Peterhead FC: Shire brushed aside 4-0 by Blue Toon

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Whilst off field incidents sadly overshadowed proceedings on the pitch, this victory came with an assured performance by the Blue Toon that had all the hallmarks of a team serious about winning a league title, writes Jim Irving.

With the defensive partnership of Scott Ross and Ross Smith suspended, Jamie Redman stepped up to the mark and never put a foot wrong.

Steven Noble had an excellent first half and Graeme Smith showed his class with several fine saves at crucial moments.

Add in a bullish display from Andy Rodgers capped by a glorious goal and the late appearance of Dean Richardson, and the footballing side of the afternoon was worthy of all the headlines.

There had been hints of the opening goal before it was scored with Bryan Gilfillan heading a Noble cross narrowly over and the full back was to prove provider after 19 minutes. His wickedly driven corner kick from the right went across the 6 yard box surprisingly unchallenged and fell to Jordan Brown but he had the presence of mind to get a head on the ball from point blank range and the home side were off and running.

Six minutes later Gilfillan took a pot shot at goal from the edge of the penalty area and the ball struck the shins of Jordan Tapping under pressure from Rory McAllister sending goalkeeper Grant Hay the wrong way.

The Shire could easily have been very much in this game had it not been for the superb reflexes of home keeper Smith.

He had already reacted cat-like early on to turn away a Max Wright shot then pulled off another terrific save as half time approached, diving to his right to save from a David Greenhill header.

With the half time whistle about to sound, the Blue Toon netted a crucial third from the penalty spot. Fraser McLaren cut inside from the right side of the area following a long, diagonal pass from midfield by Ryan Strachan.

Chris Townsley clumsily bundled McLaren to the ground and Rory McAllister stroked the ball into the bottom right corner.

The fourth goal soon after the re-start was pure class. McAllister laid the ball off to Rodgers who pressed the accelerator and burst into the penalty area before sending in a precision chip to beat Hay and seal the points.

Peterhead should have gone up again after Rodgers set up McLaren in acres of space with only the Hay to beat but the striker almost had too much time to pick his spot and sidefooted wildly over.

Smith kept his concentration to smartly tip a Greenhill free kick from 25 yards over the crossbar as it was heading into the postage stamp corner whilst at the other end substitute Tony Low should have scored by the back post but screwed his shot wide.

All in all an incident packed day and with Annan Athletic winning by the same margin, the stage is set for a cracking first versus second clash at Balmoor tonight (Tuesday) with a 7.45pm kick off.

Blue Toon boss Jim McInally said: “East Stirling have been on a good run and they have been scoring quite a few goals so it was nice, in light of missing two of our defenders, that we did not give them too many chances.

“We could have scored two or three more but it was just pleasing to get through the game and pick up three points.”

Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Brown, Gilfillan, Cowie (Richardson 80) Rodgers ( McGlinchey 69) Redman, McAllister (Low 88), McLaren, Strachan;

Unused: Jarvie, Tully.

Referee – Gavin Duncan

Attendance – 554




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