Peebles ROVERS Under-13s claimed the spoils in the Persevere Cup first round by seeing off Spartans Blues 4-2 in a closely-fought match at East Pilton Park.
Two goals from forward Thomas Hayes were added to by strikes from Jamie Falconer and Sean Carruthers to give Rovers the victory against a side they had lost 6-1 to earlier this season. Spartans hit back with goals from Angus O’Connor and Johnathon Devers, but were left ruing missed opportunities at full-time.
Peebles coach Gary Lothian said: “We played very well. We were beaten 6-1 just a couple of weeks ago so they didn’t have a lot of confidence, but we had a point to prove and they’ve shown what they can do.”
Spartans had the best of the early period and were the first to create a chance after just four minutes. Midfielder Devers found space to pick out Matthew Patrizio who was unlucky to see his strike drift just wide of the post.
But Peebles grabbed the early advantage on seven minutes, scoring with their first chance of the match.
Centre midfielder Jamie Falconer produced a terrific run and shot from deep and his strike could only be parried by Spartans keeper Hamish Styles. This allowed Carruthers to latch onto the loose ball and calmly slot home to put his team a goal to the good.
The match turned rather scrappy after some good early passing from both teams, with either set of midfielders battling hard to gain the upper hand. And it was Peebles who came out on top as they doubled their advantage on 20 minutes.
A corner from the right-hand side saw the ball break to the feet of Falconer, who made no mistake in drilling the ball low and hard into the bottom corner to give his side a two-goal cushion.
Two soon became three just a minute later as Peebles took a comprehensive lead in the cup tie.
Midfielder Falconer was again involved in the build-up play, as his through ball found the feet of Hayes. Hayes did well to beat the offside trap and produced a powerful shot that was too hot for keeper Styles to handle.
Spartans did not let the three-goal deficit blight their confidence however as they continued to try their patient approach, passing the ball out from the back and trying to work it forward.
And they almost pulled a goal back on 27 minutes when O’Connor found space in the box. The midfielder unleashed a stinging drive that was eventually well blocked and cleared by the Peebles rearguard.
The second half took time to settle as Peebles appeared complacent after a superb display in the first period.
This allowed Spartans a foothold again on 57 minutes when O’Connor pulled one back for his side.
Having been denied in the first half, O’Connor this time found a way to goal, striking the ball low and hard from 20 yards, leaving Peebles goalie Luke Birrell with no chance of making a save.
This came after a dominant spell for the home team which saw chances for Patrizio and Hayes passed up.
But Peebles effectively wrapped up proceedings just three minutes from the end when they bagged their fourth of the match.
A poor kick out from goalkeeper Styles fell straight to the feet of Hayes, who again was on hand to smash the ball in off the post to regain a three-goal margin for Peebles.
Spartans did grab a late consolation through Devers, but Peebles were worthy winners and progressed into the second round.
Spartans coach Michael Devers was proud of the way his team tried to play despite the result. “We didn’t play at all in the first half but in the second period we played our passing game that we always try to encourage. We missed a few chances in the second half and if we’d taken them we could have won the game.”
Peebles Rovers: Luke Birrell, Callum Lothian, Rian Dougal, Matt Johnston, William Newton, Kazya Stevens, Jamie Falconer, Donald Tait, Fraser Anderson, Sean Strain, Robert Matthews, Thomas Hayes, Jamie Sterricks, Callum Leitham, Sean Carruthers.
Spartans Blues: Hamish Styles, Kevin Canda, Louis Semple, Charlie Robertson, Andrew Thomson, Christian Oroz Storm, Johnathon Devers, Matthew Patrizio, Peter Cazarowicz, Jack Mainnie, Angus O’Connor, Oscar Lewis, Joshua Pall, Fraser Alison, Gregor Ashworth.