Newtongrange Star 2 Peebles Rovers 0
Two weeks of inactivity and several players missing wasn’t the ideal preparation for Rovers’ trip to high flying Newtongrange Star at the weekend. Star are one of three unbeaten teams in Conference A, so this would have been a tough ask at the best of times. On the day, the whole team worked tirelessly against quality opposition with Tom Kerr, Alan McMath and Ben Brown in particular standing out and combining to keep a team which had averaged four goals a game at bay. In the end, Rovers succumbed to a 2-0 defeat, losing a goal in each half although the second was hotly disputed for offside.
Newtongrange flexed their muscles early on and Kerr had to be alert to turn a header onto the bar from an unmarked George Hunter. He proved to be a thorn in the side of the Rovers defence for much of the afternoon with his speed and movement. Rovers had their chances in the early exchanges though, a dangerous David Lindsay free-kick landing in the danger zone but ultimately finding no takers.
Rovers had their most promising spell around the 20 minute mark with no fewer than three great moves down the left side with Lindsay, Grant Wilson and Lee Zavaroni heavily involved but on each occasion they couldn’t quite finish the moves off.
Hunter for Newtongrange then started to shine as he found space again in the 6 yard box but couldn’t quite steer his shot on target then had a 25 yard effort fly just over the bar. Peebles responded and Ben Gettel tried his luck from similar range from a James Dodds lay off but the effort sailed wide of the target.
Newtongrange finally took the lead after 36 minutes when Stevie Thomson skipped past a couple of challenges on the edge of the box before firing an unstoppable shot high into the net. As half-time approached, the home side pressed hard to double their lead but first Brown steered a dangerous shot over the bar then Kerr was on hand to produce a fine stop to keep the deficit to one at the break.
The start to the second half was fairly tame and it took to just over the hour mark for the first real chance as Hunter showed his menace again but Kerr was once again equal to the danger. However, the lead was doubled shortly after as Hunter pounced on a flick on in the box to finish from close range despite looking suspiciously offside.
Substitute Robert Sterricks almost made a quick impression when he latched onto a Lindsay free kick but couldn’t quite make a firm enough connection and the ball squirmed over the bar. Newtongrange finished the match strongly but a great block from Brown and another fine save from Kerr prevented Star from stretching their lead.