Rovers rock Premier side in King Cup quarter-final

Frankie Arthur fires in one of the second half goals
Frankie Arthur fires in one of the second half goals
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John O’Hara paid tribute to Darren Walker and Frankie Arthur as his Peebles Rovers side shocked Lothian Thistle HV on Saturday.

Walker saved a Willis Hare penalty to take Rovers through to the semi-finals of the King Cup after the sides were level following 120 minutes.

Rovers were the better team throughout the second half against last season’s Premier Division champions, thanks in part to a dynamic performance by 38-year-old Arthur, who also bagged a penalty in the shootout.

Rovers boss O’Hara said: “I had complete confidence in Darren Walker during the shoot-out, as well as the five penalty takers.

“They all stepped forward to volunteer to take a spot kick, which says a lot about our team.

“Frankie Arthur is amazing. He has never been inside a gym, but is naturally very fit. He was superb today and despite having cramp, he stepped up to take a great penalty.

“Our aim is to get promoted out of the First Division, but to make the Alex Jack Cup final and now King Cup semi-finals is great for the club.”

Saughton Enclosure has never been the most glamorous of settings, but it was at its worst on Saturday as a howling wind and pitch that required an extensive trim made playing conditions almost impossible at times.

With the elements behind them, Thistle used the conditions to their advantage as Connor McGregor’s inswinging corner was palmed onto his own bar by Walker, before Alan McDonagh backheeled the ball over the line with just eight minutes gone.

But Rovers hit back on 26 minutes in almost identical fashion to Lothian’s opening goal. Daniel McAleavy’s corner was headed against the bar by Jim Young, before Dale Richardson forced the ball home.

There was little other action until half-time, but with the wind at their backs, Peebles completely dominated the second period.

Paul Murray had two efforts saved by Thistle goalie Graham O’Brien before the home team’s left back Scott McKenzie should have received a second yellow for a late foul on Arthur.

Peebles continued to press and Lee Zavaroni really should have put the visitors ahead, only to take too long and allow Paul Crawford to make a last-ditch challenge.

McGregor was sent off for Lothian for a second yellow card before the tie drifted into penalties, allowing Walker to become Peebles’ hero.