Club News

The Blue Toon finally came good on league duty after coming from behind to defeat previously unbeaten leaders East Stirlingshire at Ochilview.

But it wasn’t plain sailing, as Shire took an early lead thanks to Paul Quinn’s penalty. It was into the second half before the Blue Toon hit back through Jordon Brown, but further goals from Jamie Redman and on loan duo Stephen O’Neill and Ryan McGeever sealed the win.

With Graeme Sharp and Bryan Gilfillan otherwise engaged, O’Neill and Conner McGlinchey came into the Blue Toon side, the only changes from the draw against Elgin City a week earlier.

But they couldn’t have had a worse start, falling behind after just 6 minutes. McGeever clumsily challenged Kevin Turner from Chris Townsley’s long ball, and though it was perhaps on the soft side, referee David Somers saw enough to point to the spot.

Quinn sent Graeme Smith the wrong way from 12 yards, and John Coughlin’s side were in front. Peterhead were determined to make amends for their slow start to the season, however, and quickly went in search of an equaliser.

McGlinchey’s long ball out of defence found the ever-dangerous Rory McAllister on the edge of the Shire box, but the striker saw his shot on the turn fly narrowly wide.

A Smith free-kick flicked on by Redman almost allowed David Cox in on goal, but goalkeeper Grant Hay was quickly off his line to smother the danger.

The Blue Toon had something of a claim for a penalty of their own when McAllister seemed to be hauled down by an off-balance Townsley as they jostled for O’Neill’s ball over the top. This time the referee was not moved by the claim, and play continued.

Shire immediately broke and Quinn took on a left-foot half-volley, but Smith was comfortable in collecting the effort. It was into the second half before Peterhead finally got the leveller their play had merited.

Redman’s cross from the right found Fraser McLaren, who teed up substitute Andy Rodgers. The ex-Shire man saw his shot blocked, but Brown was well-placed to step onto the ball and fire low past Hay.

And from there, the floodgates opened. Captain Steven Noble saw a shot blocked after a half-cleared O’Neill corner. Peterhead were forced to start again, and Noble’s deep cross was bundled over the line by Redman at the back post.

Massive holes were becoming apparent in the home rearguard, and the third goal was a simple as can be. Graeme MacGregor beat McLaren to Smith’s ball out of defence, but his clearance fell to O’Neill on the half-way line.

He picked out McAllister, and with the striker occupying Townsley and MacGregor slow to tuck in, the on-loan Aberdeen midfielder was sent clean through on goal by the return pass, and calmly beat Hay at his near post.

The fourth goal came after 81 minutes, and it was McGeever who made up for his first-half indiscretion in netting his second goal in as many games for the Blue Toon.

Scott Ross saw his header from O’Neill’s corner hacked off the line. Redman put the ball back into the danger zone, and a poked clearance fell neatly to McGeever who struck low and left-footed into the bottom corner of the net.

The win is a welcome boost to a side who have been architects of their own problems so far this term, with individual errors helping the goals against column in two league draws and a defeat in the three games prior to this.

Manager Jim McInally will be looking for the confidence this win provides to help his side move in the right direction.

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE: Grant Hay, Graeme MacGregor, Michael McGowan, Chris Townsley, Michael Bolochoweckyj, Iain Thomson, Jordan McKechnie (Scott Maxwell, 73), David Greenhill (Ross O’Donoghue, 73), Kevin Turner, Paul Quinn, Max Wright (Jamie Glasgow, 73). Subs not used: Ricky Miller, Conor Kelly, David McCaughie, Craig Gordon (gk).

Booked: MacGregor, McKechnie.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Conner McGlinchey, Steven Noble, Ryan McGeever, Scott Ross, Stephen O’Neill, David Cox (Andy Rodgers, 57), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Kevin Buchan, 82), Jordon Brown, Fraser McLaren (Dean Richardson, 87). Subs not used: Jake Fitzgerald, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cox, Brown, McAllister.

