Shire wasted no time in forcing the initiative and it paid dividends as the team recorded its first Ochilview victory in this season’s Ferrari Packaging Lowland League.
Two goals inside the opening ten minutes removed any nerves and set the team on its way to the three points. While the faithful might have licking their chops savouring a goal feast after the whirlwind start, credit must be due to Shire’s opponents for the way they stuck to their task.
Hawick Royal Albert perhaps rode their luck that they didn’t fall even further behind in the opening quarter but they had stabilised their ship by half-time and, in the second period, showed some real attacking endeavour.
A third Shire goal just after the hour mark killed off the visitors’ slight hopes of a comeback, although an injury-time strike was at least some reward for their efforts.
Coach John Sludden introduced Andy Rodgers for his first start since joining the club on loan from Peterhead and there were also recalls for Kris Faulds and Adam Murray as he made three changes to the starting eleven that had faced Whitehill Welfare a week earlier.
That game had featured a great free-kick goal from skipper Derek Ure and, just four minutes into this latest match, he was given a chance to repeat the act but this time the ball just flew past the near post.
Ultimately, though, the miss was not important. After seven minutes a great pass from Jamie Glasgow played Rodgers in behind the visiting defence and he calmly slotted the ball into the net.
Only three minutes later David Grant beat the offside trap to find himself clean through on the keeper and, just like Rodgers before him, the Shire striker fired home to make it 2-0.
After 17 minutes Grant was denied a second goal by an unorthodox save from Albert keeper Kyle Bannon, who somehow got in the way of the Shire man’s powerful back post header from Paul Sludden’s cross.
From Jamie Glasgow’s resulting corner kick, Grant again got a clear sight of goal but had his effort blocked and then Ure fired the rebound just wide.
It was a superb start from Shire but they found the pace difficult to maintain. The regularity of the attacks lessened and Albert looked as though they had weathered the storm.
Josh Morris even had a goal bound attempt cleared by the home defence after 29 minutes as they tried to claw back the deficit.
Shire picked up the pace at the start of the second period. A Glasgow corner found David Grant unmarked at the back post but he couldn’t direct the ball towards goal, and just a minute later the striker did get a clear sight of the target but shot narrowly wide of the far post.
But that was the prelude to a sustained piece of attacking play from the visitors which saw a couple of near things, including an angled drive that skimmed the top of the Shire crossbar.
The Shire bench urged the team to regain a grip on proceedings and they duly obliged. After 66 minutes Ure slid a pass to David Grant on the edge of the box and the striker turned his marker and danced past a couple of challenges before sliding the ball into the net for the third goal.
Rodgers and Sludden were replaced in the closing quarter by Connor Hogg and Gavin McMillan and, after 79 minutes, McMillan raced clear of the defence and set up David Grant for what surely would be his hat-trick goal. Unfortunately, though his shot just went wide of the target.
In injury-time a free-kick from wide on the right was cleverly backheeled by Morris into the Shire net for the visitors to provide them with a crumb of comfort from their afternoon.
SHIRE : Shaw, MacGregor, Murray, A. Grant, Greene, Faulds, Rodgers(Hogg 71), Ure(Peddie 85), D. Grant, Sludden(McMillan 76), Glasgow.
HAWICK ROYAL ALBERT : Rankin, McPartlin, Smeaton, Johnson, Saunderson, Linton, Meikle, Conaghan, Morris, Mitchell, McInally.
REFEREE : David Munro