Hawick Royal Albert 0

Cumbernauld Colts 1

David Knox at Albert Park

CREDIBILITY has been restored at Albert Park.

New manager Craig Tully guided his struggling team to within a whisker of earning their first point of the season.

And on Saturday’s showing, with five new faces in the Albert ranks, it looks as though it’s only a matter of time until those much-needed points start arriving.

Nobody can deny Cumbernauld their victory but it took a goalline block and a magnificent save to maintain the advantage in the closing stages.

Albert boss Tully, having watched his team lose 9-0 the previous weekend, was pleased with the progress. He said: “That was a massive improvement from last week when BSC were scoring for fun.

“I questioned the players through the week if they had any character and they threw that back in my face today.

“They battled for everything and lost in the right manner – by leaving nothing on the park.

“The new players who have come in all did well and we will have one or two other new players joining us this week… we’re going in the right direction.”

Following Hawick’s dismal record so far this season Cumbernauld could have been forgiven for turning up expecting a straightforward three points.

But Craig McKinlay and James Orr’s team were on the back foot for much of the opening quarter hour as the hosts started brightly.

The best chance of the early exchanges was directed to debutant Rodrigues Nantellamio, but the former Forfar player headed wide from 12 yards out.

Cumbernauld’s talented young team soon began to take hold of the match with good movement and passing.

Craig Holmes was twice threaded through on goal in the space of four minutes but he shot wide with the first chance and Craig Saunders blocked the second well.

Saunders was called into action again approaching the half hour as Colts were controversially awarded a penalty for a hand-ball offence during a corner.

Stephen O’Neill’s spot kick was tremendously saved by the home keeper but William Mortimer reacted quickest to poke the rebound into the net.

Hawick’s central defensive pairing of Steven Reynold and Harry Lindsay continued to impress with their authoritative approach around the box.

But Saunders still had to be alert approaching the break to tip an O’Neill effort round the post.

The home keeper made another good reaction save six minutes into the second half to prevent Mortimer finding the net again.

But the Albert were starting to create their own chances.

Lindsay headed a Gavin McMillan corner inches past Thomas Cordery’s post on the hour.

Just five minutes later Colts defender Stephen Kerr made a goal-saving block in front of goal to deny Australian midfielder Finn Lane.

And substitute Cormack O’Brien must have thought he was about to equalise with a 25-yard screamer that Cordery brilliantly pushed round the post with quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

It was Colts who finished strongest but Saunders made another couple of good saves in the dying minutes.

Colts co-manager Orr said: “We didn’t take our chances in the first half and the longer the game went on you could see that Hawick smelled blood and fancied getting something.

“Hawick’s players worked really hard for their new manager and they will make life difficult for most teams down here.”

It may have been Hawick’s ninth straight defeat, but it’s the only one that will have left the long-suffering supporters with a little hope.

Hawick RA. C Saunders, A Simpson, L Knox, H Lindsay, R Reynold, R Nantellamio, F Lane, D McGachey (C O’Brien 63), T Limin (S Bonnar 59), C Rose (D Forde 81) & G McMillan