Spirited Albert beat high-flying Spartans


Two top-notch goals from Josh Morris saw battling Royal Albert upset the applecart in Saturday’s East of Scotland Leage encounter.

Royalists had a formidable task on their hands in taking on second-placed Spartans on their 3G pitch at Ainslie Park, but Dean Shanks’ men simply rolled up their sleeves, dug in deep, played some good football and duly got their rewards.

With a gusty, swirling wind behind them, the Albert made the running for the opening quarter-of-an-hour of the game.

However, despite several promising attacks, few scoring opportunities were being conjured up and the Spartans defence coped with anything that came their way.

The hosts gradually began to make their presence fel and after Blair Atkinson had fired wide when in the clear, Albert keeper Kyle Rankin denied the home side an opener in pulling off an excellent save from a Chris Anderson header.

Spartans were to remain on top for the rest of the first half, but despite having the bulk of the play, the Edinburgh outfit’s search for goals was to hit a brick wall in the form of a rock-solid Albert defence that was giving nothing away.

With the elements in their favour following the changeover, Spartans began strongly and Rankin had to be at his best to keep out a John Thomson effort.

With 59 minutes gone the game’s first goal arrived but it was not to be a Spartans strike.In a sweeping breakaway raid at the other end of the park, the Albert took the lead. After receiving a spot-on pass from Alieu Faye, Josh Morris broke clear and drilled a shot out of the reach of Spartans keeper Daniel Cassells.

Spurred on by this, Royalists, in turn, came near to notching a second minutes later when Ryan Stevenson had an effort well saved by Cassells.

Spartans came rallying back and equalised in the 68th minute. Substitute Jamie Dishington emered the scorer when polishing off a good move by shooting past Rankin.

Minutes later, Spartans defender Alistair Mckinnon prevented Royalists from regaining their lead in clearing a Faye header off the line following a Blake Wales corner-kick.

In the 83rd minute, however, the Albert did find the net with what was to be the winning goal. Recent signing Daryl Johnson swung over a long-searching cross from the left flank which found Morris and the Albert striker thundered in a shot to earn his side full points.

Expressing his views on the match, two-goal ace Morris told the Hawick News: “It was always going to be a difficult game against Spartans as they are a good side, so it was just great for us to get a win.

“I was lucky enough to get two goals but it was a team performance that won us the game as everybody played for each other.”

Hawick Royal Albert: K. Rankin, C. Robertson, S. Crozier, R. Boyd, M. McEwan, D. Linton, R. Stevenson, D. Johnson, J. Morris, A. Faye, B. Wales. Subs: F. Lockhart, M. Lynch, G. Pettigrew.