Peterhead FC: Triumphant Toon brush aside Clyde 2-0

DIV 2  CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD CELEBRATE THEIR TITLE WI N
DIV 2 CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD CELEBRATE THEIR TITLE WI N

For the hundreds of Blue Toon faithful who made the journey to Cumbernauld, Saturday’s victory will live long in the memory, writes Joshua King.

Few within the Peterhead camp expected to clinch the title against Clyde knowing they were reliant on a strong Annan side stumbling at East Stirling.

CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''ANDY ROGERS CELEBRATES HIS OPENING GOAL WITH RORY MCALLISTER

CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''ANDY ROGERS CELEBRATES HIS OPENING GOAL WITH RORY MCALLISTER

But when the news came through that the Galabankies’ Peter Watson had seen red for a bad foul on Max Wright after only 14 minutes, Peterhead began to believe.

Throughout the season boss Jim McInally and his staff have insisted that the players are focused on their own game.

But come the final whistles - and the revelry - captain Steven Noble confessed he and his team mates were well aware of what was happening at Ochiview.

Things were looking good on Broadwood’s artificial pitch - Andy Rodgers poked home after Jordon Brown’s shot squirted out of a challenge and broke to the mercurial hitman 10 yards from goal in the 29th minute.

CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD  SUBS DAVID COX AND CONNOR MCGLINCHEY FLY THE FLAG

CLYDE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD SUBS DAVID COX AND CONNOR MCGLINCHEY FLY THE FLAG

At the very moment a disconsolate Jamie Barclay was fishing ball out of his net at Broadwood, Max Wright had leveled the score to 1-1 across in Stenhousemuir.

As it stood, Peterhead were champions.

Down to ten men, Jim Chapman was forced to roll the proverbial dice and urged his charges forward.

When the otherwise anonymous Rory McAllister curled a stunning volley past Barclay in the 69th minute the attention of the travelling fans turned to their smartphones and events in the other game.

In the meantime McAllister and his team mates set about closing out the game with the same professionalism which has put them at the summit of League Two.

Then in the final minute an almighty roar went up in the stands and the Blue Toon boys knew they were champions.

Substitute Kevin Turner wrote himself into the Balmoor history books - albeit as a footnote - with a last-minute winning strike.

Although Clyde won a penalty in the dying moments when Noble brought down Stuart McColm, Peterhead keeper Graeme Smith made his own contribution to festivities saving Kieran MacDonald’s penalty effort.

Noble said: “I knew at half time they were drawing 1-1 and then when we heard the crowd’s reaction we knew the Shire must have scored.”

The club captain added that the youth cup he won with Kilmarnock paled in comparison to this achievement.

“It’s a great feeling - a bit of relief as well to finally get over the line.

“The good thing is that it’s the same boys who were there last year.

“Football is about highs and lows.

“For the boys who felt that incredible low of losing in the play off final, they are here today to enjoy this high.”

As the referee Ryan Milne blew for full time, the players and staff from the Peterhead bench stormed onto the pitch to join their elated colleagues.

Corks were popped and as the champagne flowed the squad hoisted boss Jim McInally into the air and chanted his name.

It was just one of many memorable moments which will live with everyone connected to Balmoo forever and a day.

Goal scorer Rodgers said: “Going back 10 years I won the league with Falkirk but I didn’t feel as much a part of it because I was a sub for the whole season.

“This feels much, much better because I hope I’ve contributed as much as anybody else.”

And the team’s longest serving player, Graeme Sharp, spoke of his joy: “This has been a long time coming - nine seasons I’ve been here and we’ve been close in the play offs.

“But this is what you play football for.

“I think this beats any play off win.”

Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Ross, Strachan, Redman, Noble, Gilfillan (McCann), Brown, Cowie, Rodgers (McLaren), McAllister (Smith);

Unused: Jarvie (GK), Richardson, Low, Cox;

Referee: Ryan Milne;

Attendance: 534