Peebles Rovers: 1
Scorers: Zavaroni (pen)
By Neil Hobson
Drama, goals, controversy, and a sending off- needless to say, the Rovers return to league action for the first time since mid-February was decidedly hectic.
A first-half Lee Zavaroni penalty was the only product of a match that dished out a plethora of chances for both sides- but that’ll count for little as everyone of a red and white persuasion left Recreation Park with a grin as wide as the Tweed.
In a style that’s almost become synonymous with Rossi’s Rovers, they flew out of their traps with zestful intensity.
Ger Rossi was at his gleeful, malicious best- as the manager bombed forward from kick-off in the hunt for an early goal.
Such furious attacking intensity swiftly brought it’s own reward, as he laid the ball of to Saul Schulz-Keith who was unlucky to see his effort sail over the bar with just five minutes on the clock.
A tumultuous tornado of Rovers attacks followed, as an all-action midfield looked to exploit any weakness in the Ormiston defence.
These relentless assaults landed Rovers a beautiful opportunity to race into the lead, as Michael Cockburn scooped up a Schulz-Keith cross and tried his luck- alas, he didn’t get enough power on it, but, got enough on it to force a save from Johnston.
Sheer anarchy followed as the Rovers began carving out a ludicrous number of chances in a remarkable ten-minute spell.
Cockburn, Colin Smith and Rossi all watched on in horror as their respective efforts all crashed, bashed, and fizzed over the crossbar.
Ormiston refused to fold however, as they gradually forced themselves back into contention through a show of deft brilliance from David Nash and Gary Hadden.
Nash and Hadden were timely reminders of the dexterous danger at the Maroon Men’s disposal, as they stormed up the park in a thunderous manner.
Hadden was the architect from midfield, as a delightful ball from himself picked out Nash with pin-sharp accuracy. The maroon man showed some great footwork to evade his marker and test McGinley with a powerful shot- a shot gratefully sucked into the ‘keepers gloves.
Controversy arrived on 27 minutes as Ormiston protested that a Nash header from a Jonathan Malcolm corner had crossed the line, but, mercifully, the referee gave nothing but a shake of the head.
It was a lifeline for Peebles- and a glorious precursor to the first, and only, goal of the game.
Ben McGinley got the game going once more with a heroic clearance that landed perfectly for Rossi- who sped off at a frenzied velocity.
The manager crashed into the box with unceremonious grace, only to be on the receiving end of an equally unceremonious challenge from Ross Ferguson.
It was only going to end one way, as the referee pointed straight to the spot.
Zavaroni was the man tasked with putting the East Lothian side to the sword, and the skipper struck superbly to hand the Rovers a glorious 1-0 lead.
The second half, alas, ultimately transpired to be a somewhat scrappy affair for the Whitestone Warriors.
Ormiston solidified, and applied a vexatious approach in an effort to suffocate Rovers attacks. The solid defensive pairing of Brown and Smith defended stoutly, as a maroon tidal wave battered on the gates.
David Nash continued to be a nightmarish headache for Smith and his colleagues at the back, as the forward combined well with Jonathan Malcolm to pester McGinley.
There was little to talk about in an attacking sense, but further drama descended upon the match as James Dodds was handed his marching orders on 76 minutes following a kick at Zack Walker after a hefty challenge from the Ormiston man- which promptly resulted in an red card for him as well.
It proved to be the last defining factor of this match, as the Rovers held on to secure a magnificent win- well done guys.
Man of the Match: Ben Brown
Peebles: McGinley, Dodds, Brown, Smith, Cockburn, Sterricks, Rossi, Schulz-Keith, Zavaroni, Runciman, Forrest
Subs: Lindsay, Lamb, Brogan, Mackay, Newell