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Peterhead 2 Stirling Albion 2

Sun 28 Oct 2012

Jim McInally will have plenty of reason to be frustrated after watching his team throw away a two-goal lead to allow struggling Stirling Albion a share of the points.

In truth the Binos did enough to show that they are in a false position, but the Blue Toon boss will be disappointed to have dropped points at home, when Balmoor has been such a stronghold this term.

There were three changes to the side that had lost at the hands of East Stirling a week earlier. Ross Smith had impressed as a substitute and he replaced Ryan Harding, who has returned to Alloa after his spell on-loan.

Dave Ross made his first appearance of the campaign in midfield, taking the place of Jamie Redman who was injured against the Shire, and Martin Bavidge started in place of Stephen Maguire.

Bavidge was involved in an early chance, as he flicked on a Steven Noble cross for Rory McAllister, the Blue Toon's top scorer seeing his header loop onto the crossbar.

The front pairing linked up again five minutes later after Gary Thom could only clear as far as McAllister. He brought the ball down and slipped a neat ball to Bavidge who got enough on his shot to find the bottom corner of the net, despite Sam Filler getting a hand to the effort.

On-loan Falkirk striker Jordan White, with his physical presence, was a threat, and he headed his first real chance over the crossbar. A minute later, he was involved again as he flicked Ross McGeachie's ball on to Scott Davidson, but the striker sent the ball wide of the upright.

The Binos were in the hunt for a leveller and Jamie McCunnie was presented an opportunity when Smith failed to get an purchase on his clearing header, but McCunnie snatched at his shot and left Paul Jarvie with an easy save.

But Peterhead were left mystified when Bryan Deasley broke the Stirling offside trap and raced towards goal, only to be brought down on the edge of the box by a combination of Filler and Steven Day.

Unbelievably, referee Gary Hilland deemed the ex-Dundee man to have dived and showed him a yellow card.

That was quickly forgotten though, with the Toon doubling their lead before the half-hour. Filler did well to turn Graeme Sharp's angled drive wide of the post and from Ryan Strachan's resultant corner, Smith peeled off White and headed home his first goal of the season.

It could have been 3-0 just moments later,  a McAllister shot looping up off Thom and palmed over by Filler before McLaughlin could take advantage.

Cruelly, that was immediately punished. Graham Weir slipped a pass to Day on the left, and he pulled back for White to bundle the ball home at the near post. Game on.

The perfect placement of Scott Ross on the line denied Davidson a quick-fire leveller, and Smith was quick to close down the danger as White threatened to lash home the loose ball.

That brought a frantic period of play to an end and the game settled back down, much to the relief of both dugouts.

Blue Toon keeper Paul Jarvie was forced off at the interval, to be replaced by Marc McCallum, and although the on-loan Dundee United man was left with relatively little to do, Peterhead couldn't hold out.

That said, they could have been 3-1 up midway through the half. McLaughlin's ball into the area seemed to come off substitute Robbie Winters' hand, but play continued and McAllister, having done the hard part with a neat turn, sent a 15-yard shot well wide.

Stirling now looked the better side in possession, though, and when Day's 83rd minute cross was flicked on at the near post by White, sub Josh Flood sent an excellent left-foot volley beyond the helpless McCallum.

There was a final chance for Peterhead to take the points with a couple of minutes remaining, McAllister's cross from the left just evading Winters, before Bavidge turned over from Day's clearing header.

It was another frustrating day at the office for the Blue Toon who now have to pick themselves up for the trip to Ibrox.

PETERHEAD: Paul Jarvie (Marc McCallum, 46), Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Ross Smith, Scott Ross, Ryan Strachan (Dean Cowie, 69), Dave Ross (Robbie Winters, 61), Bryan Deasley, Rory McAllister, Martin Bavidge, Scott McLaughlin. Subs not used: Stephen Maguire, Darren Kelly.

STIRLING ALBION: Sam Filler, Ross McGeachie (Josh Flood, 77), Steven Day, Jamie McCunnie, Kieran McAnespie, Gary Thom, Graham Weir, Daly McSorley, Scott Davidson, David McClune (Mark Ferry, 82), Jordan White. Subs not used: Jamie Clark, Gary Brass, Mark Peat (gk).

Attendance: 508.