Toon’s vital point is plenty to smile about

Jamie Stevenson celebrates his equaliser.

Jamie Stevenson celebrates his equaliser.

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The last time Peterhead faced Dunfermline, they had three players dismissed in a chaotic first half and eventually lost by three goals in an ill-tempered League One encounter.

That was at East End Park in September but at Balmoor on Saturday, the Blue Toon had plenty to smile about after scoring a late equaliser and denying the Pars the chance to return to the top of the table.

Jamie Stevenson headed home with two minutes remaining to earn Peterhead a point, which seemed unlikely after the first half, but ultimately deserved for their persistence after the interval.

Manager Jim McInally gave a debut to Cammy Kerr, the young Dundee defender who last week signed a short term loan deal.

It was a tough start for the 19 year-old as Dunfermline asked plenty questions of the hosts, particularly in the first half.

The Fifers were bright and inventive in the opening period and made the breakthrough in the 19th minute. Ross Millen swung over a great cross from the right flank and Faissal El Bakhtaoui rose to glance a header beyond Graeme Smith.

In a rare venture forward for Peterhead in the first half, Rory McAllister’s attempted throughball for David Cox diverted into the path of Ryan Strachan and his well-struck shot from outside the penalty area in the 38th minute had to be closely watched by Ryan Scully.

Smith was much the busier of the two goalkeepers though and made a crucial save four minutes after the interval as Dunfermline went in search of a second goal.

Michael Moffat created the opportunity all on his own, jinking his way past the home defence but his eventual effort from 12 yards was smothered by Smith.

As the match wore on, Peterhead, with a more direct approach, started to ask more questions of their full-time opponents with Jordon Brown heading a Steven Noble free-kick over the crossbar and substitute Bryan Gilfillan failing to keep his header down.

Without being on the ropes, Dunfermline dropped deeper and deeper and Scully had to save a Rory McAllister free-kick before Gilfillan headed wide at the back post.

Peterhead sensed an equaliser and it arrived from a set-piece in the 88th minute. Steven Noble’s free-kick was headed back across goal by Gilfillan and Stevenson was perfectly place to head in from close range.

There could have been a winner at the either end in the dying seconds with McAllister seeing a low effort from outside the penalty area tipped around the post, while Dunfermline threatened from a couple of corners. In the end though, a well-earned point for the Blue Toon.

Goal-hero Stevenson said: “We were a lot better in the second half and created a few opportunities and it was good that we were able to take one of them and get a point.”

“Dunfermline are favourites to win the title yet in the second half, I thought we were the better team so it just shows what we are capable of and hopefully more of those performances will see us climb the league.”

Peterhead next head for Ayr determined to ensure there is no repeat of their last visit to the south west of Scotland when they succumbed 5-0 to Stranraer recently.

PETERHEAD: Smith, Kerr (Rodgers 74), Noble, Brown (Gilfillan 74), Ross, Strachan, MIllar, Redman, McAllister, Stevenson, Cox.