Festive joy for Toon

SCOTTISH DIV III'PETERHEAD V EAST STIRLINGSHIRE'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S DAVID COX  CELEBRATES HIS GOAL WITH ROSS SMITH
SCOTTISH DIV III'PETERHEAD V EAST STIRLINGSHIRE'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S DAVID COX CELEBRATES HIS GOAL WITH ROSS SMITH

A poor first half followed by an improved second saw Peterhead move back into fourth spot with promotion once again back on the radar.

The points rather than the performance were once again the main positive to be taken from the game but with a depleted squad to choose from, Manager Jim McInally will just be pleased to keep the Blue Toon’s impressive unbeaten home run going.

Those looking for negatives would point to several score-able chances missed after the break and long spells in the first half where lowly Shire passed the ball around their hosts, but with no cutting edge, their possession counted for nothing.

The game started positively for the home side with an early goal. Martin Bavidge received a pass from the left, at his feet, before turning his marker with ease and squeezing a shot between the Keeper and left hand post from 12 yards.

That goal should have seen Peterhead grab the game by the scruff of the neck and show they meant business but instead they sat back and allowed East Stirlingshire to dominate. Had the visitors attack possessed a goalscorer they would have been in front by half time and not their hosts.

David Greenhill saw a shot deflected wide, Jordan Holt headed over from a corner kick and Graeme Smith was called into action to save one handed from Michael Herd.

In slight fairness to the Blue Toon, top scorer Rory McAllister had to be replaced after 22 minutes as he was still suffering from a sickness bug that meant Robbie Winters made an earlier than usual appearance from the bench.

The second half was a livelier affair with Peterhead attacking their favoured end and Winters should have ended a smart move originating from a Smith kick out that Bavidge crossed to the back post only for Winters to head meekly into the arms of Grant Hay.

Just short of the hour a sweeping move forward started by Winters in midfield sent Scott McLaughlin clear but he seemed to get a nose bleed as the goal loomed and he opted to pass rather than shoot taking David Cox as well as the fans by surprise with his squared ball and the chance was gone.

Winters was the creator again in the 69th minute setting up Bavidge who saw his shot blocked then, just when it seemed they would be left to hang on to a slender lead, Peterhead scored a second to seal the win.

It was made and created by the nippy Cox who played a one-two with Ryan Strachan before curling a shot past Hay from the edge of the penalty area for a fine goal.

The next two matches will be crucial for the play-off hopes of Peterhead with a tricky trip to Elgin in midweek followed by the visit to Balmoor of Montrose on Saturday.

The outcome of these games will be a good indicator of whether the Blue Toon are worthy contenders for a top four spot.

PETERHEAD: G SMITH, COWIE, NOBLE, MCCANN (SHARP 64), R SMITH, STRACHAN, COX, REDMAN, MCALLISTER (WINTERS 22)), BAVIDGE (MCGUIRE 76)) MCLAUGHLIN SUBS NOT USED – JARVIE

Attendance - 446