Stirling Uni: 3
Peebles Rovers: 2
Goals: Sutherland and Brown
Match Report by Neil Hobson
Peebles failed to capitalize on a man advantage as we fell at the hurdle against Stirling Uni, with goals from Scott Sutherland and Ben Brown the only consolation at the Gannochy Sports Centre.
In misty conditions, the Rovers arrived in Stirling with a somewhat sparse look to the team-sheet; manager Ger Rossi was forced to sit on the bench due to illness, whilst Colin Smith and Donovan Ndiweni were also unavailable.
Rossi was able to welcome back goalkeeper Ben McGinley from injury, along with right-back Jamie Mackay as James Runciman returned to the middle of the park alongside David Lindsay
In what will probably go down as one of the most disappointing this season, Peebles set off in a typically attack-minded manner
Michael Cockburn and Scott Inglis looked set to run riot out wide, with Inglis in particular looking keen to test the back four.
This passage of productive Peebles play was swiftly brought to an end however, with a hugely controversial goal putting the home side in the driving seat after 14 minutes.
Stirling forward Malcolm Burgess looked to cut into the Peebles box from wide left, Mackay moved to intercept but soon found himself on the floor after a robust challenge from Burgess but referee Strang didn’t give the foul, and the student found himself tucking the ball past McGinley, much to the ire of the Rovers bench.
Strang’s strange calls were to continue throughout the match, but Peebles conceded again shortly after with Burgess splitting the defence open once more before nipping through and finishing again with considerable aplomb after 19 minutes.
A ray of hope shone our way just before half-time after a Stirling man was sent-off for a supposed kick at Cockburn, such optimism was further revived after Sutherland coolly finished from close range on 47 minutes following a Mackay throw-in.
But, Peebles couldn’t quite make the man advantage count and the home side added a third goal to the score-sheet after Khan Mitchell rattled a confident free-kick past McGinley.
Other than that ,McGinley was once again the star of the show for the Rovers with a string of top-quality stops and saves to add to his impressive goalkeeping CV.
Peebles retaliated one more time, after sub Alan McMath knocked in a sweet cross from the right which landed at the feet of Ben Brown. The defender showed fantastic composure with the ball before finishing the ball sweetly to make it 3-2 with just 10 minutes left.
But, this was to be the last act of the game and Rossi’s Rovers went down the road once again empty-handed. Next up for Peebles is a show-down with the champions, Leith Athletic on December 10.
Man of the Match: Ben McGinley
Peebles: McGinley, Mackay, Brown, Robertson, Cockburn, Runciman, Lindsay, Inglis, Zavaroni, Schulz-Keith, Sutherland
Subs: Rossi and McMath
Referee: Andrew Strang