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10-man Peterhead beaten by Forfar in play-off final first leg

Wed 17 May 2017




by Glenn Moir


Peterhead will need to overturn a deficit to stay in League 1 after letting slip a first half lead at Forfar in the Play-off Final 1st leg.

Rory McAllister gave the Blue Toon the perfect start with an early goal but they lost control of the match when Michael McMullin was controverisally sent off five minutes after the interval.

The on loan Partick youngster went down under a challenge in the box but referee Stephen Finnie cautioned the defender for simulation and, having already been booked in the first period, was dismissed.

Forfar midfielder Martyn Fotheringham made Peterhead pay moments later by netting a stunning equaliser and then Michael Travis headed Gary Bollan's team in front with 15 minutes remaining.

The official's decision to send off McMullin was, without question, the turning point and it leaves Jim McInally's men with an uphill task on Saturday.

There were a couple of changes from the Blue Toon team that won comprehensively against Montrose, with the artificial surface in Angus dictating that SImon Ferry and Nicky RIley dropped down to the bench. In came Jamie Redman and Grant Anderson.

It did not take long for Peterhead to go in front. Three minutes in fact. McAllister with a close range finish after Forfar switched off at a corner. Jamie Stevenson delivered it and McAllister got to the ball ahead of his marker to sweep home a volley from just a few yards out.

Stevenson nearly put the visitors two goals up in the 10th minute with a well-taken 25 yard free-kick, which was curling into the top corner until Grant Adam clawed the ball to safety.

Another Stevenson corner caused mayhem in the Forfar box in the 15th minute and as the ball found its way to the back post, Chris McLaughlin was able to scramble clear just ahead of Grant Anderson, who was ready to prod in.

Forfar did conjure up a chance from a set-piece in the 20th minute, Danny Denholm sending in a free-kick for Thomas O'Brien, who could not direct his back post header on target.

Peterhead goalkeeper Graeme Smith had to pull off an excellent save to deny David Cox an equalising goal against his former club in the 36th minute. Cox swivelled and hit a left foot shot from the edge of the box but Smith dived to his left to keep the ball out.

It was a comfortable first half for the visitors but it all changed when they were reduced to 10 men five minutes into the second half after McMullin was harshly red carded.

After being cautioned in the first period for pulling back Cox, the 20 year old picked up a second yellow card for simulation after falling in the penalty area under pressure from Jamie Bain.  There appeared to be contact but the whistler was having none of it and gave McMullin his marching orders.

Forfar did not take long to cash in on their numerical advantage as Fotheringham smashed in a sublime leveller in the 54th minute. The Loons midfielder received a pass about 25 yards out and unleashed a superb strike past Smith and into the top corner.

It was a rearguard action from Peterhead afterwards as the hosts looked for a second.

Smith did well to turn behind an O'Brien drive but Forfar would not be denied in the 75th minute. O'Brien curled in a cross to the back post and Travis stooped to head home from six yards.

There were further chances for Forfar in the closing minutes as substitute Josh Peters volleyed over from a tight angle and then Cox drilled wide but Peterhead prevented further bleeding to stay in the tie.