Peebles Rovers 0
Heriot-Watt University 3
EoS FIRST DIVISION
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Whitestone Park
MAURICE GORDON’S friends were able to say goodbye to him on Friday in a moving service at Leckie Memorial Church, and on Saturday players and fans paid their respects in a minute’s silence before their home match.
A win for Maurice’s beloved Peebles would have capped a perfect send-off, but although the home side worked tirelessly in swashbuckling style and matched the Students in all areas of the park, the visitors hit three goals in the last 22 minutes to take all three points.
In a scoreless first half, the home side’s best chance fell to debut striker James Telford, who seemed surprised that Grieg Shortreed’s speculative punt ahead fell at his feet, his snap shot rattling against keeper Craig Saunders’ legs. Nicky Cairns and Charles Nwanze both had attempts which flirted with the idea of being on target, but ultimately didn’t test the keeper.
Before the break, a period of intense pressure from the visitors should have opened the scoring, but when Michael Connor worked his way to the byeline, cutting the ball back for Brendan Napier to slide the ball home, referee Gordon Macvicar somehow managed to spot an offside offence and disallowed the goal.
This did not deter the young Heriot-Watt side, as they continued to pelt the home goal with shots, the defence looking more ragged by the minute.
Peebles boss Stuart Robertson will have been relieved to hear the half time whistle.
They started so much better in the second half and if their finishing was better, they would have had the game won. Chances from Scott Watson, Nwanze and Cairns kept the visitors on their toes but didn’t make a mark on the scoreboard.
Then Uni won a free kick 30 yards out and Donnelly’s pinpoint ball was headed home by the strangely unmarked sub Michael Webster.
A minute later, they were two up as Derek Paterson released Napier through the middle and he shot underneath the diving John Nesbit.
And as time ran out, Napier sent Donnelly through to score. Donnelly was two yards offside at the pass, but given that their first-half goal was disallowed, this one only served to even it out.
And when Peebles sub Peter Conaghan was sent off for taking a swipe at a student, it just summed up their day.
Robertson told TheSouthern: “In a game like this, when there’s nothing much between the teams, whoever scores the first goal is likely to win it.
“It was a horrible goal to lose, I think it bounced inside the box before the header, and when they scored again so quickly, it was game, set and match.”
As Maurice might have wrote, it was game of two halves – it was just a pity that neither of them belonged to Peebles.
Peebles Rovers: J. Nesbit, D. Urey (D. Knox 45 mins), J. Girwood, R. Fleming, A. Williamson, C. Nwanze, N. Cairns, M. McKenzie, J. Telford (G. Knox 59 mins), S. Watson and G. Shortreed (P. Conaghan 67 mins).