Hawick Royal Albert 3

Dalbeattie Star 3

David Knox at Albert Park

A BLUNDER by officials cost Hawick their first win of the season in a thrilling basement battle with Dalbeattie Star.

But the visitors from the Solway coast could also feel aggrieved with several decisions during a pulsating clash.

Despite trailing 2-0 just after the half hour, Hawick fought back to take the lead in the closing stages and went within three minutes of holding on for victory.

But an incident on the hour, where Star keeper Vinnie Parker failed to control a backpass and the ball diverted into his goal before being scrambled clear was to prove crucial.

The officials held a brief debate amidst the protests but neither was close enough to play to make a call.

Hawick manager Craig Tully told us: “I have three players who were on the edge of the area telling me the ball was a yard over the line.

“It was clearly a goal – you just had to look at the reaction from the keeper.

“I didn’t think it was going to matter as we still got in front but they managed to get the equaliser and we are now back asking why the goal wasn’t given.”

A strong gale cutting through Albert Park made sure this was a game of two halves with the team facing the wind struggling to break from their own half.

Dalbeattie made the most of the elements to make the breakthrough on 24 minutes with a stunning freekick from Farrel O’Sullivan.

The visitors could easily have been two or three up by this point as Craig Saunders had made several good saves, and Tommy Muir had twice fired inches wide of the target with powerful efforts.

Star had also been denied a strong penalty claim following a rash challenge by Jon Tully.

Curtis Wilson doubled the advantage on 33 minutes as he nodded Dean Brotherstone’s deep cross home at the back post.

Hawick had struggled to string two passes together as they battled against the wind but, out of the blue, they pulled a goal back just before the interval.

David McGaughie cut in from the left to show great strength and trickery to eventually cut back for Curtis Rose to smash the ball into the net.

It was a lifeline – and with the wind at their backs in the second half the Albert quickly began to dominate.

McGaughey was denied by a finger-tip save on 50 minutes.

And a few minutes later David Grant smashed the ball inches over.

But on the hour Hawick thought they’d pulled level after Parker skewed a backpass into his own goal – only for the officials to wave away the protests.

Hawick continued to press and they were rewarded on 75 minutes with an Ali Simpson screamer from 25 yards out to equalise.

And just eight minutes later Ludovic Erhard latched onto a through ball to beat Parker at his near post with a powerful strike.

The home celebrations were only to last a few minutes as Star, with almost their first genuine attack of the half, pulled level.

A ball over the top was collected by Scott Milligan to beat Saunders with a low shot.

Star were denied, what looked like, a certain penalty after Muir was pushed to the ground as he prepared to pull the trigger.

But Parker came to their rescue in the third minute of injury time as his finger-tips prevented Samed Akinpelu’s low cross reaching the unmarked Erhard at the backpost to net a late Hawick winner.

Star gaffer Darren Kerr told us: “We were in control during the first half and should have killed the game off but we were non-existent in the second half, which is really disappointing.

“The only positive thing for me is that we managed to come back and get a point, but I expect more from my players.”

Hawick RA. C Saunders, A Simpson, J Clark (S Akinpelu 81), S Spence, J Tully, M Galloway, D McGaughie, D Grant, C Rose (C O’Brien 65), L Erhard & G Summers (M Johnston 65).