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Dee-lightful for the Blue Toon

Tue 26 Jul 2016

PETERHEAD 2-1 DUNDEE

By Glenn Moir

 

Jim McInally said pre-match if we defend well, we can win the game.

He meant it and he was absolutely right.

Rory McAllister's second half double saw Dundee stunned by Peterhead.

But this Betfred Cup Group A upset was largely down to a superb rearguard display typified by the performance of debutant Fiacre Kelleher, who was outstanding throughout.

The 20 year old, on loan from Celtic, won countless headers and made numerous telling tackles.

Fellow centre back Scott Rumsby was equally as impressive and their contributions meant Graeme Smith did not have too much to do in the home goal.

Yes, Dundee saw most of the ball. That was to be expected. But they did not fashion too many chances as Peterhead stood firm.

It was a game of containment for the Blue Toon, who did a fine job of keeping the visitors at arms length.

Substitute Paul McGowan, on early for the Premiership team, had Dundee's best chance in the 36th minute from Rory Loy's pick-out but Smith saved well.

As half time approached, the goalkeeper then kept out Darren O'Dea's header from Greg Stewart's corner but that was as uncomfortable as it got.

In the second half, after Salim Nassor and Leighton McIntosh were introduced, the hosts pushed higher up the pitch and began to ask questions of the Dens Park outfit.

When Julen Etxebeguren bundled over McAllister in the 63rd minute 20 yards from goal, an opportunity came Peterhead's way. McAllister made the most of it, smashing his free-kick through an unstable wall and into the net.

Now defending a lead, the Blue Toon were content to soak up the pressure and hit on the break and the tactic worked in the 89th minute as McAllister pounced on a Etxebeguren error to home in on goal and coax Scott Bain into bringing him down.

There was contact. It was a penalty and McAllister did the needful from the spot.

Plain sailing. Well, not quite.

Stewart replied almost immediately to reduce the arrears with a shot, which found its way past Smith.

But Hartley's men were still in a jam and Peterhead held on to record one of their best results since joining the SPFL in 2000.

In doing so, they blew their section wide open, jumping above their top-seeded opponents into second spot and tucked in behind East Fife, who were beaten at Forfar in their fourth and final game.

It all means if McInally's charges can win at Dumbarton on Saturday, they will go through to the knock-out stage as group winners.

That would be quite an achievement.

 

                   Smith

Ross Kelleher Rumsby Noble

Dzierzawski Strachan Redman

 Stevenson                Brown
                 McAllister