Berwick Rangers 2
Hawick Royal Albert 3
There might not have been singing and dancing in the streets but late Saturday afternoon, Hawick Royal Albert players were certainly singing and dancing on the pastures of Shielfield Park, Berwick.
Hawick had every reason to be celebrating as they had made history in making the third round of the Scottish Cup for the first time through a memorable and somewhat unexpected win.
Royalists got off to a dream start by scoring twice in the opening ten minutes.
Goal number one arrived with three minutes gone.
Rangers goalkeeper Kevin Walker hit a clearance against team mate Robert Wilson.
The ball then broke to the feet of Josh Morris who showed great composure in making full use of a chance by tucking a shot into the net.
After Jordan Orru had headed a Graeme Beveridge cross wide at the other end, the Albert stretched their lead in the 10th minute.
Finding space down the right, former Ipswich Town signing Sean Meikle darted forward to whip a low cross over the face of the goalmouth which was slotted away by the ever ready Morris
Play continued at a quicksilver pace and in the 14th minute Berwick reduced the leeway.
A cross field ball from Orru found Beveridge who sprayed a pass into the path of Michael McKenna and the home striker polished off a good move in firing past Albert number one Kyle Rankin.
As the game progressed Berwick began to have the edge and Darren Lavery and Jordyn Sheerin both squandered scoring opportunities.
Royalists were dangerous on the break though and with 38 minutes on the clock stunned the home side by edging further in front.
On breaking down the left, Shaun Spence sent ex-Berwick man Morris scampering forward with a long searching pass.
The Albert’s top goal scorer for the season then weaved inside and from a tight angle slipped a shot past Walker to complete his hat trick.
Just on half time, Sheerin squandered a great opportunity.
Royalists began the second period brightly and James McPartlin came near to getting his name on the score sheet.
Berwick came rallying back and Rankin excelled in pulling off splendid stops from Lavery and McKenna in rapid succession.
In the 67th minute however substitute Greg Rutherford did the business for the Black and Golds when powering in a Lavery cross with his head and it was game well and truly on.
Chasing an equaliser, Rangers began to push forward at every opportunity.
A resolute Albert defence was digging in deep and giving nothing away though. Frustration was spreading through the Berwick ranks as they pushed and probed and any chances being created were being ruined by erratic finishing.
Royalists were rarely being seen as an attacking force but in a sweeping raid, Hamish Hunter burst inside from the flank to fire in a shot that forced Walker into making a diving save.
Minutes later the final whistle went and Royal Albert were in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Albert assistant manager Dean Robertson said of his side’s memorable victory: “It was a fantastic win for us and a brilliant day for the club.
“Although Berwick are a league above us we felt we could be a danger to them if we pushed forward as we are dangerous up front, but we never expected to get off to such a great start by scoring twice in the opening ten minutes.
“We ended up having to defend a lot but we defended well.
“At times we rode our luck but that’s what football is all about and Hawick are in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
“Josh Morris scored a great hat trick but every player in the side was brilliant. They are a great bunch of lads who enjoy their football and a win like this means a lot to them.
Royal Albert: K Rankin, R Stevenson, S Spence, D Johnson, E Saunderson, S Conaghan, J McPartlin, S Meikle, J Morris, J McInally, H Hunter. Subs:- R Boyd, G Petttigrew, D Darling, R Crease. Sub GK:- K Brown.