Depleted Rovers Defiant in Defeat

Hill of Beath Hawthorn 4 Peebles Rovers 0

Rovers’ winning run came to an end at the weekend but Colin Smith’s side still put in a battling performance against one the league’s big-hitters. With the squad depleted by a mixture of injury, suspension and holidays, an already though away fixture was made even harder. Ben Brown’s absence at the back meant Gregor Lamb had to be deployed as a centre back for the first time but he shone throughout in his unfamiliar surroundings as the whole team worked tirelessly to keep The Haws at bay.

As early as the third minutes, Hill of Beath showed their menace but a lob over the advancing Tom Kerr narrowly missed the far post. With Rovers’ resources already stretched, Jon Davidson was added to the injury list as he pulled up with a hamstring injury inside ten minutes and was replaced by Jamie MacKay which meant another reshuffle on the park.

It wasn’t all one way in the early stages though and Ross Lamb was unlucky to see his rifled 25 yard shot just miss the left hand post. This spurred the home side on though and after a period of pressure, they took the lead in the 25th minute as Lewis elder pounced on a rebound after Kerr had saved the initial shot. Nine minutes later, the lead was doubled when Callum Adamson was left unmarked at the back post to easily convert Greig Smith’s cross. Just before half time, another Rovers injury saw Mikey McEwan limp off.

Hill of Beath came out on the front foot at the start of the second half and after a fine save from Kerr low to his left, the resulting corner saw Lee Reid convert with a close range header. David Lindsay tried his luck from range in a rare Rovers attack but the keeper saved comfortably. The game was put totally out of reach just before the hour mark as Peebles lost possession in the middle of the park and Smith took full advantage to power home the goal of the match.

Shortly after, Cammy Sclater saw a straight red card for what was deemed serious foul play, a decision which baffled both sets of players and supporters and it was a backs to the wall effort from here on in. Kerr and Alan McMath combined to keep out the most dangerous looking of the Haws’ attacks then there was another bizarre red card when Ross Lamb was judged to have crossed the banter line by the referee.

As disappointing as it was to see the winning run come to an end, the effort from the players in the face of adversity pleased manger Smith and his backroom team ahead of another stiff test against Penicuik Athletic this weekend

Photographs courtesy of Kevin Marshall at Kayem Photography

High five for Rovers

Peebles Rovers 5 Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 1

Rovers continued their rich vein of form as they breezed past Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts to reach the third round of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup. Cammy Sclater scored his first goal for the club and this was followed by doubles from Grant Wilson and David Lindsay as the home side ran out comfortable 5-1 winners.

As early as the third minute, Rovers showed their intentions as Lindsay played in Sclater but he choose to pass rather than go for goal and the opportunity passed. The same two players combined shortly after but this time Sclater’s header just cleared the bar. Gregor Lamb was next to try his luck but his dipping 25-yard effort just missed the top corner.

Swifts had their moments early on but although some of their build up play looked dangerous, there was no breaking through Rovers’ back four with Ben Brown cutting out the most dangerous of those forays with a timely sliding clearance.

Peebles pressure paid off after 13 minutes when once again Lindsay found Sclater and his first time finish left the ‘keeper helpless.

Any hope Swifts had of getting any kind of foothold in the match disappeared when they were reduced to 10 men after just 25 minutes for a second bookable offence.

Gregor Lamb had a headed effort cleared off the line then on the half hour mark robbed a Swifts defender and played in Wilson but he couldn’t quite connect with the low cross. Wilson made no mistake a few minutes later though as he charged down an attempted clearance from the ‘keeper and rolled the ball into the net to double Rovers’ lead.

The lead was halved inside a minute though as a rare Swifts corner caused havoc in the 6 yard box and Andy Griffin squeezed the ball in for the visitors.

Rovers regained their advantage less than five minutes later when Lindsay again provided the ammunition for Wilson to finish from close range.

The second half continued as the first had ended with Rovers on the front foot and a break from the back by Alan McMath saw him thread the ball to Lindsay who placed his shot into the far corner.

