Peebles Rovers 7
Tweedmouth Rangers 2
Neil Hobson at Whitestone Park
GERRY Rossi and his Peebles Rovers team carved out a little piece of footballing history for themselves on Saturday, as they crossed swords with Tweedmouth Rangers for the first time in the two clubs’ history.
And on a day of such history, Rossi’s resurgent Rovers outfit sent the Northumberland side back to the stone-age as they pulverised them 7-2 in an unforgettable encounter at Whitestone Park.
Whilst the score-line itself was a surprise to everyone in the Alec Lucas Stand, the bigger shock was how the Rovers didn’t hit double-figures in what was a dominant and ruthless performance.
Rossi said: “The score-line says it all really. I felt that from start to finish we dictated play well. It was frustrating to concede the two goals but I’m nit-picking; just look at the response in the second-half.
“We came out and really enjoyed ourselves and were able to establish a great lead. It was fantastic, it stands us in really good stead for the Ormiston game next week.”
A sixth-minute strike from Saul Schulz-Keith opened the scoring, as the winger skilfully flicked the ball past Tweedmouth keeper, Graeme Cain, following a ball in from the left courtesy of Robbie Renwick.
Such jubilation didn’t last however, as Regan Graham pulled one back just two minutes later as they stormed up the park in a vengeful counter-attack.
The first-half was a very equal contest, with Rovers and Rangers exchanging early blows in the search for the all too elusive second goal.
Renwick and Alan McMath linked up well together to pepper Cain with numerous shots, including a 27th minute Renwick effort that narrowly sailed over the bar.
With just a minute to go Renwick made his mark once more as he won a penalty after being tripped by Jordan Ainslie in the box.
With spot-kick specialist James Runciman ruled out through injury, the responsibility of crossing the 12-yard chasm fell to Rovers skipper Lee Zavaroni.
It was a somewhat scrappy effort, but Zavaroni successfully tucked the ball past Cain, thereby handing Rovers a 2-1 lead going into half-time.
The second-half was an altogether different story, as the floodgates opened.
It was a half that could be best described as a colourful explosion of footballing class, skill and finesse that ripped Tweedmouth apart with frighteningly clinical ruthlessness.
McMath hit top gear, as he led the forward line in typically combative style. The great understanding between himself and the wide men, Schulz-Keith and Renwick, was fundamental to why the score-line was so heavy.
Twice McMath latched onto a ball from out wide, and twice McMath converted to make it 4-1 in the space of 15 minutes.
To add insult to injury, Zavaroni tore through the back-four with insulting ease to make it a high-five for the dominant Rovers.
Regan Graham crashed into the Rovers box on the back of a Rutherford ball, and was able to successfully stab the ball into the bottom left corner past McGinley, but by then, that was nothing more than a consolation.
And the worst was yet to come.
Zavaroni’s goal was courtesy of a Schulz-Keith ball that completed a hat-trick of assists for the former Tynecastle man, who, not fully content with setting up goals, grabbed a hat-trick of the scoring variety as well, as he carved through the back four twice in the space of ten-minutes to send the Rovers into dreamland and the comfort of the full-time whistle.
Peebles: McGinley, Dodds, Smith, Brown, Cockburn, Schulz-Keith, Zavaroni, Rossi, Renwick, Newell, McMath Subs: Lindsay, Mackay, Ndiweni, Forrest, Lamb, Robertson