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Stirling Albion 2 Peterhead 0

Sun 18 Aug 2013

David Cox David Cox

A blunted attack and individual mistakes at the back cost Peterhead dear, as the Blue Toon succumbed to Stirling Albion in a match both sides finished with ten men.

Dale Fulton seized upon Bryan Gilfillan’s mistake to put the home side ahead, and although the Blue Toon had plenty of possession, they eventually conceded a second as Phil Johnston fired home from 20 yards.

In a game which was at times more than a little tetchy, both sides were reduced to ten men when Peterhead sub Andy Rodgers and Binos captain Jamie Bishop clashed off the ball, Rodgers shown a straight red card and ex-Blue Toon loanee Bishop handed a second yellow.

Peterhead had lined up in an unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation, with Ryan Strachan stepping into the team in place of Conner McGlinchey following suspension. Ryan McCann, fit again after an ankle knock played just off David Cox in attack.

The big miss, though, was Rory McAllister who, it was later revealed, has been suspended following a breach of club discipline.

It didn’t take long for the match to heat up, as Cox and Bishop became engaged in an off-the-ball incident after just ten minutes. It seemed to go completely unseen by the officials, and the duo shook hands and got on with it.

Much of the play was in the midfield area in the opening stages, and it took another ten minutes for the first real chance of the game. A slack pass out of the Binos defence fell to Jordon Brown and he flashed a 20-yard strike narrowly beyond the left-hand upright.

The opening goal came after 27 minutes, and it was borne out of mistakes.  Jamie Redman played a ball backwards to Gilfillan in the centre of defence. Gilfillan was somewhat casual in moving the ball on, and Fulton was alert enough to cut out his pass and advance on Graeme Smith before sliding the ball home off the inside of the  post.

Johnston had been booked a couple of minutes earlier for a bodycheck on Cox, and the former Annan man also went into the book when the roles were reversed soon after.

Graeme Smith

Peterhead were missing a focal point up front with McAllister missing and Rodgers still not felt to be fit enough to start the match, and that meant the pressure was on the midfield to come up with the goals.

Dean Cowie tried to oblige with a 20-yard drive which was narrowly off target, but the Blue Toon should have been level three minutes from the break.

McCann beat goalkeeper David Crawford to a short passback, but was forced away from goal. He set himself to shoot but allowed the keeper to recover to save, when perhaps a pass back to Cox would have given a better angle from which to score.

The home side’s Chris Smith had headed a Kieran McAnespie corner over the bar and another McAnespie set piece saw Mark Ferry force a low save from Peterhead’s Smith.

The last action of the first half saw Strachan hit wide after the home side could only half-clear a deep free-kick from Gilfillan.

The tetchy nature of the game continued into the second half. Sharp had been booked shortly before the break for kicking  ball away, and five minutes after the restart he was tugged back by Graham Weir, the Stirling man also going into the book.

The home side had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them ahead when he got down low to his right to block Gilfillan’s diving header from a right-wing free-kick. Brown kept the ball alive but Crawford again blocked as he shot from a tight angle.

Bishop picked up his first booking for a cynical swipe at Brown just before the hour, and from the resultant free-kick, Strachan’s powerful drive forced a save from Crawford.

Peterhead had enjoyed the bulk of the play so far in the second half, but had Smith to thank for keeping them in the game, as the former Rangers goalkeeper made a fine double-save to deny Jordan White and Fulton.

Cox and McCann were soon replaced with Rodgers and Fraser McLaren, and that seemed to interrupt the flow of the Peterhead attack, although Rodgers did force a fine save from Crawford as he sent a fine volley across the goalkeeper.

The home side soon doubled their lead, against the run of play. Scott Ross brought down White, but referee Euan Anderson correctly allowed an advantage as the ball broke to Johnston, and the midfielder sent a low shot swerving past Smith and into the bottom-right corner of the net.

Rodgers and Bishop saw red in the 82nd minute after they clashed while Peterhead prepared to take a corner, and the frustration of Peterhead was evident as Ross was booked in injury time for kicking the ball away.

STIRLING ALBION: David Crawford, Ross McGeachie, Ross Forsyth, Kieran McAnespie, Jamie Bishop, Chris Smith, Phil Johnston, Mark Ferry (David McClune, 76), Jordan White, Graham Weir (Jamie McCunnie, 85), Dale Fulton (David Weatherston, 66). Subs not used: Bradley Coyne, Stephen Day, Jamie Clark, Sean Robertson (gk).

Booked: Johnston, Weir, Bishop.

Sent off: Bishop.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Ryan Strachan, Scott Ross, Dean Cowie (Conner McGlinchey, 76), David Cox (Andy Rodgers, 66), Jamie Redman, Ryan McCann (Fraser McLaren, 66), Jordon Brown, Bryan Gilfillan. Subs not used: Kevin Buchan, Dean Richardson, Jake Fitzgerald, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cox, Sharp, Ross.

Sent off: Rodgers.

Attendance: 573.