Toon crash out of the Scottish Cup

SCOTTISH CUP'DEVERONVALE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S ROSS SMITH CELEBRATES HIS GOAL
SCOTTISH CUP'DEVERONVALE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S ROSS SMITH CELEBRATES HIS GOAL

Peterhead boss Jim McInally declared Saturday’s defeat to Highland League Deveronvale as the worst result he had been involved in, after his side crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the first hurdle.

The Blue Toon were 2-0 down within the first ten minutes, and 3-0 down before the interval.

SCOTTISH CUP'DEVERONVALE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S DEAN COWIE HOLDS ODFF A CHALLENGE FROM DEVERONVALE'S  CHRIS BLACKHALL

SCOTTISH CUP'DEVERONVALE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S DEAN COWIE HOLDS ODFF A CHALLENGE FROM DEVERONVALE'S CHRIS BLACKHALL

A late red card for an X-rated Michele Lombardi challenge on Steven Noble allowed Peterhead back into the game, but goals from Ross Smith and Bryan Deasley in the last ten minutes came too late to prevent a cup upset.

Noble and club captain Callum Macdonald returned from suspension following the defeat at Annan seven days earlier, but on-loan Dundee United goalkeeper Marc McCallum was prevented from playing by his club.

Scott Ross saw out the second of his two-match ban, while Ryan Strachan was unavailable after having his tonsils removed through the week.

It would be exaggeration to say that this Blue Toon side was depleted, but the way they defended early in the game gave the impression they had never met each other.

Vale opened the scoring after just 7 minutes. Lombardi was allowed to hit the bye-line on the right, and pulled back for Chris Blackhall to steer the ball past Jarvie.

Two minutes later, they doubled the lead. Again Lombardi was the supplier, this time sending a ball to the back post where two unmarked Deveronvale men waited to pounce.

Midfielder Graeme Rodger did the damage this time, lifting the ball over a helpless Jarvie to give his side an early cushion.

It could have been worse had Graeme Watt not been denied by the goalkeeper following a horrible Jamie Redman passback, but Peterhead immediately hit on the counter, and Rory McAllister should have done better as he attempted to round goalkeeper Darren McConnachie.

Smith headed a teasing Bavidge cross over the bar just before the half-hour, and Peterhead were left to rue their frivolity in front of goal.

More suspect defending saw a 37th minute corner cleared only as far as Rodger, and he dinked the ball back into the area where Vale captain Scott Fraser sent a stunning volley across Jarvie and high into the net.

That sent the Vale fans into raptures and, you felt, signalled the end for Peterhead.

McInally responded by throwing on Deasley, just back after being forced out for three weeks through illness, for Dean Cowie before the interval.

And Deasley would go on to be the best player in blue, a damning indictment on his team-mates.

During the second half, the match descended into a physical battle and just moments after Noble and Lombardi had clashed in an off-the-ball incident, the former Aberdeen forward exacted his revenge and saw red.

The wide-man threw himself at Noble with no intention of playing the ball, catching the ex-Stranraer man on the thigh and leaving referee Ryan Milne with no option but to show a red card.

Peterhead had already thrown on Robbie Winters, and sacrificed a defender as they threw on-loan centre-back Ryan Harding into attack, by now becoming a fourth man up top.

And Harding came close to handing his side a lifeline when, amid an almighty goalmouth scramble, his effort came back off the underside of the crossbar.

The Blue Toon did pull one back when, after a foul on Winters, Smith guided Deasley’s low free-kick past a helpless McConnachie. Game on.

Winters then squared for Deasley to drill low past McConnachie with four minutes remaining, but it was too little too late for McInally’s men, who have now been beaten in three consecutive games.

They will have to pick themselves up quickly for the visit of Berwick Rangers on Saturday.