Hawick Royal Albert 4

Peebles Rovers 4

Kenny Paterson

at Albert Park

YOU had to feel for Grant Wilson.

It maybe only a few days into 2019, but the Peebles Rovers striker scored a contender for goal of the year, with a stunning late free kick which looked to have secured new manager Allan McDonald a debut win.

But Wilson, McDonald and the rest of the Rovers squad were left devastated in injury time as Hawick Royal Albert’s Dom Pacitti found the net with his own set piece to ensure a share of the points in this thoroughly entertaining Borders derby.

Despite the loss of two points, McDonald was pleased with his team’s showing at full time.

“It is never easy to play away from home and apart from a spell in the first half I thought the team played well,” he said.

“It was an end to end game and although Grant scored late, I knew Hawick would come back at us, which they did.

“I always ask for 100 percent work rate and I cannot fault the lads in terms of effort.”

With both sides struggling at the tail end of Conference A, this was not expected to be a classic.

And while the defending was less than impressive at times, there was also some excellent finishing which should give Hawick and Peebles some belief for the second half of the season.

Rovers started the strongest, and took a deserved lead on nine minutes as Wilson and Alan McMath combined for the latter to strike past Albert keeper Craig Saunders, with Robbie Sterricks tapping in from a yard out to make sure the ball found the net.

Hawick struck back ten minutes later as impressive trialist Ben Maxwell’s cross was laid off for David Watson to finish well for his first goal in two years.

Royal Albert were now on the front foot and Pacitti scored the first of his two free kicks with a thumping effort midway through the first half.

Rovers’ McMath was the standout player throughout the match and got his reward 14 minutes into the second half, with a perfect 25 yard lob over the stranded Saunders.

And on 65 minutes it was 3-2 to the visitors as Hawick captain Egidijus Savickas pulled down Ross Lamb in the box, with David Lindsay converting the resultant penalty.

It appeared Peebles would claim the win two minutes later when Ross Lamb fired in, only for his effort to be ruled offside by assistant referee Gary Callachan.

Instead, Hawick pulled level again with their own penalty as Peebles keeper Bob Hall pulled down Josh Neil and Michael Johnston’s spot kick squeezed into the bottom left corner.

Back came Peebles, and it was Wilson who appeared to be the matchwinner with three minutes left with an unstoppable 25 yard free kick into the top right hand corner to spark wild celebrations.

But this mad game was capped off with Pacitti’s 91st minute effort, a 25 yard free kick which curled agonisingly beyond Hall.

Hawick Royal Albert: C. Saunders, B. Maxwell, D. Pacitti, D. Watson, E. Savickas, S. Murphy, F. Turay, M. Johnston, J. Neil, R. McRae, D. Lyko. Subs: G. Lloyd, A. Gassama.

Peebles Rovers: B. Hall, J. MacKay, L. Zavaroni, B. Brown, B. Gettel, D. Lindsay, C. Mackenzie, R. Lamb, G. Wilson, A. McMath, R. Sterricks. Subs: J. Dodd, C. Sclater, M. McEwen, K. Summers, R. Renwick.