HEROIC PEEBLES ROVERS bowed out of the Alex Jack Cup last weekend, after going down to in-form Tynecastle in a fiery encounter in the capital.
Tynie defender Greg Page saw red for a late lunge, but by that stage, Steven Vinter’s team were in control of an enthralling match at Saughton.
Tynecastle now face Leith Athletic in the final on 15 October, with the venue still to be decided.
Ger Rossi’s men began the match in typically bright fashion, flooding the midfield as they got in Tynecastle’s face from the off.
Such aggression soon paid dividends for a plucky away team, widely regarded as the underdogs against a Tynecastle side on an eight-match winning run, after Michael McEwan won a penalty on nine minutes.
The striker was bundled over in the box by Page, picking up a yellow that would ultimately prove costly. David Lindsay was the man tasked to convert the penalty, with the former Tweeddale man stepping up to coolly slot the ball past Ross McMullan.
Such early success was quickly dampened after Tynecastle grabbed a quick equaliser after Kern Hutchison hoovered up the ball on the edge of the box. The forward showed some delightful control before hitting a long-range daisy cutter that crept in off the post.
The match soon descended into a battle, with a solid central pairing of Ben Brown and Ross Forrest showing great composure to hold off Tynecastle’s lauded front three of Hutchison, Stewart Adams and Dean Crabbe.
Ger Rossi, in his usual midfield role, picked up a nice pass from Ross Lamb to advance forward, holding off his man to unleash a shot that narrowly whizzed over the bar.
As the ball batted back and forth, Rovers were undoubtedly looking good against a top Tynecastle team. A significant Rovers support soon exploded with delight, after Ross Forrest rose high to power a thunderous header home in the closing moments of the first-half.
Tynecastle came out for the second half all guns blazing, with Lewis Grant grabbing the third goal on 67 minutes, tucking the ball away from close-range following a Crabbe cross.
Rovers didn’t stop plugging away, despite a significant mountain to climb – Alan McMath and Rossi kept pushing away as Peebles pushed for another response.
By now, Tynecastle began to re-gain control. Dean Crabbe grabbed the fourth goal of the match on 71 minutes, prodding the ball over the line after forcing a magnificent save from Ben McGinley.
Hopes were briefly raised when Tynecastle went down to ten men: Page picking up a second yellow after a needless lunge on McMath.
However, Rovers couldn’t muster the firepower to overcome Tynecastle, bowing out at the semi-final.