Toon share spoils

PETERHEAD V STRANRAER'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S SCOTT ROSS CLEARS FROM STRANRAER'S MARTIN GREHAN.
PETERHEAD V STRANRAER'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S SCOTT ROSS CLEARS FROM STRANRAER'S MARTIN GREHAN.

A share of the spoils was just about right in a proverbial game of two halves.

Manager Jim McInally conceded his side should have been three down by the break and the game over, but Peterhead were a transformed team after half time and might even have nicked a victory had a Rory McAllister chance not hit the post.

Loan signing from Dundee United, Ross Smith started on the bench where he watched his new defensive colleagues caught cold as Stranraer went in front inside the first minute.

A long ball forward from Steven Noble found Stephen Stirling and his pass sent Craig Malcolm clear with a perfectly timed run. His left foot shot was tucked into the bottom right corner with many fans still making their way to their seats, chips and Bovril in hand.

Second top Stranraer showed why they have now only lost four out of their 24 matches this season and they really should have doubled their lead on 12 minutes but for the brilliance of Jarvie.

The keeper made a quick-fire double save from Noble then denied Martin Grehan all within the space of a few seconds.

Jarvie came to his side’s rescue again after 29 minutes getting his right foot on a shot from Stirling that had goal written all over it.

Things were much quieter at the other end and it took 27 minutes before a threat was posed, Bryan Deasley sending a well hit shot straight at the body of visiting stopper David Mitchell.

An equaliser looked far less likely than Stranraer adding to their lead so the award of a penalty came as somewhat of a surprise. Ryan Strachan sent Graeme Sharp racing towards the left corner of the area where his progress was impeded by the trailing leg of Scott Taggart.

The pointing to the spot by Referee Stephen Finnie came as a pleasant break with McAllister rifling the spot kick down the middle as Mitchell dived to his left.

The second half began with Stranraer going close through Grehan then Chris Aitken but thereafter it was Peterhead who were in the ascendency in what proved to be an entertaining 45 minutes.

Deasley head-flicked narrowly past before the best chance after 71 minutes. A Bavidge header sent McAllister clear. He rounded Mitchell but in doing so perhaps took the ball too far to his left giving an acute angle which proved too great as his side-footed shot spun towards and off the right hand post.

In truth, the goal would have been unjust on Stranraer given their earlier dominance but they might have snatched victory themselves.

Hero Jarvie had to go off four minutes from time with an elbow injury and replacement Raymond Jellema was soon in action diving to his right to prevent fellow sub Michael Moore from curling a shot into the net.

Over the piece a draw was about right in one of the more entertaining games seen at Balmoor this season.

On Saturday the Blue Toon make the relatively short trip down the coast to Montrose where a performance like that of the second half should see at least a point heading back north.

A repeat of the slow start and lacklustre first 45 minutes however, will not !

PETERHEAD: Jarvie (Jellema 86), Donald, McBain, Scott Ross, MacDonald, Strachan, Deasley (Wyness 72), Redman, Bavidge, McAllister, Sharp (D. Ross 75). Subs (not used): Davidson, Smith.

Attendance - 435