Albert lay home hoodoo to rest

New Hawick Royal Albert signings
New Hawick Royal Albert signings

THE champagne may not have been flowing and there was no sound of fireworks being set off, bugles being played or indeed any sort of fanfare.

However, come late Saturday afternoon, there was plenty to celebrate at Albert Park.

For after three seasons of defeats and occasional draws, Hawick Royal Albert finally recorded their first win on home soil.

With a reshuffled pack of players, Royalists boss Lawrie Dunn had produced the trump card in this bottom-of-the-table clash.

New-look Albert not only won, but won well, and came out of the game with a lot of credit.

Looking positive and determined, they appeared a side on a mission from the opening whistle.

Early probing attacks conjured up few chances and former Albert signing Scott Dowie, in the Ormiston goal, wasn’t put to the test. On the quarter-hour mark, however, he was called into action in pulling off a great save from Albert’s Andrew Maltman, who had broken through on his own.

Minutes later Liam Rodgers came close to breaking the deadlock after a good passing move involving man-of-the-match Maltman and Andy Noble.

Rodgers then returned the compliment as he set up Noble, but he was foiled by a Dowie save. The Ormiston stopper followed this up with another impressive stop in dealing with a Darrell Laing header from a Maltman cross.

The visitors were well and truly on the back foot and with 38 minutes gone they fell behind. Noble firing in a shot that slipped through the hands of Dowie and rolled into the net.

Within three minutes the homesters were two up. Switching from goal-scorer to goal-provider, Noble hit over a cross and Laing shot home.

On the stroke of half-time Malcolm Cooper almost stretched Royalists’ lead further with a long range effort that screamed over the bar.

Ormiston started the second period the stronger side and Albert keeper Paul Tansey – making his home debut – showed his mettle by saving from Sean Miller. Any hopes of a revival, however, were wiped out in the 53rd minute. John Johnstone handling inside the area and referee John Weir pointing to the spot before showing the Ormiston player a red card.

Rodgers took the penalty, but his effort was pushed away by Dowie, only for Laing to follow up and bury the rebound.

With the crowd well behind them, Royalists were on a high and only fine saves from Dowie prevented Bryan Tait and Maltman from scoring more goals.

At the other end, Tansey continued the high standard of goalkeeping when leaping to his left to finger-tip a Simon Heyes free-kick onto the post.

It was all the Albert and Dowie once again kept livewires Tait and Maltman at bay. Andy Jack also came close to boosting the Albert score when he drove in a shot that appeared net bound all the way until it was cleared by Ross Middleday.