Ten-man Blue Toon take unbeaten run to 13 games

Peterhead's Scott Noble is sent off by Ref Gavin Ross.
Peterhead's Scott Noble is sent off by Ref Gavin Ross.

Five goals, a sending off and a comeback that had the Balmoor faithful on the edge of their seats, saw Peterhead stretch their unbeaten run to 13 games and show the character and courage that Jim McInally’s side possess.

Minus defender Scott Ross who was sent off in the victory at Ayr the previous week, the Blue Toon rearguard was further depleted with less than half an hour gone with the dismissal, in slightly controversial circumstances, of the normally mild-mannered Steven Noble.

The previous home game with Albion Rovers saw a goal to the visitors with less than a minute gone and with only four minutes on the clock on this occasion, the home side had taken the lead.

Nicky Riley’s shot at first appeared to carry no threat until it took a slight deflection off Forfar defender Gareth Rodger wrong footing keeper Darren Hill who could only palm the ball clear as far as Rory McAllister at the back post and he twisted his body to guide his shot into the net from the tightest of angles for his 27th goal of the season and a landmark 100th for the club.

On the quarter hour there looked no danger to Peterhead when they had a free kick just outside the Loons penalty area.

Jamie Stevenson took it but it was blocked and broke to Andy Ryan who went haring towards the corner flag and apparent safety as far as Peterhead were concerned.

That soon changed as his hopeful low cross towards the six-yard box only to be missed by several Blue Toon defenders until it arrived at a grateful Steven Craig with the experienced striker hardly able to believe his luck as he scored from a couple of yards out.

Worse was to follow three minutes later.

A Gavin Swankie free kick just outside the penalty and to the left of goal was well hit but should have been bread and butter to the normally reliable Graeme Smith.

However, he failed to save the low shot and spilled the ball into the path of former Hamilton Accies striker Ryan to shoot his side into an unlikely lead.

The drama continued in the 29th minute as the Blue Toon went down to ten men.

Ryan slid in to win the ball ahead of Noble by the touchline on the far side.

The defender landed on top of Athletic players’ upper leg, under the nose of the referee’s assistant who interpreted that action as deliberate and on his advice, the red card was flashed.

Far from lying down the home side fought back and equalised three minutes before half time, Shane Sutherland scoring with a precise shot low into the far corner.

The second half was virtually one way traffic towards the visitors’ goal.

A sweet pass from midfield by Stevenson picked out Sutherland on the left of the penalty area, his shot was saved one handed by Hill but the ball broke kindly into the path of substitute Leighton McIntosh who steered the ball into the net to round off a spirited performance and keep their magnificent run going.