Match Report by Neil Hobson
Proud Peebles walked away from Whitestone Park this afternoon following a 5-2 defeat at the hands of high-flying Hutchison Vale. The score line may cry defeat, but once again, this fails to reflect upon the high-quality stuff that the Rovers played, especially a first-half performance where Rossi’s team comfortably battered the capital side into submission.
The game kicked-off with a near full-strength squad at the gaffer’s disposal, with striker Alan McMath back on the bench alongside last week’s goal-scoring hero, Donovan Ndiweni.
The referee had barely blown his whistle before the Rovers came flying out of their corner with extraordinary aggression. Zavaroni landed the first punch, he showed great will and determination to charge down the right flank, leaving his marker for dead. The captain looked to whip in a ball for Rossi, who advanced into the box lurking for the ball, but his cross couldn’t quite find the manager.
Lothian certainly weren’t taking all the punishment however, and used their lethal capacity for swift, counter-attacking football to probe for a rare Peebles opening. A bit of superb link-up play between James Guy and Willis Hare, saw the latter try his luck twice in the space of 5 minutes. But, a cracking save from Simmonds along with a perfect tackle from Tiff Robertson saw the capital club kept at bay for the time being.
But, this perfect shield, was eventually ripped open on 27 minutes following a mix-up in the back-line which saw the ball land at the feet of Willis Hare. The Lothian forward was feeling clinical, and he connected sweetly with the ball to make it 1-0.
And how did Rossi and Co respond? Well, they did what they always did, rolled up their sleeves and hit even harder in retaliation.
This came in the form of Saul Schulz-Keith who hit back with some gorgeous footwork that left the Whitestone crowd roaring in delight. He skipped off down the right, looking to play in a forward. Luckily for him, a bearded ‘baller named Rossi gladly scooped up the pass and charged off. The gaffer crashed into the box, and pulled the trigger, only to see his shot blocked. His second attempt was better, and a belter, as he collected the ball on the rebound and lashed it into the top corner on 32 minutes.- a goal of sheer class.
A thoroughly deserved equalizer that left the Edinburgh men spluttering in disbelief. The sanctuary of the dressing-room would have undoubtedly offered a chance to re-think their second-half plan.
Infuriatingly, they practically whizzed out of the dressing room, ready to inflict some damage. The second-half had barely begun before Sean Wringe had beaten the defence and slipped the ball past Simmonds to race into the lead.
But, Peebles just wouldn’t back down, and their efforts were soon rewarded with a penalty on 60 minutes. Lindsay, who had a brilliant game in the middle of the park, stepped up to take it. The big midfielder charged forward and confidently blasted the Rovers back into the game at 2-2.
The Rovers largely held their own for the majority of the second half, but when Luis Henriques thumped in a powerful header on 73 minutes to make it 3-2, the floodgates opened.
It wasn’t as if Peebles were having a complete nightmare in defence, Lothian just had a nasty cutting edge that really broke the ice.
Anthony Muir grabbed the fourth on 79 minutes, with a superb volley from a corner that Simmonds had no chance of reaching.
Peebles had a penalty shout on 82 minutes, as sub Alan McMath was hacked down in the box following a robust challenge from Paul Crawford. But, Nicky Marshall shook his head and any hope of a fight-back swiftly evaporated.
The last goal came on 89 minutes, with Scott McKenzie stabbing the ball home following a break-away to make it 5-2 and hand all three points to the Saughton side.
Once again, Peebles gave the big boys a real scare with some cracking football. Well done lads.
Man of the Match: David Lindsay
Peebles: Simmonds, Runciman, Robertson, Brown, Cockburn, Inglis, Rossi, Smith, Schulz-Keith, Zavaroni, Lindsay
Subs: Mackay, Dodds, McMath, Ndiweni