Just before the hour mark, a speculative long-range effort from Swifts bounced off the top of the bar but this was as close as they got to reducing the deficit. McMath was unlucky to see his downward header from a corner well saved after which a bit of a lull set in with Rovers on easy street. There was still time for a fifth though as Ross Lamb won the ball wide on the left before playing in Lindsay who produced a tidy finish to round off another morale boosting victory.

Photographs courtesy of Stephen Mathison of Off The Back Photographers

Brown and McMath shine as Rovers make it 3 in a row

Peebles Rovers 3 Arniston Rangers 0

Peebles Rovers continued their recent run of form with an emphatic win at home to Arniston Rangers. Only a month ago, Rovers found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline in Gorebridge and in truth they should really have more than reversed the result on Saturday.

The home side started on the front foot although it took almost quarter of an hour to really trouble the Arniston goal when a David Lindsay free kick was turned round the near post by the ‘keeper. From the resultant corner, Gregor Lamb’s effort was cleared off the line and as he followed up he was bundled over for what looked like a certain penalty. The referee took a different view however and Lamb was bizarrely yellow carded for diving.

Five minutes later, a well-placed Grant Wilson free kick was heading for the bottom corner but was deflected over the bar by Lindsay from close range. In a rare attack, Arniston went straight up the other end and almost punished Rovers but the back post header from a fine cross was misplaced. Just before the half-hour mark, Lindsay had another effort well saved after a lovely through ball from James Dodds. As half time approached, Lamb skipped through a couple of challenges on the edge of the area but his shot went narrowly past the post.

Rovers were straight back on the attack in the second half and had another penalty claim waived aside as Lamb was once again upended in the area. The pressure finally paid off on 59 minutes though after Wilson found Mikey McEwan in space and his cross broke to Lindsay who made no mistake from close range.

For ten minutes after the goal, Rovers seemed to get a little nervy but there was little threat from Arniston and it came as no surprise when the home side doubled their lead. Ben Brown, who along with Alan McMath was rock solid in defence all day, broke forward and played in Wilson who drove into the box and his cut back was turned into his own net by a desperate defender.

Cameron Sclater could have extended the lead with just over ten minutes to play but the ‘keeper was quick off his line to turn the shot away. There was a final throw of the dice from Arniston as they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area but the effort was parried away to safety by Tom Kerr. On 88 minutes, Rovers completed the scoring when Wilson again turned provider and Lindsay doubled his tally with a cool finish.

Rovers Revenge – Peebles Rovers 2 Dunipace 1

Peebles Rovers and Dunipace locked horns in cup action for the second time in a fortnight but this time the home side came out on top as two late goals saw them through to the third round of the South Region Challenge Cup.

It was a bright start from Rovers who could have been two goals up inside the first 10 minutes. First, David Lindsay played a neat 1-2 with Ross Lamb but his shot was well saved by Allan. Lamb was supplier again shortly afterwards as his curling free kick found Mikey McEwan unmarked, but he couldn’t quite connect with his header from 6 yards.

Dunipace settled after those early scares but although their passing and movement caused problems, just like the previous meeting they struggled with their final ball. Ben Brown and Alan McMath were solid as a central defensive partnership and Jon Davidson again looked composed sitting in front of the back four. That forced Dunipace to try their luck from long range and on the couple of occasions they did find a way through, they found Tom Kerr in the Rovers goal equal to the task.

Rovers did manage a break away midway through the half as McEwan laid the ball off to Gregor Lamb who cut inside his marker but his curling effort from 25 yards came crashing off the bar. Shortly after, Dunipace punished the home side for their one piece of slack defending of the afternoon. After failing to close down the danger inside the penalty area, Dryden’s low shot from 14 yards put the visitors ahead.

Second half chances were again few and far between but Dunipace almost doubled their lead five minutes after the break when Moulangou rounded the advancing Kerr but a fantastic last gasp block from McMath prevented a goal. Rovers closing down was better after the break with Cammy Sclater, Ross Lamb and Davidson all putting in a hard shift while Gregor Lamb and David Lindsay in the wider roles worked hard to stifle Dunipace’s dangerous wingers.

