Early Noble goal secures home victory for Toon

Stephen Noble (centre) is mobbed by team mates after his goal
Stephen Noble (centre) is mobbed by team mates after his goal

League one

Peterhead defender Steven Noble scored a crucial early goal that was to prove the winner in a tight contest, certainly as far the scoreline was concerned.

Rory McAllister is well marked by the Warrior's defence

Rory McAllister is well marked by the Warrior's defence

The 26-year-old struck with the game less than three minutes old for the Blue Toon’s first home league victory of the season.

Speaking after the match, Noble said: “We knew we needed to get a win if we are to keep ourselves in contention for a play-off place.

“We need to be looking to win as many home games as we can of course but especially against teams like Stenhousemuir who will also be challenging for promotion.

“I am delighted to get the win as it’s one that we put ourselves under pressure to get.

Graeme Sharp gets in his cross despite the attentions of Ciaran Summers

Graeme Sharp gets in his cross despite the attentions of Ciaran Summers

“It was good to get a goal as I don’t score often but that’s the second this season. I think that’s only my 7th in something like 250 games.

“With Graeme Sharp and I playing as wing backs this season I am further up the pitch. Sometimes it’s difficult to get forward and then you can get exposed at the back but the Manager asked me before the game to get forward and become an attacking option.”

With only two and a half minutes on the clock, Noble looped a first time shot over the head of Stenny Keeper Greg Fleming and into the postage stamp corner from a Jamie Redman cross after his first attempt had been blocked, Noble having instigated the move with a pass down the wing from
midfield.

Soon after, Andy Rodgers had to come off with what Manager Jim McInally later confirmed as a tight hamstring and before half time was reached, he was to be followed by Dean Cowie and Jamie Stevenson.

The chances that followed in the first half all fell to the home side.

After a quarter of an hour Rory McAllister ended a spell of pressure with a lob over the head of Fleming but also the crossbar.

Soon after a ball forward by Noble found McAllister and his lay off saw Stevenson curl a shot narrowly wide of the right hand post.

Fleming pulled off a fine double save just before the break, first blocking a Stevenson effort then one from the rebound by Sharp.

For all their superior height, the visitors failed to get anything on the few balls they put into the penalty area from corners and the Blue Toon were left rueing the fact their lead was slimmer than it should have been at
half time.

The second half followed a similar pattern and by the hour mark Peterhead should at least have doubled their tally.

First McAllister sent a free kick he had won himself off the defensive wall and out for a corner then Fleming pulled out a decent save tipping over a shot from Redman.

The best opportunity fell to Reece Donaldson who ballooned a header over from 6 yards after Ross Smith burst into the area near the byeline to the right of goal.

The final twenty minutes saw the Blue Toon hanging on with many tired legs in evidence but for all their possession, The Warriors failed to beat a resilient home rearguard. Indeed McAllister could have sealed the win on the break but his shot across the face of the goal faded beyond the back post.

Noble confirmed the whole team were looking forward to the trip to promotion favourites Dunfermline on Saturday but also acknowledged the challenge Peterhead are facing after stepping up from Division Two last season: “We are finding it tougher this season and you get punished for any mistakes but we are enjoying the challenge and hopefully this victory is something to build on.”

Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Smith, Ross, Donaldson, Rodgers (Brown 8), Redman, McAllister, Stevenson (McCann 43), Cowie (Gilfillan 35. Unused: Jarvie, Richardson, Strachan, McLaren

Attendance: 486