By Neil Hobson
Lambs to the slaughter? Not anymore, this time, it would appear, the Lambs have started fighting back.
In a quite frankly magnificent match at Whitestone Park, Rovers annihilated Leith 4-1 in a breath-taking flurry of goals and action in front of a bumper crowd. Goals from Gregor and Ross Lamb, coupled with second-half strikes courtesy of Lee Zavaroni and Alan McMath saw Rossi’s Rovers kick off their League Cup campaign in stunning fashion.
The game kicked-off in mesmeric style, with a Rovers goal inside the first minute laying down a marker for the rest of the match. Intricate play between Gregor Lamb, Ger Rossi and Saul Schulz-Keith on the left hand side paved the way for a piece of stunning individual brilliance from Gregor Lamb. From a good 30-yards out, Lamb looked up to smash a stunning strike over the onlooking Leith ‘keeper’s head.
The bumper Whitestone crowd had barely returned to their seat when the game exploded to life once more. Building upon the momentum from that early goal, Rossi’s Rovers established a firm grip on the match- enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Shell-shocked Leith struggled to respond to this early set-back, with the attacking trio of Lamb, Schulz-Keith and McMath gently tormenting the reeling Leith defence. With the Lamb brothers operating as a superb midfield duo, Leith were generally restricted in an attacking sense.
Somewhat inevitably, the away side gradually grew back into the game- with a thumping free-kick from Currie forcing McGinley into producing a fingertips save.
Bang on the half-hour mark, Leith finally dragged themselves back into the match. A swift-break away from the capital club saw their main striker bear menacingly down on goal. Ben McGinley raced to mop up the danger, but his attempted sliding clearance saw him chop down the Leith man- with the referee offering no hesitation in pointing straight to the spot.
The Leith man stepped up and slammed the ball past McGinley, launching the Meadowbank side back into action. Such a set-back scarcely registered on the Rovers’ radar as they swiftly went to work on bagging that second goal.
As Lee Zavaroni went to take a long-throw on the right, McMath was engaged in an impromptu wrestling match with the Leith defender- with the Edinburgh man coming out on top at the expense of a penalty for the Rovers.
Ross Lamb stepped forward, slamming the ball with graceful precision into the corner of the net to hand the Rovers a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
With the tantalising prospect of a first victory over Leith in 3-years on the horizon, Rovers practically flew out the dressing room for the second-half. Barely four minutes into the second-half, a sweet attacking move from Gregor Lamb on the right saw the ball played into Ger Rossi who spun back inside and laid the ball to Lee Zavaroni to run on to, with the skipper duly smashing the ball into the back of the net.
Rovers continued to control the game in all areas of the pitch and on the 59th minute, the game ceased to be a contest. The tireless work of Alan McMath saw the diminutive forward bag a well-deserved goal. He chased down a loose ball, surprising everyone with a quickly taken pot-shot from just outside the box; a ball which promptly found itself booted into the back of the net as it flashed away past the goalkeeper in the dying embers of the second-half.
After a cracking footballing spectacle, peeblesrovers.com moved to speak with a jubilant Ger Rossi;
“Today was always about getting off to a good start. Last year we found ourselves in a difficult and somewhat unknown situation and we reminded the boys that we went the best part of 3 months without much to show for.
“A season down he line and it’s pleasing to see how far the group have come. Today was our day however, and I’m pleased for all the boys because they’ve worked so hard. It’s a great start but this footballing roller-coaster has only just begun.