The sun was out, the Albert Park playing surface was top notch and conditions were perfect for playing good football and Hawick Royal Albert certainly conjured up the latter in a 3-0 win over Preston Athletic.
Searching for their first win in five games, the Albert sprayed the ball about well, produced some adventurous play and dominated the game in the process.
In front of goal however Royalists flopped. Chances were missed by the barrow load.
In the first period in particular the home outfit failed miserably in being unable to find the net despite having had the bulk of the play and creating chances galore.
At the end of the 90 minutes the Albert however got the win they were chasing but my goodness they sure made it difficult for themselves.
Royalists opened with a flurry and Josh Morris, last season’s top scorer and normally so sharp in front of goal fluffed two opportunities in the opening minutes.
The remainder of the first half was to follow the same route. Preston were on the back foot. Royalists launched attack after attack but due to being kept at bay by some excellent Bruce Callan saves and sheer slipshod finishing just could not score.
In the 38th minute Athletic were reduced to ten men.
Darryl Wilson scythed down Kris Mitchell with a lunging challenge.
For some bizarre reason Ross Colquhoun, who had not been involved in the clash decided to kick the ball against the head of the injured Mitchell who was grounded.
The Preston pair were duly booked by referee Adam Hogg. Colquhoun, however, then made remarks towards the Edinburgh whistler and was duly shown a second yellow card.
After Callan had denied James McPartlin a strike at the start of the second period, a goal at long last came about in the 62nd minute.
Morris finding the net with a glancing header on meeting a Ryan Stevenson cross.
Preston remainder under the cosh and held out until the 79th minute before falling further behind.
McPartlin, who had worked tirelessly throughout was fed by a Mitchell pass and thundered home a shot.
Four minutes later the Albert went three up.
A floating McPartlin cross found new signing Hamish Hunter who had come off the bench to make his debut and Hunter showed he was a super sub. by darting inside to tuck a shot out of the each of the helpless Callan.
Albert assistant manager Dean Robertson said of the game, “It was important that we got a win and we managed to do this. Our game plan went well and we were on top throughout but we missed a lot of chances. However, we finished well with two late goals”.
Royal Albert: K Rankin, R Stevenson, N Smeaton, D Johnson, E Sanderson, S Conaghan, G Pettigrew, J McPartlin, J Morris, K Mitchell, J McInally. Subs: H Hunter, C Robertson, R Boyd, J Begbie.