Peebles Rovers 0 Penicuik Athletic 5
at Whitestone Park
THERE was a sense of déjà vu on Saturday as Penicuik yet again ran away in the second half at Whitestone Park for a comfortable win.
When the teams met at the start of the season in the league they were locked at two-all going into the second half only for the Midlothian side to net a further four times.
The third round of the South Challenge Cup turned out to be almost a rerun.
Despite the upheaval of four of their squad following former manager Johnny Harvey down to Berwick, new boss Kevin Milne must have been impressed with his new charges as they laid siege on the Peebles goal from the off.
Only some excellent saves from stand-in keeper Bob Hall as well as a few timely tackles and goal-line clearances kept Rovers in the game.
But Colin Smith’s team, who were also missing three suspended players after the previous game’s infamous brawl, worked their way back into the tie.
And it took a block in front of goal by Gary Hamilton to deny Gregor Lamb after keeper Thomas Codrey was beaten.
David Lindsay’s in-swinging corner also had to be punched clear by the visiting keeper from under his bar.
And Lee Zavaroni should have done better when bursting into the area, only to try and beat another defender rather than shooting.
But these were only brief interludes from the pressure that continued for most of the half on the Peebles goal.
Alan McMath and Jon Davidson both made goal-line clearances, Hall tipped several efforts either round the post or over the bar, and several other shots were deflected within inches of the target.
Rovers, though, did hold on to the interval.
And for quarter of an hour at the start of the second half they continued to frustrate the Conference A favourites.
But a controversial decision in the 59th minute changed the complexion of the game.
Some lovely build up play led to Kyle Sampson running onto a reverse pass only to collide with Davidson – and a penalty was awarded.
Sam Jones tucked away the spot kick.
Jones doubled the advantage six minutes later with a neat finish from an excellent Aaron Somerville knock down.
Peebles had a strong shout for their own penalty in the 70th minute as keeper Codrey hauled down Rob Sterricks.
The protests had hardly abated by the time Callum Connolly poked home a third at the other end.
And to rub salt into the wounds substitute Arran Ponton rattled home a further brace in the closing stages.
Rovers boss Colin Smith said: “They were on top for a lot of the match but we were creating and the penalty decisions had a big influence on how it went in the end.
“I didn’t think theirs was a penalty and even their manager said ours definitely was.
“You need things to go your way against quality teams like Penicuik and they didn’t today.”
Peebles Rovers. B Hall, C Mackenzie, B Gettel, A McMath, R Forrest, J Davidson, G Lamb (C Sclater 67), R Lamb (J McKay 58), G Wilson, L Zavaroni & D Lindsay (R Sterricks 46).