A bumper crowd of over 1,000 saw the Peterhead rollercoaster continue apace as the Blue Toon bounced back from their 6-3 defeat against East Stirling with a 2-1 win at former Highland League rivals Elgin City on Saturday.
Ross Jack’s men had been unbeaten in their previous eight games, including a 6-1 win over Peterhead last month, and fans poured through the gates to give their backing as their heroes looked to continue their march towards the pla-off places.
And when they took the lead through Mark Nicholson’s early header, it looked like another afternoon of disappointment for the travelling Blue Toon faithful.
But Martin Bavidge levelled from close range, and Jamie Redman headed home what proved to be the winner shortly after the interval.
New loan signing Russell Duncan went straight in alongside Redman in the Peterhead midfield, with Ryan Strachan moving back to partner Craig Tully in the centre of defence in the absence of suspended captain Callum Macdonald.
Bavidge and Paul Jarvie were back in action after missing out against East Stirling last week, with Ray Jellema, Graham Webster and Dennis Wyness dropping to the bench
Peterhead are becoming notorious for their slow starts to games, and that was again the case as Nicholson rose unchallenged to head home Daniel Moore’s deep corner from the right.
But there was some promise for the Blue Toon when Bryan Deasley, the fourth man reintroduced to the starting eleven, jinked his way into the penalty area and squared for Bavidge, who shot just wide.
Elgin were looking dangerous though, and Peterhead had a lucky escape when Craig Gunn mis-hit his shot following Brian Cameron’s reverse pass.
Moore’s set pieces were a constant threat, and a seemingly innocuous free kick from the midfield midway through the first half saw Jarvie scrambling to reposition himself before pushing the wickedly bouncing delivery over the crossbar.
That led to a spell of pressure which ended only after Jarvie had pushed David Niven’s header - from another Moore cross - round the post.
Moore was looking most likely to create or supply Elgin with a second goal, and another wickedly swerving corner, this time from the left, came back off Jarvie’s crossbar just after the half-hour.
But Peterhead levelled seven minutes from the break. Deasley was brought down 25 yards from goal, and though keeper Zander Clark palmed away Rory McAllister’s free kick, Redman reacted first to send the ball back across goal, and Bavidge turned home from close range.
Elgin could have restored their lead when Nicholson picked up on a corner Jarvie had fumbled under pressure from Niven, but the goalkeeper recovered well to block the midfielder’s effort.
Moments before the interval there was a flashpoint as McAllister clashed with Elgin left-back Archie McPhee, the resulting melee seeing both players booked, along with Jamie Duff and finally, on the advice of the stand-side linesman, Redman.
Redman’s next involvement would be much more telling though, the midfielder arriving at the back post to head Deasley’s corner home from eight yards to give his side the lead on 53 minutes.
Elgin tried to respond, but ultimately struggled to get past a resolute Blue Toon rearguard. Indeed, only the ever-dangerous Gunn came close to troubling Jarvie’s goal. His shot from the edge of the area, though, was off-target.
Peterhead were struggling to get the ball away from their own area, but had perhaps the two best chances of the second half, Deasley forcing a save from Clark after picking up Duncan’s header shortly after Gunn’s effort.
And in the final minute, after Wyness had been brought down by the goalkeeper, Duncan’s free-kick forced a diving save from on-loan St Johnstone man Clark, the goalkeeper palming the ball to safety.
PETERHEAD: Jarvie, Donald, McBain, Duncan, Tully, Strachan, Sharp, Redman, McAllister (Wyness, 77), Bavidge (Davidson, 86), Deasley. Subs not used: Robertson, Webster, Jellema (gk).