A spirited second-half performance by Royalists failed to produce the goals needed to keep them in the hunt in Saturday’s Scottish Cup first round tie.
During the opening 45 minutes, Hawick were outgunned by Highland League outfit Huntly. However, it was a different story in the second period as the homesters put on a much-improved show.
The Albert’s efforts were to be in vain, though, and they could not repair the damage caused in that fateful opening period.
Huntly got off to a flying start by taking the lead in the 12th minute. Gary McNamee met a Craig Dorrat free-kick on the drop and his well-struck effort whistled past Albert keeper Kyle Rankin.
After Rankin had impressed in spreading himself to block a James Duguid effort, Huntly went further ahead with 25 minutes gone. Finding space down the right, David Booth worked his way inside and with the home defence at sixes and sevens, hit in a low shot that ended up in the back of the net after glancing off the back post.
Minutes later, Rankin prevented the Highlanders from going even further ahead when palming away a Booth shot that had looked a goal all the way.
After Rankin had put up the shutters again with an excellent stop from Duguid, Huntly keeper Fraser Hobday saw his first serious piece of action when dealing with a Stewart Crozier free-kick.
Lining up with substitute goalkeeper Andy Mackay in between the posts for the injured Rankin, the Albert began the second half in determined fashion. On being set up by a Ryan Stevenson pass, Gavin Pettigrew fluffed a scoring opportunity, before Murray McCulloch came to Huntly’s aid by clearing a Robert Boyd net-bound header off the goal-line from a Blake Wales free-kick.
Playing with new-found confidence, Royalists then came near to pulling a goal back when Mark McEwen powered a Craig Robertson free-kick narrowly over the bar with his head.
The Albert were doing the bulk of the attacking but Huntly were strong at the back and giving nothing away.
With two minutes remaining a goal did arrive but it was at the other end. In a sweeping breakaway raid, Booth burst through on his own to fire past Mackay.
Reflecting on his side’s display, Albert manager Dean Shanks told the Hawick News: “It was a big day for us and the players were a bit nervous in the first half. This showed and we lost an early goal and then another goal not long afterwards. Huntly took their goals well but we should have prevented them. In the second half we started to compete. We just had to go for it, which we did and we had some chances”.
Hawick Royal Albert: K. Rankin, C. Robertson, S. Spence, R. Boyd, M. McEwen, D. Linton, R. Stevenson, S. Crozier, A. Faye, B. Wales, G. Pettigrew. Subs: A. Mackay, S. McKenzie, G. Shillinglaw, L. Mitchell, S. Campbell, F. Lockhart, B. Nwanze.