Blue Toon bounce back to fire five past Airdrie

WHAT a difference 72 hours can make!

After one of the team’s most abject performances in recent times in the humiliation by Brechin, a completely different Blue Toon team turned up to sweep aside Airdrie in this re-arranged match.

Sharp and incisive, this was a promotion chasing display that left everyone, including under-fire Manager Neale Cooper, wondering why his side have failed to produce this form on all but a few occasions this season.

There were several reasons. Scott Ross came in and excelled at the heart of the defence alongside Bobby Mann. Davie Donald had an exceptional game, Graeme Sharp turned in an all too rare dynamic display down the wing, Ryan Strachan dominated the midfield whilst up front Davie Ross was unstoppable ably backed up by an on fire Nicky Clark.

Cooper said he had called in several players individually before kick off to tell them what he expected of them and it certainly worked with Peterhead attacking from the word go.

After just three minutes Donald burst down the right, Martin Bavidge took over and squared the ball to the back post where Sharp ghosted in to sidefoot home from close range for a perfect start.

More could have followed. After a quarter of an hour a Strachan free kick was headed on by Scott Ross but saved by keeper Mark Ridgers.

Davie Ross sent a shot dipping over before he sent over a low cross from the right after 39 minutes. It was dummied by Sharp and fired home in style by Clark.

Incredibly, a minute before half time it was three. Bavidge chased a lost cause down the right towards the corner flag. He slipped the ball in to Davie Ross who turned and shot into the far corner in one motion.

Airdrie looked lively without troubling the home defence but pulled a goal back five minutes after the restart, a Jamie Stevenson free kick picking out the head of the unchallenged Scott Gemmell.

Any chance of a comeback was snuffed out in the 70th minute when a moment of insanity from Paul Lovering saw him stamp on Clark after fouling him out on the wing and the Airdrie defender made the referees decision an easy one.

The Blue Toon always looked capable of scoring again which they did 11 minutes from the end, Donald forcing his way into the penalty area and Davie Ross swivelled to shoot and score his second.

In added time a Donald shot was deflected into the net at the near post for an own goal by Ryan McCord to round off an excellent nights work.

The only question on the mind of Neale Cooper is how to get this level of commitment from his misfiring side on a regular basis. His future and that of many of the players will rest on the answer.

PETERHEAD: Bateman, Donald, Smith, Mann (MacDonald 87), S. Ross, McVitie, Sharp, Clark (Campbell 86), Bavidge (Gethins 77), Strachan, D. Ross. Subs (not used): Wilson, Hepburn.

ATTENDANCE: 312