Goalmouth action was even more rare in the second period although Ben Gettel was unlucky not to connect with another Lamb free kick at the back post.
As the clock ticked down, Rovers looked to be on their way out of the cup until a double substitution turned the game on its head. First, Jamie MacKay tapped in from close range with three minutes remaining after Allan in the Dunipace goal failed to deal with pressure from Sclater. As extra time loomed, MacKay turned provider as he slipped a perfectly weighted pass to Robert Sterricks who placed the ball under the advancing Kane to send the home fans wild and Rovers into the next round.

Peebles Rovers: Tom Kerr, Callum MacKenzie, Ben Brown, Alan McMath, Ben Gettel, Jon Davidson, David Lindsay, Ross Lamb, Cammy Sclater, Gregor Lamb and Mikey McEwan. Subs: Jamie MacKay, Robert Sterricks, James Dodds and Lee Zavaroni.

Peebles Rovers 3 Hawick Royal Albert 1

David Knox

at Whitestone Park

A HALF-TIME rollicking helped Peebles Rovers pick up their first three-points in the East of Scotland Conference A on Saturday.

And left Hawick Royal Albert rooted to the bottom of the new-look table.

Rovers boss Smith admitted it had taken a few raised voices at the interval to inspire his players to the much-needed win.

He said: “The guys got a rollicking at half time as I thought we were poor in the first half.

“We want to finish this season around mid-table to determine the division we play in next season and I knew we could do a lot better than we showed in the first half.

“I was pleased with the performance after half time as we showed a lot more composure on the ball and deserved the win.”

It couldn’t have started much better for the hosts as Grant Wilson produced a brilliant glancing header to steer Jamie Mackay’s angled cross into the far corner of the net.

Only some scrambled defending had prevented Peebles taking the lead before the seventh minute goal.

But Hawick responded well after going behind and Polish midfielder Miloz Pajik should have done better when unmarked at the back post than steer Josh Neil’s deep cross wide of the target.

The Albert went even closer on 17 minutes as Moudo Touray squared for Demba Thiam in front of goal but somehow Callum Mackenzie threw himself in the way of the shot to chest clear on the line.

Hawick deservedly drew level three minutes later.

Alan McMath uncharacteristically lost control at the heart of the home defence and tugged back Touray as he tried to capitalise.

Pajik brilliantly rifled the resultant 25-yard free-kick over the wall and beyond Tom Kerr.

The hosts had a great opportunity to go back in front after being awarded a penalty just after the half hour but Craig Saunders made a terrific save to deny David Lindsay.

Saunders, though, went from hero to villain in the 55th minute.

Peebles were enjoying their brightest spell when the keeper failed to hold a Robbie Renwick shot from distance allowing Ross Lamb to pounce on the loose ball and net from the angle.

Lamb was unfortunate not to score again just after the hour as his powerful shot from the edge of the area deflected inches wide.

The third goal arrived on 72 minutes with the former Gala Fairydean Rovers midfielder rifling in a powerful low freekick from out wide for Michael McEwan to convert from close range.

Apart from a Pajik shot which Kerr saved comfortably Hawick offered little threat during the second period.

And only some fine saves from Saunders prevented Wilson and McMath extending the home advantage.

The Albert’s misery was compounded in the closing stages as Scott Murphy was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on McEwan.

Peebles Rovers. T Kerr, J Mackay (J Dodds 81), C Mackenzie, A McMath, B Gettel, J Davidson, G Lamb, R Lamb (C Sclater 74), G Wilson, R Renwick & D Lindsay (M McEwan 62).

Hawick Royal Albert. C Saunders, R McRae (J McNaught 71), D Pacitti, M Pajik (N Johnson 81), S Murphy, L Knox, D Thiam, F Touray, M Touray, J Neil & L Cooper (S Odetayo 60).

Photograph by Graham Riddell Photography