Attendance: 286

Additional Info

  • Home Team East Stirling 1
  • Away Team Peterhead 4
  • Win/Draw/Lost Win

Peterhead might have avoided defeat in the first North Derby of the season, but they continued the theme of the early season by making things hard for themselves against a fired-up Elgin City side.

The visitors had travelled to Balmoor looking to make a positive impression after going down 5-1 to Steve Paterson’s Formartine United in midweek, while Jim McInally’s side also went out of the Ramsdens Cup at the hands of Stenhousemuir.

They were 2-0 up through former Peterhead strikers Dennis Wyness and Craig Gunn, but Blue Toon debutant Ryan McGeever and midfielder Bryan Gilfillan netted to earn a point.

Ryan McGeever had a mixed debut

McGeever had been signed on loan from Falkirk prior to the match, and he started alongside Scott Ross in the centre of defence. Fellow loan signing Stephen O’Neill was on the bench alongside Ryan Strachan, who made way for McGeever.

Rory McAllister came back into the Blue Toon side following his well-publicised absence, though Dean Cowie missed out due to work commitments.

The new look front pairing of McAllister and Fraser McLaren showed early signs of promise, as the pair linked up following Jamie Redman’s pass, but McAllister’s shot was comfortably dealt with by another former Peterhead man in the Elgin City ranks, Ray Jellema.

However it was the visitors who drew first blood, and it was all too simple for Ross Jack’s side.

Ross initially did well to challenge Shane Sutherland after the former Caley Thistle man had neatly controlled a long, angled pass from Ross McKinnon, but Sutherland kept his composure to cut back for Wyness who had the simplest of tasks to touch home from close range.

Stung into action, the Blue Toon pressed forward a minute later, but Jellema was off his line quickly to turn David Cox’s low effort wide of the post, after a well-constructed attack.

On the half-hour, Elgin could have extended their lead as David Niven peeled off his man to get on the end of a McKinnon free-kick, but his low shot was blocked by the legs of Graeme Smith in the home goal.

The determination of Wyness saw him prod a ball through to Sutherland, but despite the youngster getting the ball out from between his legs, his shot was again saved by Smith.

At the other end, Jordon Brown tested Jellema with a 20 yard drive which the former Alloa goalkeeper beat away, McAllister scooping over the ball after the rebound had fallen to him.

Jellema was tested again shortly before the interval. McLaren crossed from the left, McAllister headed back across goal, and Brown directed his header towards target, the goalkeeper stretching high to his left to claw the effort away.

McAllister threatened soon after the interval, but Peterhead again had Smith to thank for keeping them in the game when he again saved well from Niven after the City skipper had thrown himself at Gunn’s cross.

But the keeper was powerless to prevent Gunn extending the lead after 77 minutes, and it was not a moment McGeever will want to re-live.

The 18-year old was short with his pass-back towards Smith, and Gunn took full advantage, homing in on Smith and sliding a low effort past the goalkeeper.

McGeever was clearly keen to atone for his error, and did so just two minutes later. He found himself in space at the back post from a Cox corner, and was able to power a header into the ground and high into the net.

That proved encouragement for the Blue Toon, and McGeever was again involved as they levelled the scores.

Cox sent a free-kick deep to the far post. It was partially cleared, but McGeever hooked across goal for McAllister, whose knock-down was turned home by Gilfillan.

And they could even have won it in the final minute. McAllister found Graeme Sharp wide on the right, and his shot was turned wide by the touch of McLaren.

It was another frustrating outing for Peterhead, who showed great character to get back into the game, but will need to stop giving away free goals if they want to take anything against unbeaten league leaders East Stirling next Saturday.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Ryan McGeever, Scott Ross, Bryan Gilfillan, David Cox, Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Jordon Brown (Stephen O’Neill, 60), Fraser McLaren. Subs not used: Ryan Strachan, Conner McGlinchey, Dean Richardson, Kevin Buchan, Jake Fitzgerald, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: McAllister.

