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Derek Hall’s report forArniston Rangers v Peebes Rovers on 17th August

todayAugust 18, 2022


Arniston Rangers 3-1 Peebles Rovers

A cooler evening than we have been experiencing recently but perhaps one of the reasons why Arniston and Peebles served up an absolute cracker at Newbyres Park in this EOS Division Two midweek fixture. Prior to kick off, a minutes silence was held to mark the passing of former Arniston Rangers President Jimmy Cranston. The home side were first to show as their captain Ryan Moore clipped a ball through looking for Arran Laidlaw but Rovers keeper Cameron Hanratty was out quickly to grab the ball. The visitors responded immediately and a nice head flick from Luke MacLean sent Robbie Renwick to the goal line but his cross was comfortably taken by Rangers keeper Jim McQueen. Both teams continued to probe and Liam McCardle released Leon Bell down the left flank but the Rovers defence were able to deal with his cross without too much trouble. Some good play between Moore, Laidlaw and Tom Davies on the edge of the Rovers box looked promising but the visitors quickly moved to the other end and MacLean showed good strength to get a shot away which was blocked and when the ball came back to Robbie Renwick, his right foot angled drive from sixteen yards was a couple of yards over the junction of post and bar. However with thirteen minutes gone, the home side made the early breakthrough when Michael Robertson’s attempt to clear from defence was charged down by Davies and the ball ran to Laidlaw who quickly played in Ewan Graham and his low fifteen yard drive was well blocked by Rovers keeper Hanratty with his right boot but the ball spun up into the air and first to react was Laidlaw who nodded home at the back post from little more than a yard, despite keeper Hanratty almost getting back to make a last ditch block on the goal line. However the lead only lasted two minutes and it came from a moment home keeper McQueen won’t want to dwell on as a hopeful ball forward from around 45 yards from Rovers centre half Callum McKenzie saw the keeper try to control the ball with his chest off the rock hard surface on the first bounce inside his own goal area, but he could only look on in horror as the ball kicked up off his body and dropped into the net to bring the Borderers level. It looked very much like worse would follow for the home side on nineteen minutes when Michael Joyce dispossessed Dale Miller in midfield and sent Renwick racing into the Arniston box only for the Rovers no11 to be upended by Stephen Anderson and referee Danny Graves had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick and cautioning the Rangers full back. The usually dependable Peebles captain Ross Lamb stepped up to take the spot kick but McQueen dived right to parry the ball and as he lay grounded, Lamb somehow managed to strike the crossbar with the rebound and send the ball over from no more than eight yards, a real let off for the home side. Davies fired in a thumping drive from 27 yards as Arniston looked to respond but a visiting body was in the way and then Bell and McCardle played a nice one two down the left flank and the dangerous cut back looking for Davies was well headed over his own crossbar by Peebles Paul Dickson. On 28 minutes, Moore sent Bell down the left and when his cross was cleared, Moore was onto the rebound and wasn’t far away from curling the ball into the top corner from 24 yards as the home side looked to up the tempo. Three minutes later, McCardle picked out Davies and he sidestepped his man before firing in an excellent 25 yard left foot drive which didn’t miss keeper Hanratty’s right hand post by much more than a foot. Renwick continued to look the main threat for Peebles and another surging run across the park forced Anderson into a good defensive tackle. With 35 minutes gone, Lamb sent a volley over the Rangers crossbar from around nineteen yards before at the other end, Moore won the ball in midfield and once again tried to place the ball from around 20 yards but this time his low drive shaved the base of Hanratty’s left hand post with the Peebles keeper rooted to the spot. Four minutes from the break, Lamb worked hard to win a free kick for the visitors near the right touchline and he then lifted the set piece into the Rangers box where MacLean’s twelve yard header was smothered low to his left by keeper McQueen. However two minutes from the interval, the home side got their noses in front again when a shot from Davies was blocked but not properly cleared and Davies managed to find Dan Greig who surged strongly into the Peebles box and when keeper Hanratty bravely dived at his feet to make the block, the loose ball ran to Moore who wasted no time in planting the ball into the roof of the net from around nine yards to give the home side an advantage which was probably deserved on the balance of play and which they held on to as the half time whistle sounded. The home side would feel that their possession and control of the latter part of the first period was more than enough to merit their lead and few would probably disagree with that, but Peebles would obviously reflect on the miss from the spot as a pivotal moment, particularly as it came only a few minutes after they had rocked the home side by equalising, and the only certainty was that we were watching a cracking contest which was still anybody’s game to win.
