PEEBLES Rovers bowed out of the King Cup after suffering defeat to Preston at Whitestone Park.
An early Donovan Ndiweni screamer handed Rovers the lead in the first-half, but the Panners regained control in dramatic fashion in the second-half.
Additionally, Rovers were reduced to nine-men after Colin Smith and Ndiweni both saw red – another aspect of a hugely frustrating day.
The match was largely spoiled by an abundance of cards – stunting any attempt to let the game breathe.
Rovers came flying out of the traps in the early exchanges – Jack Smith marauding down the right, whipping in a good cross that the waiting Gregor Lamb couldn’t quite connect with.
However, Ger Rossi would soon be deprived of Gregor’s services after losing the midfielder to injury – stretchered off after hurting his knee. Robbie Renwick came on for him.
Preston lashed out, looking to take control after being rattled by a spree of early Rovers chances; with Greg Binnie taking a swipe from the corner, only to see his effort go wide.
Next up was Lee Zavaroni who tried his luck from 25-yards, but saw his thunderbolt graze the cross-bar.
Whitestone went wild next, as the returning hero Donovan Ndiweni stepped up with the moment of the match: a spectacular chest-controlled lob from 20-yards out that flew past a helpless Sinclair Inglis.
Things went south however, after Colin Smith was handed his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for dissent.
Down to ten men but with the lead, it was back to the wall defending for Peebles. Preston secured a penalty just before half-time, but Ben McGinley saved the day with a superb double-save to deny Greg Binnie.
Things went from bad to worse for Rovers though, as Binnie grabbed an equaliser on 48 minutes, steering in a Johnny Grotlin shot.
Moments later, Alexander Dmitrov and Binnie added two more to rattle Rovers further.
What followed was one of the most peculiar red cards seen this season, as Ndiweni was shown a straight red for a challenge on Grotlin.
This came despite the fact Ndiweni didn’t even appear to touch his man.
Down to nine-men and facing a massive mountain to climb, Peebles struggled to cope with the Preston attack.
Michael McFarlane, David Liddle, Marc Reid, Ross Cowan and Jack Jardine added the other goals to hammer home the Preston advantage.
Peebles: McGinley, J Smith, C Smith, Brown, Sterricks, G Lamb, Dodds, Zavaroni, Mackay, McEwan, Ndiweni