ELGIN CITY: Ray Jellema, David Niven, Trialist, Sean Crighton, Jamie Diff, Graeme Beveridge, Craig Gunn, Brian Cameron, Dennis Wyness, Shane Sutherland, Ross McKinnon. Subs not used: Paul Harkins, Ciaran Maclean, Sam Urquhart, Adam Macleod, Connor Macaulay, Paul McMullan, Stewart Black (gk).

Booked: Trialist, Gunn.

Attendance: 543.

Additional Info

  • Home Team Peterhead 2
  • Away Team Elgin City 2
  • Win/Draw/Lost Draw

Peterhead lost out to ten-man League One side Stenhousemuir in the Second Round of the Ramsdens Cup – and again there was a feeling that Jim McInally’s side had shot themselves in the foot.

A glorious David Cox strike had the Blue Toon ahead midway through the first half, but Cox’s mistake led to a leveller for the visitors.

The Blue Toon had a golden chance to win the game when ex-Toon man Ross Smith was sent packing in giving away an injury-time penalty, but Ryan Strachan’s spot kick was saved and Stenny went on to win thanks to extra-time goals goals from Darren Smith and Ross McNeil.

With Rory McAllister serving the second of a two-game club suspension, and Andy Rodgers the first of a three-match SFA suspension for his red card on Saturday, Fraser McLaren was handed his first start up front, in place of Ryan McCann.

It was a side otherwise unchanged from the defeat to Stirling Albion, although there was a change of formation with Bryan Gilfillan starting in midfield having been part of a five-man defence at the weekend.


It was the visitors who were quicker out of the trap and, after eight minutes, striker John Gemmell took advantage of a mix-up between Strachan and Scott Ross to get a shot away, but from 16 yards he hit wide of the target.

A couple of minutes later, Jordon Brown sent an acrobatic volley wide of Chris Smith’s right-hand post after Jamie Redman had headed down Steven Noble’s free-kick from the left.

Peterhead were beginning to settle into the game after a cagey start, and Redman deserved better from the next opportunity.

Ross lifted the ball forward, and Redman went past three Warriors defenders before directing a low, left-footed shot towards the bottom corner of the goal, only for Chris Smith to get down smartly to turn round the post.

Nobody could argue, on the balance of play, that the home side didn’t deserve their opener when it came – and what a goal it was.

Redman was again involved, flicking on a Graeme Smith goal kick for McLaren. He touched the ball to Brown, who lofted a superb pass over the head of Eddie Malone to Cox. The winger beat the offside trap, and raced in before lifting the ball high into the far top corner of the net.

Strachan became the first name in the book when he brought down Sean Dickson on the edge of the area. Gemmell took the resultant free-kick, but hit straight into the wall. It was, though, a warning shot from the ‘The Beast’.

And there was another soon after. He plucked a Chris Smith clearance out of the air and combined with Dickson before unloading from the edge of the ‘D’. Graeme Smith in the Peterhead goal was beaten, but the ball cannoned back off the upright.

There was confusion eight minutes from the break as referee Mat Northcroft penalised Malone for a backpass to goalkeeper Smith. Malone had clearly used his knee, a fact pointed out by the stand-side assistant, and play resumed with a drop-ball, which McLaren sportingly returned to Chris Smith.

The final chance of the first-half saw Gilfillan pick out the run of McLaren with a fine ball over the top. The ex-Berwick Rangers man brought it down well but flashed his effort across the face of goal.

There were no changes at the interval, but Craig Anderson lasted only two minutes of the second half before being withdrawn for McNeil, Anderson appearing to suffer a calf strain.

McLaren was causing problems in attack, and he picked off a Darren Smith pass before heading for the right wing. After beating the recovering Smith, he rolled a low pass into the path of Brown but the former Aberdeen man couldn’t direct his effort on target.

And Peterhead were punished for not taking their chances, when Gemmell capitalised on Cox’s mistake after 63 minutes.

Starved of options in midfield, the former Kilmarnock man was a little short in his pass-back to Graeme Smith and Gemmell’s run was enough for the goalkeeper to take his eye off the ball. Both missed it, but Gemmell reacted first to turn into the empty net.

