With the Division Two title in the bag, Peterhead showed why they are the best of the bunch with a confident and comprehensive win over Albion Rovers who played all but 20 minutes of the game with ten men.
The Blue Toon were applauded onto the pitch by the visitors although the presentation of the trophy won’t take place until Saturdays match with Stirling Albion where a season unbeaten at home will be the target of Jim McInally’s side.
Missing the suspended Brian Gilfillan and rested Dean Cowie and Andy Rodgers, an uneventful first 18 minutes was only broken by a tame effort from Jordan Brown in the 12th minute that failed to tax Inland Revenue employee Neil Parry in the Albion goal.
That was the first and last time the Keeper was to touch the ball as the game burst to life in dramatic fashion. Scott Ross played a ball out of defence that Fraser McLaren touched on into the path of Rory McAllister who was to have an incident packed day for many reasons.
As he advanced on goal Parry chopped him to the ground for a penalty and as he had denied a goalscoring opportunity, referee Alan Muir had no choice but to show him a red card.
Replacement Matt McGinley’s first involvement was to pick the ball out of the net after McAllister had sent him the wrong way from the spot. Two minutes later it was game over with a sweeping move that was started by McAllister with a ball out to McLaren on the left wing.
His cross was played to McAllister with a cushioned lay off by Ryan McCann and Scotland’s top scorer sent a shot into the ground and the bounce beat McGinley at the left hand post.
The prolific striker should have had his hatrick by the interval. First he headed a cross from Jamie Redman wide the teammates Ryan Strachan and then McCann went close.
It would be unfair to be too critical of a player who has netted 31 times this season but his chance as half time approached must rank as the easiest he has had but failed to score.
It was a moment of farce that will no doubt find its way onto many a Christmas DVD compilation of misses of the decade. McGinley dithered on the ball at the edge of his penalty area, McLaren nipped in played the ball into the path of McAllister who opted to walk the ball into the net rather than shoot and when he eventually did, the ball was cleared by defender Dominic Kennedy.
The Peterhead faithful didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, his manager and teammates did and let him know in the dressing room!
The second half was to prove almost as dramatic for McAllister. He scuffed an early chance wide at the back post, laid the ball to substitute David Cox who cracked a curling shot off the right hand post then blazed a shot well over from 6 yards with the goal gaping after a cut back from man of the match Graeme Sharp.
His hatrick just wasn’t meant to be and any chance of a late third goal were quashed when he sustained a nasty gash to his shin in a challenge with McGinley after chasing a long kick out by Graeme Smith, who could have brought a newspaper such was his lack of involvement. With stitches required in the wound, that could signal the end of a whirlwind season for McAllister.
There were other half chances but the Blue Toon ran out comfortable winners in a game that could have seen six rather than just the two goals.
Saturday should be quite an occasion at Balmoor with Stirling out to spoil the party atmosphere as they chase a play off spot and Peterhead wanting to celebrate thepresentation of the trophy with a win.
Peterhead - Smith, Sharp (Low 86), Noble (Richardson 78), Smith, Ross, Brown (Cox 67), McLaren, Redman, McAllister, McCann, Strachan Unused; Jarvie, McGlinchey