Trialist goalkeeper earns victory verdict for Peebles

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Peebles Rovers 2

Coldstream 1

EoS QUALIFYING LEAGUE SECTION D

MAURICE GORDON reports from Whitestone Park

PEEBLES ROVERS got their campaign off to a successful start with a narrow win over Coldstream in an entertaining and well-contested encounter.

However, it was the Berwickshire outfit who opened the scoring after eight minutes from a disputed penalty kick after Jason Girdwood was deemed to have handled a Craig Heugh shot inside the Peebles box when he couldn’t get out of the way of the ball.

The trialist goalkeeper saved the spot kick from John Crawford, but the latter netted with a scuffed shot from the rebound.

Rovers replied with a Steven Galloway free kick finding Scott Watson, who was on target with a shot from close in until Lawrie Dunn cleared the ball off the Streamers’ goal line with Mark Walters well beaten.

Back again came Peebles and, from a Girdwood free-kick, Lewis Montgomery sent the ball narrowly over the bar with a flashing header from 10 yards. Peebles did get back on level terms after 24 minutes when Walters failed to gather the ball at the near post, from a Galloway corner, with the ball finishing up in the bottom corner of the net.

Peebles put their noses in front with a second goal after 36 minutes when Craig Edgar found the Coldstream net with a 25-yard free kick.

Rovers kept up the pressure and, after collecting an Edgar pass, Watson made a menacing run into the visitors’ box before he was foiled by an excellent save from Walters. Then just before half-time, after a neat Coldstream build-up down the left, the Peebles keeper brilliantly saved an Andrew Gibson shot from close in before the Rovers defence managed to clear the danger.

Coldstream were reduced to 10 men 10 minutes after the interval when Andrew Gibson was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for throwing an elbow into the face of Andrew Williamson.

Shortly afterwards, the Tweedsiders missed a good chance to equalise when, from a Crawford cross, Martyn Tait could only lash the ball over the home bar.

But then at the other end, after latching onto a hefty clearance from the Peebles keeper, Montgomery made a menacing run into the Coldstream box before he chipped the ball just over the bar.

Peebles were going all out to increase their lead and, from a Galloway right-wing cross, Ray Fleming sent in a splendid header which brought out a fine save from Walters. Then Edgar pounced onto a loose ball inside the centre circle and fired the ball over a stranded Walters – and narrowly over the Coldstream bar.

There was a dramatic twist to this game as the Streamers missed a golden opportunity to secure an equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time. After Ray Fleming had upended Tait inside the box, the diving Rovers goalie brilliantly saved the resulting kick from Crawford by tipping the ball around his right-hand post.

Craig Collin and Ray Fleming came close to increasing the home advantage during the dying stages.

Peebles Rovers: Trialist, P. Hunter, S. Galloway, J. Girdwood, A. Williamson, Ray Fleming, L. Montgomery, C. Collin, C. Edgar, N. Cairns, S. Watson (C. Leslie).