PEEBLES ROVERS v HAWICK ROYAL ALBERT UTD - 18th SEPTEMBER 2021
Rovers looked to continue their recent run of league form against local rivals Hawick. Top scorer Luke MacLean was unavailable, with Jamie Mackay taking his place. Still carrying a knock from the win against Burntisland was David Lindsay, he was replaced in midfield by James Dodds. Grant Doyle, available again after illness started in attack, and Scott Latto replaced Callum Mitchell who was isolating due to Covid.
The game got off to a slow start but on 6 minutes it was the visitors who had the first opportunity. Scott Solley won the ball in midfield and played forward to striker Jordan Nuttall whose well struck shot from just inside the box was smartly saved by Cameron Hanratty, who got down to his left to push the ball away for a corner.
Rovers chances were limited in the opening period, however on 12 minutes, Brandon Blair picked up on a loose ball in midfield and drove forward to the edge of the box, before unleashing a shot that just shaved Kerr Brown’s left-hand post. Moments later, Rovers had another effort on goal. Scott Latto’s press on the opposing full back paid dividends, and he slipped the ball to Brandon Blair who in turn found Jamie MacKay 25 yards out. The strikers shot was powerful but rising and it went just over to keep things all square.
On 24 minutes, Rovers had a penalty appeal turned down. A great ball by Mark Shiels found Brandon Blair on the left. A shot from the corner of the box was saved by the advancing keeper who could only parry the ball back to the winger; his follow up was agonisingly cleared off the line by right back John Shankie and the loose ball was contested by keeper Brown and Mackay, with the latter falling to the ground. Referee Evan Cairns had no hesitation in cautioning the Rovers striker for simulation; a decision that didn’t draw too much opposition from the local supporters.
Rovers opened the scoring on 27 minutes. A Ross Lamb free kick was deflected into the path of Grant Doyle whose shot was parried out for a corner by Kerr Brown. The resulting corner was cleared to the feet of Mark Shiels who played a wicked ball in to the box to find skipper Liam Andrew who headed decisively past Brown.
Rovers 1 v 0 Hawick
Rovers extended their lead on 32 minutes. A perfectly placed pass by Lamb found Doyle who was upended just inside the box by Ryan Shepherd who was cautioned for his troubles. Ross Lamb stepped up and sent keeper Brown the wrong way. Just before the restart, Rovers lost captain Andrew to an injury sustained in the lead up to his goal. Kieran Weighand replaced him alongside Kinross in the heart of the defence.
Rovers 2 v 0 Hawick
Four minutes before half time, Rovers went further ahead. A superbly weighted pass by Lamb released Mark Shiels whose shot from the left was saved by Brown, however, the ball fell to Jamie Mackay who prodded home from close range. This was to be the MacKay’s last contribution of the day as he was injured in the process of scoring. He was replaced by Robbie Walker.
HT Rovers 3 v 0 Hawick
The initial action of the second period came by way of a sending off on 50 minutes. Full back Ryan Shepherd rashly lunged into Grant Doyle from behind, leaving referee Cairns no option but to produce a second yellow card.
From the resulting free kick, quick thinking by Mark Shiels collected the ball from Gary Tickle, and his excellent cross was met on the run by centre half Kieran Weighand. The header from “Big Shoe” was well placed but ran just wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.
Moments later, Rovers again went close. A great interception and first-time pass by James Dodds released Brandon Blair. His low drive was somehow saved by Kerr Brown, who flicked the ball onto the bar and out for a corner. Great goalkeeping.
On 53, a fantastic pass with the outside of his right boot saw Ross Lamb release Brandon Blair whose flashing shot was just over, Rovers were settling into some real quality football at this point.
The 56th minute brought another chance for Rovers. Ross Lamb once again was provider when his pinpoint pass released Grant Doyle on the right. His shot across Kerr Brown brought another good save from the Hawick keeper.
A minute later, the pressure paid off with Rovers fourth. Another Ross Lamb pass found Brandon Blair in space and his first-time lob beat the on-rushing Brown, a tidy finish from the young striker.
Rovers 4 v 0 Hawick
Hawick had a chance on 61 when Euan Gray cut smartly inside Gary Tickle, but his shot was routinely saved by Hanratty in the Rovers goal to keep his clean sheet intact.
On 64 minutes, Rovers went further ahead with arguably the goal of the game. A passing move that started from the back and went through six Rovers players found Grant Doyle who cut inside a Hawick defender and laced the ball with his left foot to the near post of Brown. This was impressive stuff from the home side.
Rovers 5 v 0 Hawick
On 69, another move from front to back saw James Dodds release Grant Doyle again who was in on the Hawick goal. His scooped shot went over the keepers head but when in came down it cannoned off the inside of the left-hand post. A great move and shot that perhaps deserved a more successful outcome.
It was wave after wave of Rovers attacking moves at this point; another that started in defence found Robbie Walker on the left. His cross found Brandon Blair in the centre and his low shot went just wide of the keepers left hand post.
On 72, Mark Shiels slipped the ball through to Grant Doyle who was through again on goal. Kerr Brown was a match for the forward on this occasion, as he narrowed the angle to the edge of his box and held the shot well.
Hawick were having difficulty with the Rovers high press and the scoring was completed with 15 to go, when Robbie Walker broke up play and fed Mark Shiels on the left. His well-timed cross found Grant Doyle unmarked in the middle who made no mistake from 8 yards out.
Rovers 6 v 0 Hawick
Rovers weren’t finished there. On 77, Kinross played a ball forward to Brandon Blair who dinked a lovely, lofted pass to find Shiels open. The midfielder, who himself was on a hat trick of assists, chested the ball down and unleashed a great shot which was well saved at full stretch by Kerr Brown.
Hawick had a chance to take a consolation back down the road when Euan Gray played a return pass with Ford and fired a shot at goal. Hanratty was equal to it and got a hand to push it over the bar.
FT Rovers 6 v 0 Hawick
After a slow start, Rovers really got into their stride and if it hadn’t been for some fine goalkeeping by Kerr Brown, could have been more. Unbeaten in four in the league, Rovers welcome league leaders Lochore Welfare to Whitestone Park, in what will be a real test of progress.
Man of the Match – (Sponsored by Rovers Ultra’s) Without exception, every player in the Rovers lineup was worthy of consideration, but one stood out. It wasn’t really for his contribution on the score sheet but more the way he commanded midfield and set up so many goal scoring opportunities. The energy and range of passing on display from Ross Lamb was at times unplayable, and this earns him our first Man of the Match award.
Rovers: Hanratty, Tickle, Latto (Smith 69), Andrew (Weighand 33), Kinross, Dodds, Lamb, Shiels, MacKay (Walker 41), Blair, Doyle.
Hawick R.A. Utd: Brown, Shankie, Shepherd (Sent off 50), Solley, Leckie, Millar, Ford, Gray, Nuttall, Swaney, Steele.
Referee: Evan Cairns