Toon blow two-goal lead at Balmoor

PETERHEAD V STIRLING ALBION'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE GETS THE BETTER OF STIRLING'S DAVID McLUNE
PETERHEAD V STIRLING ALBION'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE GETS THE BETTER OF STIRLING'S DAVID McLUNE

A two-goal lead that ends up earning just a point can feel like a defeat, but a share of the spoils in this match was about right.

Indeed had the visitors taken their chances they might well have belied their position at the foot of the table coming into the game and taken all three points.

The Blue Toon have been out of sorts since the defeat at Elgin many weeks ago and this show of capitulation summed up a frustrating performance where a winning position was allowed to slip away.

Scott Ross was in the starting line up having had his red card in the East Stirlingshire game rescinded but Calum McDonald was missing after sustaining a knee injury in training.

An entertaining first half started well for Peterhead with Martin Bavidge looping a header on for Rory McAllister to do likewise off the top of the crossbar in the fifth minute.

They went on to open the scoring six minutes later when Bavidge almost passed the ball into the corner of the net with the coolest of finishes from an angle 12 yards out. It was two nil after 28 minutes with a simple goal, a Ryan Strachan corner kick from the left finding Ross Smith who rose majestically to head home from just inside the six yard box.

In between the ever lively Brian Deasley was shown a yellow card when he should have earned a free kick in a dangerous position.

Steven Day miscued a header in midfield sending the winger clear.

His attempt to make up for his error saw him bundle Deasley to the ground just outside the penalty area with the referee bizarrely booking him for simulation!

The visitors were unlucky to be two behind but three minutes after the second goal they pulled themselves back into contention with a well worked goal. Some neat work down the left saw Graham Weir feed Day who crossed into the six yard box for Jordan White to clip into the net from close range.

Virtually from the kick off they could have scored again but a Scott Davidson shot was bravely blocked and cleared by Scott Ross.

Keeper Paul Jarvie failed to re-appear after half time having sustained an injury to his hip with Mark McCallum taking over between the sticks. The second half belonged to Stirling as it was they rather than the home side who looked more eager.

At times Peterhead were confined to hitting on the break and it was on one such attack that Bavidge surged into the right side of the penalty area only for his efforts to come to nothing as Strachan shot high and wide.

The Blue Toon were left hanging on nervously as full time approached but Albion’s more cavalier approach was rewarded six minutes from the end with another well worked goal down the left.

As a cross came in White headed on and substitute Josh Flood volleyed through a leaky home defence to grab the equaliser they fully deserved. A frustrated Jim McInally was left to ponder the dropping of points that should have been theirs from a winning position sighting a lack of confidence and a vocal leader on the pitch to organise his troops.

With Peterhead out of action on Saturday having crashed out of the Scottish Cup in embarrassing fashion at Deveronvale, McInally will have some extra time to find an answer to how to get his side back to winning ways.

PETERHEAD: Jarvie (McCallum 46), Sharp, Noble, Smith, S. Ross, Strachan (Cowie 69), D. Ross (Winters 61), Deasley, McAllister, Bavidge, McLaughlin. Subs (not used): Macguire, Kelly.

Attendance - 508