Grim pickings at Balmoor

PETERHEAD V STIRLING ALBION'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S SCOTT ROSS BREAKS UP A STIRLING ATTACK
PETERHEAD V STIRLING ALBION'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S SCOTT ROSS BREAKS UP A STIRLING ATTACK

From a four goal feast the week before to this goalless famine, it’s a wonder Manager Jim McInally or the Peterhead support have any hair left after this poor excuse for football entertainment.

It’s hard to believe that a team that can bang in a barrel-load one week can barely muster a serious shot on the goal of the team propping up Senior Scottish football the next.

Once again, the Blue Toon faithful had to endure 90 minutes of tedium with the only consolation that they are, somehow, still in a play-off place.

Ryan McCann was only passed fit an hour before kick-off, but Steven Noble had to drop out after the warm up having suffered the effects of a car accident the night before, new signing Conner McGlinchey taking his place.

Peterhead took 15 minutes to create anything of note, Rory McAllister chasing a long ball forward to the right of goal but he was then caught in two minds – shoot or square the ball to David Cox – with neither happening.

In the 24th minute McAllister was involved again, this time with a 30-yard free kick that he drove through the wall and forced David Crawford to dive and turn the ball away by the post for the Keeper’s only moment of serious action.

Four minutes later, McAllister and Cox exchanged passes setting up Scott McLaughlin, but he wastefully scuffed his shot to the right of goal.

Albion certainly didn’t look as poor as their league position would suggest, and whilst they rarely looked a threat over the 90 minutes, centre half Jamie Bishop twice went close with his head forcing Graeme Smith to touch the ball over and seeing a flashing effort from a corner go a fraction over the crossbar.

The second half was no better, the Blue Toon’s only effort of note a Jamie Redman header off the left hand upright followed by a good old goalmouth stramash ending with Crawford claiming the ball as his own.

Martin Bavidge came on for Andy Rodgers after 63 minutes but sustained a hamstring injured which looks likely to sideline him for a while. With Stephen McGuire and Brian Deasley no longer at the club, striking options will be limited.

Nine minutes from the end, the visitors’ Brian Allison was shown a red card for a needless, crunching challenge on Redman and in the dying moments, McAllister may have been edged off the ball illegally by Bishop but referee Paul Robertson , who had an excellent game, wasn’t impressed and the stalemate remained.

Speaking after the game, McInally lamented on pre-match problems which, ultimately, saw his side settle for a point.

“Well, there was that much going on in the game to be honest, even before the game with injury – Ryan McCann had turned up feeling his quad muscle so we had to give him a fitness test,” the manager explained, McCann tested just prior to kick-off at 2pm.

Steven Noble was also lost through injury before kick-off when the summer signing felt his back and hamstring tighten up during warm up, Noble having been in a car crash the night before.

On the game, McInally was impressed by his opponent’s early start out of the blocks, but, overall, felt the game was a drab affair.

“I thought they started the first ten minutes quite well and, you know, we huffed and puffed a wee bit, but I thought it was a pretty poor game, to be honest,” he said after the game.

McInally went on to say: “They’re an experienced side. If you look at the players in their team, they’ve played hundreds of games at a good level.”

The Blue Toon boss also expected his visitors to make it difficult for the rest of the chasing pack in the Third Division, saying: “They worked really hard, I thought they all worked hard as a team, and Stirling Albion will take points off of teams between now and the end of the season.”

Peterhead have the chance to redeem themselves on Saturday when second place Queen Park visit Balmoor. Anything less than a victory is not an option.

PETERHEAD: G. Smith, McCann, McGlinchey, Ross (Gilfillan 63), Smith, Cowie, Cox (Strachan 76), Redman, McAllister, Rodgers (Bavidge 63), McLaughlin. Subs not used: Jarvie.

Attendance: 466