Peterhead’s play-off hopes were finally put to bed thanks to results elsewhere, but their unbeaten run stretched to five games with a convincing win over Annan Athletic.
The Blue Toon were dominant for much of the game at Galabank, and were suitably rewarded thanks to goals from Bryan Deasley, Callum Macdonald and Rory McAllister.
McAllister had been dropped to the bench, one of three changes from the side that had drawn with Clyde, the others seeing Craig Tully also demoted to the bench, and goalkeeper Paul Jarvie miss out through injury.
Ray Jellema started in goal, while Roy McBain took Tully’s place and Graeme Sharp partnered Martin Bavidge up front.
Despite Jim McInally’s men forcing some early pressure, the first chance fell to the home side’s Steven Sloan, but his wild effort flew well over the crossbar.
But when Peterhead opened the scoring, it was a deserved goal. Bavidge’s touch came back off Steven Swinglehurst and broke for Deasley who fired a vicious drive past goalkeeper Alex Mitchell.
The home side responded immediately, and Jellema was left a spectator as David Cox crashed an effort off the crossbar from twenty yards.
And midfielder Chris Jardine came close on the stroke of half-time, his volley fizzing just inches over the bar.
Jardine threatened again a minute after the break, but the diving Jellema was more than equal to his effort.
Peterhead were happy just to bide their time, though, and were rewarded in the 49th minute when Macdonald took full advantage of the home side’s slack marking, peeling off his man to stoop and head home at the back post.
They could have had a third when Deasley struck a first-time volley after a Davie Donald throw was only partially cleared, the former Dundee man seeing his shot, like Cox’s in the first half, come back off the bar.
With the game now much more open, Peterhead were able to create chances almost at will, and Sharp will have been disappointed to hit wide after being played in by Bavidge, with Donald screaming for a pass to his right.
Annan threw former Blue Toon man Bryan Gilfillan into the fray and he headed towards goal after 78 minutes, but the effort was comfortable for Jellema.
McAllister had replaced Sharp with 15 minutes to go, and he showed his intent, flashing an effort across goal after a Bavidge flick.
He didn’t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet, though, turning neatly in the penalty area before placing a low shot past Mitchell to seal the three points.
McAllister could have netted again with a 25-yard snap-shot right at the death, but Mitchell adjusted his feet well and was able to push over.
While the Blue Toon will be disappointed not to have sneaked into the playoff places, their form in the second half of the season lays down a marker for where they intend to be next term.
Since his arrival at the club, McInally has rebuilt the side’s shattered confidence and got the team playing with a renewed vigour, which can only bode well.
PETERHEAD: Jellema, Donald, McBain, Ross, Macdonald, Smith, Strachan (Davidson, 71), Redman, Deasley, Bavidge, Sharp (McAllister, 75). Subs not used: Tully, Wyness, Duffy (gk).