No festive cheer as Blue Toon slump to defeat

Peterhead's Dean Cowie is blocked by Jackson Longridge.
Peterhead's Dean Cowie is blocked by Jackson Longridge.

A hefty defeat from an impressive Stranraer side meant there was little festivecheer around Balmoor Stadium come the final whistle as far as the home side were concerned.

While the visitors celebrated a comfortable victory with their Christmas night out to look forward to after they headed south, the Peterhead fans who had made the effort to turn out in the morning to help clear a layer of overnight snow from the pitch must have wondered if they should have bothered.

Jamie Stevenson celebrates his opener with Rory McAllister.

Jamie Stevenson celebrates his opener with Rory McAllister.

Missing central defenders Scott Ross and Ross Smith, pre-match fears were realised as manager Jim McInally admitted that several of the goals were given away cheaply but he did praise his side’s never say die attitude although this sadly failed to make up for his shot shy troops efforts when the goal was in their sights.

The match started brightly for the Blue Toon with a well worked goal after just four minutes.

The ball was played carefully though midfield from the back, father-to-be Rory McAllister played a diagonal ball into the path of Jamie Stevenson and he curled a beaut into the net by the right had post from a couple of yards inside the penalty area.

Stranraer are one of Scotland’s form sides at the moment and they showed no signs of being deflated after that early setback and they worked their way back into the game meaning it was no surprise when they leveled after 15 minutes.

Jamie Redman clears from Stephen Stirling.

Jamie Redman clears from Stephen Stirling.

It was a soft one to concede though, a Chris Aitken free kick from the byeline to the right of goal going straight to the head of the unchallenged defender Frank McKeown who flung himself at the ball to score from six yards out.

The Blue Toon could have re-taken the lead, McAllister sadly having one of those

days when nothing went right when he tried to score. He dribbled to the byeline to the left of goal after 27 minutes only to see his subsequent shot deflected over before an attempted chip shot drifted over.

Peterhead continued to look in the mood early on after the break with a Stevenson free kick well saved by David Mitchell diving to his right then McAllister sent a shot agonizingly wide after some nice build up play.

This familiar pattern of chances not taken, especially against the better sides usually only has one outcome and the beginning of the end began just after the hour mark.

A long kick upfield by Mitchell lead to the ball being worked down the right where substitute Jamie Longworth showed more desire than the home defence to cut the ball from the byeline on the right and Grant Gallagher clipped the ball home from beside the near post.

It was game over on 70 minutes, the suitably named Sean Winter crossing from the right and Craig Malcolm had an easy job to nod in from a couple of yards out.

Five minutes later it threatened to get embarrassing. Casual defending saw the ball allowed to bounce around the penalty area and Aitken shot the loose ball into the roof of the net to round off an emphatic victory.

It doesn’t get any easier in the coming three weeks for the Blue Toon. On Saturday they head to full-timers Morton before hosting Forfar then travelling to promotion favourites Dunfermline.

PETERHEAD: Smith, Kerr, Noble, Strachan, Gilfillan (Donaldson 72), Cowie, Millar (Rodgers 72), Redman, McAllister, Stevenson, Cox (Brown 83). Subs (unused): Jarvie, Richardson.

Attendance: 428