Peebles Rovers 1
at Recreation Park
IF one message was broadcasted loud and clearly at full-time on Saturday it had to be that little is going to stop Peebles Rovers in their jaw-dropping climb up the table.
In a tight, controversial, and often fiery afternoon in East Lothian, the Whitestone Park club bagged another three points against a stuffy and vexatious Ormiston side.
A 36th minute penalty from Lee Zavaroni, his fifth goal of the season, saw Ger Rossi’s team carve out a mammoth nine-point lead against Ritchie Weir’s vanquished outfit in the league table.
It all began in typical Rovers style, with player-manager Ger Rossi the very embodiment of the ethos of his team as he guided his young charges into battle in typically ferocious style.
Structural changes to the side were as fascinating as the action, with skipper Lee Zavaroni placed on his own up top- with most of their build-up play stemming from the wide channels.
New signing Robert Sterricks was a fresh-faced addition at left-back, supplementing Michael Cockburn who played further up in a new attacking role.
This new partnership was working out a treat in the opening exchanges, with Sterricks showing pace, power, and a tenacious drive to harass his opposite number.
However, it was Cockburn who landed the first blow- as the wide man latched onto a Schulz-Keith cross from the right on 14 minutes, only to see his effort sucked into the gloves of Daryl Johnston.
What followed could only be described as sheer bombastic insanity, as a truck-load of chances were bestowed upon Rovers in a ten-minute period that had Peebles, Ormiston, and the assembled spectators scratching their head in disbelief.
Rossi, Ross Forrest and Colin Smith all watched on in horror as their efforts crashed, bashed, smacked and walloped the maroon goal in a spell that perhaps proved Lady Luck was an Ormiston supporter.
But, it was luck that wouldn’t last - as Rovers finally raced into the lead on 35 minutes.
The heroic figure of McGinley, fresh from halting a close-range David Nash effort, lashed the ball up the park, a ball that Rossi gleefully accepted.
The manager sped off at a frenzied velocity, as he crashed into the box in a show of predatory brilliance- only for his moment of glory to be abruptly ended after a hefty challenge from Ross Ferguson, with the referee left with the simple decision to point straight to the spot.
Zavaroni swung the axe, as he deftly slammed the ball past Johnston - sending the maroon man the wrong way in the process.
It was the only goal of the game, a fact that formed following a second-half showing where chances were scarce - and challenges were plentiful.
It degenerated into a battle, with both sides locked in a nasty struggle to control the game.
Tensions came to a head on 73 minutes after James Dodds was on the receiving end of an unpleasant tackle from Zack Walker.
The Peebles defender reacted in anger, as he kicked out at Walker in frustration, prompting a red card for both sides - a move that could see Dodds ruled out for up to three games.
But, it was the final noteworthy act of a hard going battle for both sides, a fight that ended with Rossi’s Rovers walking away with the points.
A delighted Rossi told the Peeblesshire News: "It’s a very pleasing result, more so considering we haven’t had a game on for a while - we had to go out there and show a lot of character, desire and heart.
“I think it was one of those games that we probably would have drawn at the start of the season.
"We showed how far we’ve come with all the local lads today; make no mistake, they’re still learning, but this was a game they’ll take a lot from going forward."
Peebles: McGinley, Dodds, Brown, Forrest, Sterricks, Cockburn, Rossi, Smith, Runciman, Schulz-Keith, Zavaroni,
Subs: Lamb, Newell, Mackay, Lindsay, Brogan