Stenny had been the better side in the second half up until that point, but Peterhead were jolted into life and should have won the game in injury time.

Noble played a fine ball up the left channel for McLaren to run onto. He raced onto the ball and invited a clumsy challenge of Ross Smith. Smith took the bait, and referee Northcroft was left with no choice but to point to the spot, and dismiss Smith for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

With McAllister unavailable, it was Ryan Strachan who stepped up to the spot, but the former Celtic man sent his spot kick weakly to the left of Chris Smith, and the former St Mirren man saved comfortably.

If the penalty miss was a blow, the Blue Toon were utterly shell-shocked when they fell behind three minutes into extra-time.

It was a goal of the simplest nature. Chris Smith launched a free-kick into the far corner of the pitch. Gemmell peeled off his man and drilled a low cross across goal, and Darren Smith slid in to turn home from all of a yard, completing the triumvirate of Smith’s playing key roles in the game.

It could have been three after Brown was short with a ball intended for Ross. Sean Higgins stole in and slid a pass to Gemmell, but the striker hit wide of the target. Down 2-1 against ten men in extra-time of a cup-tie, McInally had thrown men forward in droves.

Graeme Sharp rolled back the years to reprise the left-wing role that was once his, and it almost paid dividends . He left Brown Ferguson for dead and sent a teasing ball to the near post from the bye-line, but McLaren was off-target with his header.

Patient play on the left saw Noble combine with McLaren before teeing up Brown. The midfielder worked the ball onto his left foot before sending in a low shot which deflected past the upright off sub Daniel Nimmo.

As more and more Peterhead men were thrown forward – they ended the match with just two men in defence – they became more susceptible to the counter attack, and in injury-time at the end of extra-time, they were caught out.

Dickson picked out the unmarked substitute McNeil from a throw-in, and the youngster went past McCann and Strachan before slotting past the unprotected Smith to wrap things up.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Ryan Strachan, Scott Ross, Dean Cowie (Conner McGlinchey, 70), David Cox (Kevin Buchan, 79), Jamie Redman, Fraser McLaren, Jordon Brown, Bryan Gilfillan (Ryan McCann, 79). Subs not used: Dean Richardson, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Strachan, Cowie, Brown, Buchan.

STENHOUSEMUIR: Chris Smith, Brown Ferguson (Robbie Duncan, 112), Alan Lawson (Daniel Nimmo, 91), Ross Smith, Eddie Malone, Craig Anderson (Ross McNeil, 47), Sean Dickson, Sean Lynch, John Gemmell, Sean Higgins, Darren Smith. Subs not used: Errol Douglas, Dean Shaw (gk).

Booked: R. Smith, Malone. Sent off: R. Smith.

Attendance: 473

Additional Info

  • Home Team Peterhead 1
  • Away Team Stenhousemuir 3
  • Win/Draw/Lost Loss

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.

Additional Info

  • Home Team Stirling Albion 2
  • Away Team Peterhead 0
  • Win/Draw/Lost Loss

Peterhead twice had to come from behind to kick off their league campaign with a draw at home to Annan Athletic – but in the end could have won the game against Jim Chapman’s side.

David Hopkirk twice put the visitors ahead but former Annan pair Bryan Gilfillan and David Cox each found the net against their former club to secure the points.

Missing Ryan Strachan through suspension, Scott Ross was called back into action in the centre of defence, while Bryan Gilfillan started in place of the injured Ryan McCann.

The first real effort in anger came from the boot of McAllister. He brought down Jamie Redman’s flick on his knee and struck a left-footed volley on the spin, the shot spinning up and over the bar.

Annan looked a threat, and after Peter Weatherson had seen a shot turned away for a corner. From the set piece, the ball was cleared as far as Matty Flynn, and his driven effort from 20-yards was blocked by Graeme Sharp.

Flynn was involved again as the visitors took the lead after 24 minutes. He sent a great ball over the top, and Hopkirk got in front of Scott Ross to take the ball round Graeme Smith and slide into the net.

