A highly impressive Rovers saw Burntisland off with a fine Ndiweni header at Recreation Park yesterday, setting us up well for the league opener against Tynecastle next Saturday.
The game started with some decent sparring in midfield, but the game soon exploded into life with Ger Rossi playing a great ball out to Ndiweni, who was lurking opportunistically on the left, he showed quick thinking to snap up the ball and cut inside, with his shot going just over the bar.
It proved to be a taste of what was to come, with Peebles possessing some great firepower to pile the pressure on Burntisland. Tiff Robertson was the man leading the line, and was unlucky to not get his name on the scoresheet with some good chances coming his way, but he couldn’t quite prod the ball past Marcus Taylor between the sticks.
Burntisland did have their moments however with wide man Nathan McKay impressing.
No goals came in the first half, but a good performance hinted that the best was yet to come. Peebles came racing out the traps for the second 45, eager to land the first blow. Rossi was once again the supplier, with another great ball played out wide to Smith. Aerial assaults became an effective weapon for the Rovers, with the first goal coming after Alex Imlah eased the ball off to Donovan Ndiweni, who sprang up and planted a firm header past Taylor on 63 minutes to spark delighted celebrations. A spell of Peebles dominance followed, with some fantastic pressing football being played.
Saul Schulz-Keith also made his comeback after tweaking his hamstring last week, and the forward quickly made his mark as he was involved in some fantastic build up play which saw Colin Smith come close to stabbing the ball Home. Burntisland came back into it somewhat, with Daryl Taylor lingering menacingly up front, but a composed show from keeper Jamie Shiel kept the Burntisland boys at bay. Soon after, the referee blew for full time and the lads went back across the Forth Road Bridge with a well deserved victory.
Peebles: Shiel, Mackay, Dodds, Imlah, Zavaroni, Rossi, Smith, Cockburn, Marshall, Ndiweni, Robertson
Subs: Schulz-Keith, Glass, Thomson
It’s easy to look at a score line and assume the worst, but this time it really fails to acknowledge what was a truly outstanding game from the boys tonight. Hutchison Vale came to Whitestone Park with the somewhat intimidating statistic of scoring 19 goals in their opening three matches, so the Rovers were in for a big night.
The game started with Hutchison dominating large spells of the first half, enjoying lots of the ball and popping up in menacing positions to give the back line a few frights with o’Donnell and Hare running riot on the flanks. A sturdy Peebles defence was in no mood to mess around, with both Jamie Mackay and Lee Zavaroni putting in perfect tackles to keep them at bay. Peebles did slightly grow into the game with Mikey Cockburn trying his luck from range. A big blow came towards halftime with Saul Schulz-Keith forced off after tweaking his hamstring with Tiff Robertson on as his replacement.
A big second half was coming up and Peebles came out with guns blazing with eyes firmly set on victory. David Lindsay was a real handful up front showing good movement, and he nearly had a chance to go through after a terrific ball from Mackay put him in a promising position. Peebles were fantastic at keeping their shape, with the whole back line impressing, largely restricting the few chances that Hutchy had. Special mention should also go to Lewis Marshall who put in a fantastic performance up front in red and white. For a time, it looked like Peebles were capable of hanging on. Tiredness crept in somewhat, but an outstanding goal line clearance from Zavaroni and a brilliant save from McGinley kept hopes up.
But it was to be heartbreak for Peebles as midfielder Mackenzie burst through out of nowhere to drill a low effort home to ensure that Hutchison Vale returned to the Capital with a victory. But, full credit to the lads- they played their hearts out.
Rovers David Lindsay was shown a red card for dissent after the visitors scored.
Peebles: McGinley, Mackay, Dodds, Smith, Zavaroni, Newell, Ndiweni, Rossi, Lindsay, Cockburn, Schulz-Keith
Subs: Robertson, Marshall
Top Man: Jamie Mackay