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Blue Toon forced to settle for Balmoor draw

Sun 12 Feb 2017


By Glenn Moir


A point apiece was not a great outcome for Peterhead or Albion Rovers, who remain eighth and seventh respectively in League 1.

Reeling in the chasing promotion play-off pack was a realistic prospect for the Blue Toon at half time thanks to Rory McAllister's opener.

But by full-time, following Ross Stewart's equaliser, Jim McInally's men were more concerned by the results of the bottom two clubs, Stranraer and Stenhousemuir.

What frustrated the Balmoor manager most was how his team tailed off after letting slip their lead, much like last week at Airdrie.

Before the break, Peterhead were in relative control and deservedly went in front through McAllister's calm and composed finish.

But Darren Young's men were much better in the second period and, going on chances, ought to have gone back down the road with all three points.

Scott Ross spurned a great opportunity in the 20th minute, the defender, operating at full-back, getting on the end of Jamie Stevenson's corner only to send his free header wide of the target.

Without testing the visiting goalkeeper too often, Peterhead had the upper hand and they made the breakthrough in the 37th minute. Scott Brown's throughball was not dealt with by the Rovers rearguard and McAllister kept his cool to slot in his 18th goal of the season.

Back came Albion though. The Coatbridge club levelled in the 56th minute through Stewart, who swept in Ross Davidson's cutback from close range after the home defence had failed to clear the danger.

Although Ryan Strachan tested the Rovers goalscorer's namesake with a shot from distance, Peterhead had plenty of defending to do in the last half hour.

Not long after equalising, Stewart rattled the woodwork with a shot from just inside the penalty area and then on loan Celtic teenager Theo Archibald, who was a Peterhead signing target last month, tested Graeme Smith with a well-struck 25 yard shot.

Michael McMullin had another steady game at the heart of the Blue Toon defence but a moment of inexperience from the Partick youngster in the 81st minute presented a great chance for Stewart, who was thwarted by the diving Smith.

With time running out, Peterhead substitute Allan Smith saw an effort comfortably saved by the Albion goalkeeper before Mick Dunlop, down the other end, powered a back post header from Archibald's corner wide of the target.

A share of the spoils means both teams stay level on points but Albion, perhaps crucially, have two games in hand.