JOHN Sheran’s Peterhead reign got off to a solid, if unspectacular, start as the Blue Toon took a point from their trip to Alloa.
But his side find themselves further adrift at the bottom of the Second Division pile after Stenhousemuir’s late winner against Ayr United doubled the gap between the sides to four points.
And Peterhead’s misery was compounded by an injury time red-card for defender Davie Donald, meaning the former Aberdeen man will miss the midweek trip to Livingston.
Sheran had restored Paul Jarvie to the starting eleven in place of John Bateman, while Dave Ross started in place of Daniel Moore who had come off injured in midweek.
But it was the home side who had the better of the opening stages in a first half neither side really took a grip of.
As early as the second minute there were claims for a penalty as Alloa hitman Stuart Noble went down under pressure from Scott Ross, but the claims were always more in hope than expectation.
Ross was involved again when he headed away a dangerous Andy Scott free kick, but the Wasps were dealt a blow when midfielder Brown Ferguson was forced off through injury, to be replaced by Kevin Motion after just 16 minutes.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium, and Noble should have done better than to blaze over the bar after a Jim Lister knockdown on the half-hour.
It took a further five minutes for Peterhead to come up with their first real opening, and it was perhaps the best chance of the game so far.
Dennis Wyness flicked a ball through to Martin Bavidge who accelerated away from Scott Walker, but pulled his shot wide of the far post.
The home side had another opportunity when Noble flicked on for Scott, but from 16 yeards, the dangerman blazed over the bar.
After the break, though, it was the Blue Toon who had the better of the play. Stuart Smith signalled their intent within six minutes of the restart, drilling a super cross to the far post. Dave Ross, raced into the back post, but could not direct his flying header on target.
Bavidge was next to threaten, but the striker seemed almost nonchalant has he put his effort past the post from six yards.
And on the hour, Bavidge was involved again as his touch allowed Wyness the opportunity to hook an effort towards goal, but the diving Jamie Ewings smothered well.
The good spell continued for Sheran’s men Wyness played in Dave Ross who shot on the turn but failed to keep his effort down.
Alloa began to come back into the game, but Peterhead could have snatched a late goal two minutes from the end of the match.
A good old-fashioned stramash ended with Strachan trying to pass home when he should have blasted it in, and a combination of Ewings and Dunlop were able to clear the danger.
Donald’s bizarre injury-time sending off ended the day on a sour note. After being harshly booked for dissent moments earlier, the defender went down injured following a kick from Kevin Motion.
Having been refused the opportunity of treatment and, pulled himself up only to be shown a second yellow by referee Tommy Robertson.
PETERHEAD: Jarvie, Donald, S. Smith, McVitie, Macdonald, S. Ross, Sharp (Strachan, 58), Emslie, Wyness (Gethins, 74), Bavidge, D. Ross (Clark, 78). Subs (not used): Mann, Bateman (gk).