Peebles cement fourth spot despite early red card

A delighted Peebles Rovers celebrate their win
A delighted Peebles Rovers celebrate their win

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Peebles Rovers had their sights set on finishing the season in the top four of the East of Scotland First Division table.

And thanks to a five-goal blitz, as well as a five-star show, Rovers achieved their aim in pulling off a more than worthy win in this Albert Park encounter.

What’s more, they did it the hard way as they played a good part of the game with only 10 men, due to the red carding of Lee Zavaroni in the latter stages of the first half.

Indeed, being a man short made no difference whatsoever to Rovers. The Whitestone Park side were on song throughout and simply hit full chorus.

Peebles manager John O’Hara told The Southern: “It was a great win for us and I am absolutely delighted that we have ended the season in fourth place.

“We have learned a lot, both off and on the park, throughout the season, and have taken huge strides in a lot of different ways.

“I thought we played particularly well today. The sending off of Lee Zavaroni was a bit harsh, but you just have to accept these things.

“Due to going down to 10 men the side had to be reshaped. But at half-time I decided that we would not sit back and defend so we just went for it and this worked for us.”

After Paul Brown had squandered a chance to put Hawick ahead in the first minute, Rovers showed what they had to offer with a good move which ended with Duncan Ndineni rattling in a shot that home keeper Kerr Brown did well to save.

In the 16th minute, though, Peebles did break the deadlock.

Running onto a ball from the back, 16-year-old Ndineni, a young player of great potential, cut inside and stabbed the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Callum Hope then came close to putting Hawick on level terms with a shot that dipped over the bar.

With 23 minutes gone, Rovers went further ahead when Chris Lockhart took advantage of some poor marking to head home a Jordan Hall corner kick.

At the other end, Ndineni came to the Rovers’ rescue by clearing a Nicky Cairns header off the goal line.

Eight minutes from half time, Albert reduced the leeway.

Shillinglaw whipped a corner kick into a crowded goalmouth, only to be handled by Zavaroni.

A penalty was awarded and Zavaroni given his marching orders.

Cairns stuck away the spot kick with great precision.

Although down to 10 men, Peebles were undaunted and in the opening stages of the second period, the lively Ndineni came near to scoring.

A goal was only delayed, for after 54 minutes Rovers struck again, Chris Lockhart turning in a Hall free kick at the back post.

After Peebles keeper Chris Malcolm had pulled off saves from Hope and Jody Easdon, Hawick fell into further arrears.

A Jonathon Flockhart corner was only partially cleared by the home rear guard and the ball broke to the feet of Geri Rossi, who drove a shot out of the reach of Brown.

Scott Sutherland then made it a nap hand for rampant Rovers by surging forward and waltzing round Brown to tap the ball home.

In the closing stages, Albert made the score line a little more respectable with Cairns netting a second penalty after James Clarkson had handled in the box.

Hawick’s Ronald Fleming said of his side’s fall, “We started off well, but lack of concentration, which has been our story during the season, cost us two goals.

“However, we got ourselves back in the game by scoring just before half-time. Peebles then got a quick goal at the start of the second half and this killed us off. The best side won on the day”.