Individual mistakes cost Peterhead in their 2-0 defeat at Stirling Albion’s Forthbank on Saturday, but ill discipline could cost them this week.
The Toon were without main goal threat Rory McAllister after he was suspended for a ‘breach of club discipline.’
Fellow striker Andy Rodgers will join him on the sidelines. He saw red for an off-the-ball incident with Jamie Bishop after Dale Fulton and Phil Johnston had put the home side two goals ahead.
In the absence of McAllister and with Rodgers and new signing Fraser McLaren not match-fit, David Cox led the line with Ryan McCann.
Bryan Gilfillan stepped into defence to join Scott Ross and Ryan Strachan and Cox put in a determined display, battling with the home side.
He was fortunate the officials failed to spot an altercation with Bishop that set the tone for a game which had more than a little bite.
There was however plenty of good play on show from both teams and Jordon Brown could have opened the scoring when he flashed a 20-yard strike just wide of David Crawford’s goal after 20 minutes.
The Blue Toon fell behind seven minutes later though to a goal of their own making.
Seeminly comfortable in possession, Jamie Redman played a ball back for Gilfillan, whose own pass was slack.
Fulton stepped in to steal the ball and advance on Graeme Smith before sliding the ball into the net off the inside of the upright.
Peterhead had chances to level: Dean Cowie hit over from 20 yards, and shortly before the break Ryan McCann saw Crawford block his effort from a tight angle. Strachan fizzed a shot narrowly wide on the stroke of half-time.
At the other end Smith saved Mark Ferry’s low shot.
Peterhead were in the ascendancy in the early stages of the second half but Crawford stood tall in the Binos goal.
Shortly after the break he had to get down low to his right to save a flying header from Gilfillan that may have just been creeping inside the post.
And on the hour, after Bishop had been booked for a cynical trip on Brown, the goalkeeper had to adjust his feet quickly to push over a powerful Strachan free-kick.
Despite retaining possession well and pushing onto the home side, Peterhead had Smith to thank for an outstanding double-save to prevent first Jordan White, then Fulton, from extending the home side’s lead.
Peterhead’s flow seemed to be interrupted when they replaced their front two with Rodgers and McLaren after 66 minutes, but ex-Falkirk man Rodgers tested Crawford with a fine volleyed effort although the flag had gone up.
But, against the run of play, the home side doubled their advantage. Ross was caught out of position as referee Euan Anderson played advantage for a foul on White and when the ball broke to Johnston, he lashed it into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Worse was to follow for the Blue Toon as Rodgers and Bishop clashed at a Peterhead corner and, after Anderson consulted his linesman, Rodgers was handed a straight red, and Bishop a second yellow for his part in the incident.
After the match Manager Jim McInally said: “I’ve slaughtered Andy for getting involved. He’s a target.
“If I’m in the opposition team and I want to wind someone up I go for Andy, and if you wind him up that’s what happens. He says he threw his hands up to get away from a situation, but I’m not defending him.
“Even the booking at the end for Scott Ross is needless dissent. Our club will be saving some money this year because of the fines.
“We brought out a new code of conduct that will hammer them for dissent, and it’ll be coming out their wages.”
After conceding two soft goals in the draw with Annan last week, McInally was left rueing another defensive mistake which cost his side the opening goal.
He added: “The first goal was poor, we hit the self-destruct button and it’s hard to go chasing a game away from home. The second goal was a great strike.”
As ever though, McInally looked for positives despite the final result.
He said: “They need to keep cool heads. We’ve got enough quality there. I think Stirling are the other favourites and they didn’t look that much better than us.”
“In the second half we passed it about quite well. We said to them ‘Just keep trying to play, just keep passing,’ and we did that. We had some good passages of play.
“Like any game, you just move onto the next one. Luckily enough we’ve got a cup tie on Tuesday, so we don’t need to dwell on it too long. We’ve nothing to lose against Stenhousemuir, so we’ll have a go at that and see if we can get some confidence back.”
New signing striker Fraser McLaren came off the bench to try and shift the balance but was unable to score.
He said: “It was a silly mistake for the first goal and then it was a wonder goal. They’ve had two chances and punished us.”
Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Strachan, Ross, Cowie (McGlinchey), Cox (Rodgers), Redman, McCann (McLaren), Brown, Gilfillan. Subs not used: Buchan, Richardson, Fitzgerald, Jarvie (gk).
Referee - Euan Anderson
Attendance - 573