Cox celebrates his goal

Brown missed a gilt-edged change to level the scores when McAllister burst clear on the left, and outbattled Annan full-back Steven Black, before squaring for the former Dons youngster, who somehow hit wide from eight yards.

Within sixty seconds, Ross was left to breathe a sigh of relief. He and Hopkirk collided just outside the area as they chased another long ball out of defence, but referee Kevin Graham deemed that it had been an accidental collision rather than a foul.

After the restart, Peterhead looked a different team, and they came mighty close to levelling when Gilfillan knocked down a McAllister pass for Brown on the edge of the area, the young midfielder unleashing a superb volleyed strike that fizzed narrowly wide.

It was the home side who were making all the running at this point, and they managed to get themselves level a minute later.

Cox hung a corner up to the back post, and utility man Gilfillan climbed up and over McAllister at the back post to squeeze a header past Alex Mitchell in the visitors’ goal.

With the flow of play, it seemed the goal would provide a platform from which the Blue Toon could build, but their good work was undone within a minute, and again it was a soft goal to lose.

From the kick-off, Annan worked the ball back to the experienced Weatherson. He lifted the ball over the top, and Hopkirk beat the onrushing Smith to the ball before lofting delightfully over the stricken goalkeeper and into the net.

Peterhead could have been back on level terms when Weatherson sliced a clearance up in the air, just after the hour mark. Mitchell would have been within his rights to catch the ball as there was certainly no intent to play a pass-back, but the goalkeeper opted to deal with the situation with his feet.

He, too, sliced the ball under pressure from McAllister, and was delighted to grasp the ball as it came back at him off the inside of his own upright. Blushes spared all round.

Peterhead brought on former Gretna and Berwick winger Fraser McLaren as a trialist with 25 minutes left, as they threw men forward in a bid to rescue the game. That meant Gilfillan dropped into the back four, with Steven Noble returning to his more familiar left-back slot.

However, the visitors should have tied the match up after 73 minutes, and it would have been a self-inflicted wound. Weatherson’s long ball should have been dealt with by Graeme Sharp, but he was caught in possession by Hopkirk. The striker homed in on goal but unselfishly opted to play in Kenny Mackay, who saw his shot saved by Smith in the Peterhead goal.

The Blue Toon were running short of defenders though; Scott Ross suffered cramp and had to be replaced by Andy Rodgers, with Jamie Redman dropping to the heart of defence alongside Gilfillan. Then Noble went off with an ankle knock, to be replaced by Dean Richardson.

And Richardson was involved in the equaliser with five minutes remaining. He slid a ball up the channel to McAllister, who laid the ball into the path of Cox.

The former Annan striker cut inside, and from the edge of the area he drilled a low shot beyond Mitchell, finding the bottom-left corner of the net.

They had chances to win it. McLaren raced in from the right to meet Richardson’s deep cross with a first-time strike, but taking the ball awkwardly with his left-foot, the winger turned over the bar.

With almost the last kick of the ball, McAllister should have found the net. Rodgers flicked on a Sharp cross, and the former Brechin man set himself, only to scuff his shot wide of the far post.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Conner McGlinchey (Trialist, 66), Scott Ross (Andy Rodgers, 74), Steven Noble (Dean Richardson, 80), Dean Cowie, David Cox, Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Jordon Brown, Bryan Gilfillan. Subs not used: Kevin Buchan, Jake Fitzgerald, Paul Jarvie (gk).

ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Iain Chisholm, Peter Bradley, Steven Black, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan, Kenny Mackay (Chris Jardine, 79), Matty Flynn, Peter Weatherson, David Hopkirk, Ally Love. Subs not used: Kieran Brannan, Scott Davidson, Jordan Moffat, Danny Graham, Kieran McCrudden, Kenny Arthur (gk).

Booked: Steven Black.

Attendance: 504.

