Winter gloom continues for lacklustre Peterhead

SCOTTISH DIV II'PETERHEAD V BRECHIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)'' REF STEVE McLEAN RED CARS PETERHEAD'S STUART ANDERSON.
SCOTTISH DIV II'PETERHEAD V BRECHIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)'' REF STEVE McLEAN RED CARS PETERHEAD'S STUART ANDERSON.

IT is going to be a long, hard winter if this depressing result is anything to go by.

Yes, Brechin were awarded a penalty that probably wasn’t and Stuart Anderson was harshly sent off, but that shouldn’t disguise a dreadful performance that lacked fight and was completely devoid of any hint that the Blue Toon are set to move clear of the relegation zone through their own efforts.

Rory MacAllister, a one-time Peterhead trialist, scored his seventh goal in two games against the Blue Toon as he completely bullied the home defence for the entire 80 minutes he was on the pitch.

The good news that Bobby Mann returned was tempered by the fact that Dennis Wyness was still not fully fit and Neil McVitie and Scott Ross were suffering from flu. Throw in the fact that Martin Bavidge had just returned from a week working in Germany and you had to have sympathy for manager Neale Cooper.

Brechin arrived at Balmoor with a fine unbeaten away record in their seven games and from the moment they took a 5th minute lead that was never under threat. McAllister turned in a Callum Booth cross with his knee to set the tone for an embarrassingly one-sided encounter.

The nearest Peterhead came to an equaliser was a 12th minute free kick from Mann that skipped wide but it was game over after 34 minutes.

City had threatened with wind-assisted shots from distance and when one of them struck the raised elbow of Ryan Strachan referee McLean pointed to the spot. Whether it was deliberate is open to debate and there was a query as to whether it was actually in the box but McAllister didn’t care and hammered home his side’s advantage. Davie Donald and Mann were booked disputing the award.

Ten minutes before half time all hell broke loose when Stuart Anderson was shown a straight red card for a challenge inside the centre circle. Photographic evidence showed Strachan made contact with the ball but off he went and the Blue Toon’s day just went from bad to worse.

Three minutes later Strachan was very lucky to escape with just a booking for a very reckless challenge on the halfway line that all but one person inside the ground felt was worthy of a red.

The second half was equally one-sided and the McAllister roadshow rolled on. In the 58th minute he had bags of time to control a Kevin Byers cross and shoot low into to bottom corner.

After 79 minutes a loose ball should probably have been gathered by Jon Bateman but wasn’t and McAllister lofted a header into the empty net.

In stoppage time substitute mark Archdeacon netted from close range after coming on for McAllister just to rub salt in the wound.

In between Nicky Clark shot wide, Mann did likewise from another free kick and Bavidge saw a weak header saved.

All in all a limp performance from the home side who were shown a lesson on how to roll up your sleeves and battle to victory in horrible weather conditions.

That is the sign of a team with the character to earn promotion. Peterhead are so far away from capturing that spirit that it is going to take a huge kick up the backside to send them spinning away from the relegation zone.

Next week’s trip to bottom side Dumbarton is, to quote Cooper, “massive”.

PETERHEAD: Bateman, Donald, Smith, Mann,

MacDonald, Strachan, Sharp, Clark, Bavidge, Ross

(Wyness 73), Anderson. Subs (not used): Jarvie, Gethins, S. Ross, McVitie.

ATTENDANCE: 466