This final outing saw the Albert take their latest drubbing and, had Leith Athletic made the most of the chances that fell their way, it could have been a lot more.

Lining up with Hawick Legion pair Craig McCutcheon and Peter Gellaitry in their ranks, plus Waverley’s Kevin McGaughey, as well as a trialist striker, Royalists almost found themselves a goal down in the second minute.

Newly promoted Leith, who are battling with Gretna 2008 for the First Division championship, launched a sweeping attack which ended in Jack Combe firing a Gary Black cross narrowly past the post.

Royalists then came close to breaking the deadlock when their trialist, who looked the part in what was an impressive debut, sent a header wide on meeting a long throw-in from Mark Deans.

Minutes later Athletic’s Darren Moonie headed a Jamie Burstow cross against the bar and shortly afterwards the Albert rode their luck again when Euan Campbell hit in a cross-cum-shot that sailed past a ruck of players before Alan Campbell cleared the ball off the line.

After Liam Lavery had seen his well-hit shot blocked by Steven Lynch at the other end, Leith opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Lynch broke down the right and hit over a cross that was tucked away by Combe.

A similar move down the same flank minutes later resulted in Athletic going further in front. Campbell this time supplying the finishing touch from a Gavin Tanish cross.

Royalists had their backs against the wall, but in a break-away move they almost pulled a goal back when teenage full-back Ryan Shepherd found Lavery with a spot-on cross. He then unleashed a rasping drive that Leith keeper John Falconer tipped over the bar.

Towards the interval, Athletic did the business once more when Robert Wood broke through, from what appeared to be an off-side position, to net.

Leith began the second half the same way they had ended the first, by scoring. And what a cracking goal it was, Burstow delivering the goods with a superbly-struck free-kick.

The woodwork then saved Royalists for the second time when Tanish hit over a cross and Darren Lavery blasted the ball against the upright.

Leith were pushing forward for more goals and Albert keeper Wullie Turner excelled in keeping out efforts from Turner and Lynch.

Five minutes from time, though, Burstow made it a nap hand for the Edinburgh outfit with a thundering long-range effort that gave Turner no chance.

Albert manager Mick Murphy told the Hawick News: “I thought we played some good football. In the first half we gave away two sloppy goals and I wasn’t happy with that.

“I was pleased with our discipline though because this has let us down in the last few games.

“It’s disappointing to be beaten by a big score, but I’m just glad this season is finished.

“It’s not been a good one for the Albert, but hopefully things will change next season.”