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Peterhead 1 East Stirling 1

Mon 18 Nov 2013

Rodgers nets his stunning strike Rodgers nets his stunning strike

In a season so far characterised by self-inflicted wounds and cruel luck, both were in evidence as the Blue Toon failed to build on their victory over Elgin City last week, an injury-time Jordan McKechnie goal seeing them drop two points at home to East Stirling.

It was a rare mistake from goalkeeper Graeme Smith which presented the visitors with their last-gasp strike, and a cruel blow after Andy Rodgers had put the Blue Toon in front with a goal fit to win any game.
Reece Donaldson, a defender signed on-loan until January from Championship side Raith Rovers, came into the Peterhead defence, starting to the right of Craig Tully. Captain Steven Noble completed the three-man back line.

Graeme Sharp and Dean Richardson patrolled the areas wide of the central midfield trio of Bryan Gilfillan, Jamie Redman and Jordon Brown, while Rodgers was joined in attack by Rory McAllister.

Rory McAllister

As early as the third minute, the front two combined to create an opening. McAllister knocked Richardson’s pass into the path of Rodgers, who lifted the ball over the defence for his strike-partner. It wouldn’t sit up for McAllister, though, and his left-foot effort skewed wide of the target.

A minute later, and McAllister hit wide of the other post, taking on a 12-yard snap-shot after Redman had flicked on a Sharp throw-in.

The strikers were happy to forage for scraps, and Rodgers would soon set up a golden opportunity for Brown. He raced onto McAllister’s pass before sending a gorgeous cross to the far post where it seemed the former Aberdeen midfielder only had to make contact to score.

Goalkeeper Grant Hay had other ideas, though, and he got down low to his right to beat away Brown’s point-blank header.

And the aerial route was tried again when Sharp found the head of McAllister, but again the one-time Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker was off-target.

As time wore on, the visitors came more into the game, and Kevin Turner headed into the side netting before, on the stroke of half-time, full-back Graeme MacGregor struck from distance, with Smith well-placed to save.

A clever set-piece saw Scott Maxwell play in captain Turner ten minutes after the interval, but the ex-Celtic man wasn’t able to connect as he’d have liked, and Smith again gathered comfortably.

Then, with 76 minutes on the clock, came Rodgers’ moment of glory. Never one to shy away from attempting the spectacular, he threw himself in the air to connect with Sharp’s cross, and set a stunning overhead kick looping beyond Hay and into the far corner.

It looked like Rodgers’ goal would be enough to seal the three points, but deep into injury time came the leveller that Smith will not want to see again in a hurry.

His initial punch from Jamie Glasgow’s corner was headed back across goal by fellow sub Paul Quinn. Michael McGowan directed the ball goalward and through the hands of the goalkeeper.

A ruck of players on the line stopped the header crossing the line, but when the ball squirted loose, McKechnie was on hand to force over the line, to seal a point.

The strike was met with jubilation, with all ten of the visitors’ players rushing to hail their scorer, a sign of how important the point was to John Coughlin’s men, who remain top of the table despite now having won just one of their last six games.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Dean Richardson (Fraser McLaren, 57), Steven Noble, Craig Tully, Reece Donaldson, Andy Rodgers (Ryan McCann, 82), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Kevin Buchan, 85), Jordon Brown, Bryan Gilfillan. Subs not used:  Conner McGlinchey, Ryan McGeever, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Redman.

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE: Grant Hay, Graeme MacGregor, Michael McGowan, Chris Townsley, Michael Bolochoweckyj, Rhys Devlin, Ross O’Donoghue (David McGauchie, 84), Michael Herd (Jamie Glasgow, 73), Kevin Turner, Jordan McKechnie, Scott Maxwell (Paul Quinn, 80). Subs not used: Jamie Tapping, Craig Gordon (gk).

Booked: Townsley.

Attendance: 545.