Beleaguered Peterhead fans may finally be seeing a change in fortunes after a nightmare 18 months if this battling William Hill Scottish Cup win over Inverurie Locos is anything to go by.
The Blue Toon were pushed all the way by their Highland League opponents, and were under the cosh for spells at 2-1 and 3-2, before a wonder strike from Rory McAllister ensured Peterhead’s name would be in the hat for the fourth round draw.
Martin Bavidge replaced Dennis Wyness in the only change manager Jim McInally made to the side that had drawn with Alloa on league business a week earlier.
But it was another attacker, Bryan Deasley, who hit wide with the first chance of the match after just four minutes.
Locos broke quickly though, and only the lightning reactions of Peterhead keeper Raymond Jellema denied full-back Keith Thomson after he had been played in by Kenny Coull.
Thomson would have a hand in the opening goal after 18 minutes, but it came in favour of the visitors.
Jamie Redman turned on a Davie Donald pass and went past three men as he forced his way into the area, before Thomson’s attempted clearance came back off the former Brechin midfielder and found the back of the net.
Such luck has largely been missing for the Blue Toon in recent times, and hot on the heels of an own-goal leveller against Alloa, may be a sign that the tide is starting to turn.
Peterhead didn’t rest on their laurels however, and Bavidge turned home the second from close range just four minutes later, after Andy Reid had saved a McAllister shot from Deasley’s cut-back.
The two quickfire goals could have seen the game over, but Locos weren’t going to give up that easily, and hit back quickly.
John Maitland swung in a corner from the left, and Steven Park rose highest to pull a goal back, although Peterhead were adamant that goalkeeper Jellema had been fouled.
The goal spurred the home side on, and Jellema had to react sharply to save from Neil McLean after more good work in the area by Coull.
But Peterhead restored their two-goal lead on the stroke of half-time, Callum Macdonald heading home at the back post after Dave Ross had flicked on a Deasley corner.
Locos bounced back again, however, and McLean found the net from 15 yards just eleven minutes after the break, lashing home after Jellema could only punch away a Park header.
This signalled the start of a cavalry charge from the hosts and Neil Gauld came close twice within a minute, to levelling the scores.
His header from a Reid free-kick was inches wide, and then his own set-piece fizzed past the upright.
But Peterhead’s win was sealed when McAllister won a free-kick on the left and stepped up himself to curl a superb effort beyond a helpless Reid and into the net from a tight angle.
While Jim McInally was delighted to see his side win through, he will be less pleased about next week’s match at Elgin being postponed due to City’s cup replay against Queen’s Park, which will prevent his side building up any momentum.
That means the Blue Toon’s next match will be against the Spiders at Hampden on Saturday December 3.
PETERHEAD: Jellema, Donald, Davidson (Wyness, 78), S. Ross, Macdonald, Strachan (McBain, 68), Deasley, Redman, McAllister (Sharp, 81), Bavidge, D. Ross. Subs not used: Watson, Jarvie (gk).