Home comfort in short supply as Albert crash

Albert's Liam Lavery gives Hawick an outlet for an attack in Peebles territory
Albert's Liam Lavery gives Hawick an outlet for an attack in Peebles territory

HAWICK Royal Albert slipped to a disappointing defeat in their opening league game of the season at Albert Park on Tuesday night.

Adopting a somewhat negative five-at-the-back formation, the Albert did have their moments. But had they been a little more adventurous then there may have been a different outcome. Another approach could certainly not have been any worse.

The Albert started brightly enough and with six minutes gone Liam Lavery danced through the visitors’ defence with a jinking run before firing in a low shot that diving Peebles keeper Paul Roeseburgh tipped round the post at full stretch.

Rovers then showed what they had to offer when Scott Watson blazed a shot over the bar from a Ronald Fleming free kick. Minutes later, Albert keeper Chris Anderson denied Peebles a goal in blocking an Ally Williamson effort during a goalmouth scramble.

Back came the Albert and after latching onto a Sean Owens pass, Lavery sent a raging shot inches past the post.

With 31 minutes gone, Peebles took the lead following a sweeping raid which saw Nicky Cairns spraying the ball into the path of Watson who shot past Anderson.

Nine minutes later, the visitors went further ahead. A passing moved sparked off by Cairns, ending in Gary Knox tucking away a Michael Holness cut-back.

The Albert reduced the leeway in the 51st minute with an excellent goal. Owens, who had switched from midfield to attack to replace Jordan Yardley at the start of the second half, finding space down the left, before whipping over a cross which Kevin McCaughey thundered home.

Within minutes of this, the Albert lost the services of assistant manager Stuart Sharkey (inset) from the sidelines. Mick Murphy’s second man being sent from the dugout into the stand for making remarks towards referee Simon McLean.

Boosted by their goal, Royalists were having their best spell of the match and should have equalised when Owens floated a free kick towards the back post. However, both Craig Wilson and Roddy McConnell rose above their markers but failed to connect, and a great chance was gone.

Rovers then hit back to add to their tally against the run of play in the 68th minute. Anderson misjudging the flight of a harmless-looking Cairns shot, which hit the post, before Watson followed up to tuck away the rebound.

This took the sting out of the Albert’s early second-half play and Rovers were unfortunate not to go further ahead when Holness drove a Galloway cross against the post.

Owens then came near to pulling a goal back with an angled drive that was just off target.

But a minute from time, Rovers put the homesters into further arrears. Gary Knox breaking clear down the right, before beating Anderson all the way with a curling shot into the roof of the net.