Peebles Rovers 0

Stirling University 2

David Knox

at Whitestone Park

THE return of manager Allan McDonald couldn’t spur Peebles to a much-needed moral boosting win on Saturday.

Although it was Stirling University who progressed in the King Cup, the new Rovers gaffer felt his players did enough to warrant some optimism for his task ahead.

Allan, who replaced Ryan Bisset in the dug-out, told us: “I’m happy to be back and it would have been good to have started with a win but I’m still encouraged by what I saw today.

“There was plenty of effort and if we’d taken our chances the result could have been different.

“I do have a few players to come in and I’ll be looking for improvement from week to week.

“Peebles are down at the moment and it will take a bit of work, but we will start picking up again.”

Rovers did have a strong penalty claim inside the opening quarter hour after Lewis Dunlop was chopped down close to goal.

Despite the protests the home team were only awarded a corner.

That was as close as Peebles would come to scoring during a disappointing first 45 minutes.

And it wasn’t a surprise when Stirling University took the lead with Stefan Armstrong’s back-post header from a corner.

The boggy conditions prevented either team stringing many passes together with Peebles relying far too much on hopeful punts towards Uni keeper Colin Sanchez.

There was an improvement from McDonald’s team after the interval with Andy McNeil almost catching the keeper out with an ambitious 35 yard strike that drifted just wide.

Dunlop should have done better in the 65th minute when he failed to find the target during a goalmouth scramble.

And a David Lindsay freekick deflected inches past the far post as the home team continued to search for an equaliser.

It was another Lindsay freekick with 12 minutes remaining that almost brought joy for the Peebles fans, but defender Alex Webb managed to scramble the ball past his own post.

As the clock ticked down, Rovers were hit with a late counter blow.

From a wide freekick Finlay Goodlad outjumped the defence - although his header was brilliantly saved by Tom Kerr, the centre-half smashed home the rebound.

Peebles Rovers. T Kerr, J Dodds, A Cursiter (R Bailey 76), B Brown, C Smith, L Dunlop, C Crawford, S Mitchell, J Brownlee, A McNeil & D Lindsay