Some late drama in Peterhead’s 1-1 draw with East Stirling saw them denied a win that would have taken them within a point of the visitors at the top of League Two, writes Jim Irving.
With the clock showing four minutes of added time, East Stirlingshire scrambled an equaliser that they probably deserved in a match that the Blue Toon could easily have had wrapped up by half time.
From the home point of view, a spectacular goal that was worthy of being a winner and a very impressive debut by 19 year old defender Reece Donaldson, on loan from Raith Rovers, were the highlights in another home match that should have seen full points bagged by Peterhead.
What is becoming clear is that there is little between the majority of sides in the Division and any team that can put together a run of victories will soon be heading towards the play-off zone.
The Blue Toon were without Dean Cowie who was attending a wedding but Fraser McLaren was available after suspension.
The star of the show though was man of the match Donaldson who strolled through the game showing poise and assurance beyond his years and with injured players hopefully on the mend, the Peterhead back line should look a solid unit in the coming weeks and months.
The home side could easily have been in the driving seat by the break.
Rory McAllister twice had decent chances, first after being sent clear by Dean Richardson but his shot from the edge of the penalty area went into the turf and wide.
Soon after a volley from a Graeme Sharp throw in was a whisker past the right hand post.
McAllister was also to put a header close as well but the best opportunity fell to Jordan Brown after 16 minutes.
Andy Rodgers picked him out with a pinpoint cross from the right wing and his header from 6 yards looked a goal, and should have been, but Grant Hay in the visitors’ goal stuck out his right leg to deny Brown.
East Stirling passed the ball around well but rarely looked capable of scoring and a couple of half chances from their main threat, Kevin Turner, were the nearest they came in the first half.
The second half was a livelier affair with the visitors first to strike with a training ground free kick routine that saw the ball dinked over the defensive wall by Scott Maxwell and Turner volleying into the arms of Graeme Smith.
McLaren came on to replace Richardson after 57 minutes and the more attacking approach looked a threat without producing much action in front of goal until the 76th minute when Balmoor was brought to its feet.
Sharp sent a cross into the area following a throw in and from almost on the penalty spot Rodgers contorted his body to send a text book bicycle kick high into the net for a goal of the season contender.
Unfortunately, as so often has been the case, Peterhead were left hanging on by their fingertips as the game drew to a close and the inevitable leveller was scored four minutes into added time.
A corner from the left wasn’t dealt with by Smith at the first attempt or indeed again when the ball was subsequently sent into the six yard box and after an almighty stramash, Jordan McKechnie poked the ball into the net by the left hand post sparking scenes of wild celebration on and off the pitch from all associated with East Stirling.
After the match McInally said: “Graeme Smith has made a terrible mistake, probably twice, right at the end and he has come in an apologised.
“However, he has saved us a lot of times in the past.
“It was the fourth added minute and I don’t know where all that stoppage time came from because the only time-wasting was from the Shire when the score was still 0-0
“But it was not the referee’s fault as far as the goal went. It was a poor one for us to concede and I don’t think we played well enough. We need to do better.”
Peterhead - Smith, Sharp, Richardson (McLaren 57), Noble, Tully, Donaldson, Rodgers, (McCann 82), Redman, McAllister (Buchan 85), Brown, Gilfillan
Unused; Jarvie (GK), McGlinchey, McGeever;
Ref – John McKendrick
Attendance – 545