Peterhead comeback seals the win against Stirling Albion

Peterhead's Jamie Stevenson holds off Sandy Cunningham.'M
Peterhead's Jamie Stevenson holds off Sandy Cunningham.'M

PETERHEAD 2

STIRLING ALBION 1

A quick fire second half double by the Blue Toon saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at Balmoor on Saturday.

A goal down and struggling to breakdown a resilient Albion side, Jamie Stevenson took the game by the scruff of the neck with an assist and a classy piece of finishing to grab all three points against the unfortunate visitors.

Peterhead were minus Brian Gilfillan, whose surprise move to Airdieonians in midweek cancelled out the joy of Nicky Riley joining until the end of the season, with Riley also absent due to a long standing family arrangement.

Manager Jim McInally confirmed after the match that he was in negotiations to replace Gilfillan who will be sadly missed and a useful player in many positions but travelling from his home in Annan eventually proved just too much.

The first half was poor fare for the chilled crowd with the sight of smoke billowing from a serious fire by the harbour often keeping the attention more than the action on the pitch. As so often has been the case, the first period was a tale of half chances created but subsequently missed.

Dean Cowie shot wildly over, David Cox only just failed to connect with the ball at the back post and Rory McAllister twice sent identical shots across goal and beyond the post.

Stirling looked far from being the side propping up the division with much of the ball and some incisive moves forward but their lack of a finisher is no doubt part of their problem and several shots off target and into the arms of Graeme Smith perhaps lulled the home defence into a false sense of security.

So it proved to be and the visitors took the lead out of the blue four minutes before the interval with a goal that was a poor one to concede.

Scott Shepherd was allowed just a bit too easily to make his way into the right side of the penalty area where he drilled a low pass straight to the foot of defender Craig Wedderburn who sidefooted into the net from a couple of yards out for a sloppy goal from a Peterhead perspective.

Ten minutes after the re-start it should have been game over. Sandy Cunningham was sent sprinting clear from midfield but his initial shot from the edge of the area struck the post with the same player blazing the rebound over when the ball came straight back at him.

Substitute Dale Fulton saw a 25 yard free kick well saved by Smith as it seemed only a matter of time before Albion scored a second then some inspired play by Stevenson turned the game on its head.

After 73 minutes he whipped a long free kick into the left side of the visitors’ penalty area where Cox went sprawling in a challenge for the ball with Ross McGeachie and McAllister made his usual immaculate job from the spot rolling the ball into the right of the goal as keeper Greg Paterson dived to the right. