Peebles Rovers 1

Preston Athletic 8

Neil Hobson at Whitestone Park

PEEBLES Rovers boss Ger Rossi was left raging, after watching his team be put to the sword by Preston Athletic.

This first round match in the King Cup was largely coloured by a refereeing performance that infuriated Rossi and his backroom team.

Colin Smith and Donovan Ndiweni were both sent off, leaving Rovers with an uphill battle.

But the biggest regret will be on the lacklustre defending that saw eight goals conceded in the second-half.

Things couldn’t have started better for Peebles, as they flew out of the traps from kick-off with a vengeance.

The passing, movement on the ball and tempo was fantastic as Peebles got in the East Lothian side’s face.

Rovers came flying out of the traps in the early exchanges – Jack Smith marauding down the right, whipping in a good cross that the waiting Gregor Lamb couldn’t quite connect with.

However, Peebles would soon be deprived of Lamb’s services after losing the midfielder to injury – stretchered off after hurting his knee.

Preston lashed out, looking to take control after being rattled by a spree of early Rovers chances; with Greg Binnie taking a swipe from the corner, only to see his effort go wide.

Next up was Lee Zavaroni who tried his luck from 25-yards, but saw his thunderbolt graze the cross-bar.

Whitestone went wild next, as the returning hero Ndiweni, re-signed just last week, stepped up with a spectacular chest-controlled lob from 20-yards out.

Things went south however, after Colin Smith was handed his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for dissent.

Down to ten men but with the lead, it was back to the wall defending for Peebles.

Preston secured a penalty just before half-time, but Ben McGinley was the hero with a superb double-save to deny Greg Binnie.

The second-half was a dramatic change from the first, as Binnie opened the floodgates with an equaliser on 48 minutes, steering in a Johnny Grotlin shot.

Moments later, Alexander Dmitrov and Binnie added two more to rattle Rovers further.

What followed was one of the most peculiar red cards seen this season, as Ndiweni was shown a straight red for a challenge on Grotlin.

This came despite the fact Ndiweni didn’t appear to make contact, a sending-off that the Peebles bench were rightfully angry about.

Down to nine-men and facing a massive mountain to climb, Peebles struggled to cope with the Preston attack.

Michael McFarlane, David Liddle, Marc Reid, Ross Cowan and Jack Jardine added the other goals to hammer home the Preston advantage.

Peebles: McGinley, J Smith, C Smith, Brown, Sterricks, G Lamb, Dodds, Zavaroni, Mackay, McEwan & Ndiweni. Subs: Renwick, Forrest, Young