A minute into the second period, a huge throw in from Rangers Greig was met on volley with the outside of his left boot by McCardle but he couldn’t keep his twelve yard effort down. Two minutes later, Greig sent Anderson to the goal line and his cut back caused confusion before eventually running to Laidlaw and his right foot effort from around seven yards smacked off the face of Peebles crossbar before being scrambled clear but only to Davies who couldn’t quite catch his drive from the edge of the box as he wanted and Rovers keeper Hanratty went down to make the save, but the home side had come out with the bit still very much between their teeth. A minute later, Davies went into the Peebles box as the visitors looked for offside but his pass inside looking for Laidlaw was a disappointing one when perhaps he had earned the right to have a go himself. Peebles finally got forward after 52 minutes and Joyce sent in a 21 yard volley which keeper McQueen got right behind. A minute later, Miller of Arniston completely mistimed an attempted tackle on Joyce in midfield and nobody was surprised as referee Graves pulled out the second yellow card of the match. Two minutes later, the lively Renwick was then taken down somewhat more cynically 30 yards out by Greig and the yellow card for the Arniston no5 was pretty much a formality as the visitors were just starting to create some decent possession in the middle of the park. Lamb stepped forward to take the set piece from fully 30 yards and was desperately unlucky to see his beautifully struck free kick beat keeper McQueen all ends up but smash back off the face of the post before being cleared and the Peebles captain had now struck the woodwork twice. The visitors now had their tails up and Jamie Mackay tried another long range effort which saw McQueen go down to make the save. Eleven minutes into the second half, the excellent Renwick then beat both Anderson and John McManus down the left flank before picking out Lamb with the cut back and his first time right foot 20 yard drive shaved the Arniston post as it went past and this game continued to be brilliant entertainment. On 59 minutes, Mackay was almost short with a back pass and Laidlaw was certainly interested, but Peebles keeper Hanratty was alert and was able to hammer the ball clear. On the hour, the home side decided to shake things up with a treble switch as Elliot Grieve, Alistair McLachlan and Michael Kennedy entered the field for Miller, Anderson and Davies. Peebles responded at the next stoppage as Dale Skinner made way for Harry McGill. Two minutes later and almost from nowhere, Arniston regained their two goal lead in spectacular fashion when a ball down the middle sat up perfectly for Kennedy and he decided to strike his first time 30 yard right foot half volley early and the ball flew past Rovers keeper Hanratty, who had no time to set himself for the shot as it raged into the bottom corner. With 65 minutes gone, another Moore corner for the home side picked out Laidlaw who came off his marker at the near post to flash a glancing header across goal and just wide of the far post and at this stoppage, Rovers made their second change with David Lindsay replacing Joyce. Greig slipped a free kick to Moore but his pull back from the goal line was safely handled by keeper Hanratty. On 70 minutes, McKenzie fouled Graham on the edge of the Peebles box, but Moore uncharacteristically made a real mess of the 19 yard set piece when he tried a short pass rather than the obvious strike on goal. With a quarter of an hour remaining, Arniston made their final changes as Bell and Laidlaw gave way for Ian McManus and Ryan Turner and Turner was involved right away as he looked to beat keeper Hanratty to a loose ball, but the Peebles no1 was always getting there first. With eleven minutes remaining, the visitors must have realised it wasn’t going to be their night when their star performer Renwick used his electrifying pace to sprint clear and from 35 yards, he lifted the ball beautifully with his right foot over keeper McQueen and looked to have done everything right, only to see the ball rattle off the inside of the far post before shooting across the face of goal where keeper McQueen was back to gratefully take possession of the loose ball and the visitors were left cursing their luck as they hit the woodwork for the third time. Eight minutes from time, Peebles went to their bench for the third time and it was another treble switch as Jordan Sykes, James Clare and Fraser Stewart were brought on for Renwick, Lamb and James Dodds. Six minutes from time, MacLean got free in the Rangers box and was unlucky to see his angled low eight yard drive flash right across the face of goal and just wide of the far post as the visitors continued to press for a way back into the match. Moore and Graham then worked the opening for McManus to have a go from around 22 yards but he got under the ball and it cleared the Peebles crossbar by three or four yards. Two minutes from time, Kennedy got past Sykes and went into the Rovers box down the inside right channel but keeper Hanratty stayed big at his near post and managed to beat the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing. In the end a good victory for a home side who will be delighted at having created a good number of chances on a night when skipper Ryan Moore did much of the prompting from midfield and led by example and now look forward to another home fixture this Saturday against Newburgh. Peebles are also at home against Fife opposition this weekend and will feel it just wasn’t their night as they played some good stuff and in Robbie Renwick, they had a forward who caused the Arniston defence problems all night, but in analysing the game, manager Ger Rossi should be able to find plenty positives from a match which provided great entertainment on the night for a healthy attendance at Newbyres.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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