Additional Info

  • Home Team Peterhead 2
  • Away Team Annan Ath 2
  • Win/Draw/Lost Draw

Alloa midfielder Ryan McCord played a key role as his Scottish Championship side eventually overcame Peterhead in a match that was far closer than the two-division gap between the sides would have suggested.

McCord opened the scoring early in the second half from the penalty spot, and it was from his free-kick that former Hearts striker Andy Kirk headed home the killer second in the dying stages.

With Scott Ross missing through injury, it was a makeshift Peterhead defence that took to the field. Captain Steven Noble moved to centre-back and Conner McGlinchey stepped in to fill his more familiar left-back role.

The Blue Toon were otherwise unchanged from the side that had overcome Brechin City on Ramsdens Cup duty last week. With the sides having met in pre-season, Jim McInally’s men had an inkling of what to expect from a side Paul Hartley has developed well over the past couple of seasons.

Conner McGlinchey in possession

They immediately set out to stop the visitors stroking the ball around the park, and were aided by a strong wind blowing over Balmoor.

With that wind behind them, Peterhead were first to threaten. Jamie Redman headed a high ball into the path of Jordon Brown, and the former Aberdeen youngster flashed a snap-shot narrowly wide of the goal.

Brown was involved again after 20 minutes. McGlinchey combined with Rory McAllister before Graeme Holmes’ tackle sent the ball looping towards the back post. Brown was on hand to win the header, but sent his effort over the bar.

It had been a first half of few chances but the Wasps were claiming for a penalty ten minutes before the interval.

On-loan Aberdeen striker Declan McManus volleyed acrobatically after Stephen Simmons had knocked down McCord’s free-kick, and the ball seemed to come off the arm of Ryan Strachan. McManus had been so close to the former Celtic man, though, that any penalty given would have been incredibly harsh.

The claim perhaps stuck in the mind of referee David Somers, though, as the Wasps were awarded a penalty shortly after half-time.

Graeme Sharp’s attempted clearance was charged down by Kevin Cawley, and he slipped the ball into the path of McCord. Jamie Redman tracked the run and got close to the former Dundee United man, but there appeared to be little contact as McCord fell to the ground.

Somers felt there was enough, though, and pointed to the spot. McCord himself stepped up to the mark, and rolled the ball low into the net as Smith guessed the opposite way.

And the referee caused further misery for the home support when he decided that a push by Alloa goalkeeper Scott Bain on Andy Rodgers merited only a yellow card.

Rodgers had chased a loose ball into the area, but although he was perfectly entitled to challenge for the ball, Bain reacted angrily. The pair came together and the goalkeeper clearly sent the striker tumbling. The outcome was that both were booked, along with Simmons, who had made his feelings clear.

Four minutes later, Rodgers turned a fine pass into the path of McAllister, who saw his effort deflected away for a corner. David Cox swung the set piece in, and McAllister got his head to the cross, but sent his effort over the bar.

But the Championship side would extend their lead with seven minutes of the match remaining.

McCord sent a left-wing free-kick towards the back post, where Kirk got a run on Blue Toon substitute Bryan Gilfillan, and sent a header squirming beyond the unfortunate Smith.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Conner McGlinchey, Ryan Strachan, Steven Noble, Dean Cowie (Bryan Gilfillan, 63), David Cox (Kevin Buchan, 79), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Jordon Brown, Ryan McCann (Andy Rodgers, 63). Subs not used: Richardson, Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cowie, McCann, Redman, McAllister, Rodgers.

ALLOA ATHLETIC: Scott Bain, Michael Doyle, James Creaney, Ben Gordon, Daryll Meggatt, Stephen Simmons, Kevin Cawley, Ryan McCord, Andy Kirk, Graeme Holmes (Jonathan Tiffoney, 65), Declan McManus. Subs not used: Eddie Ferns, Michael Hardie, Nathan Moore, Craig McDowall (gk).

Booked: McManus, Bain, Simmons.

Attendance: 429.

Additional Info

  • Home Team Peterhead 0
  • Away Team Alloa Athletic 2
  • Win/Draw/Lost Loss
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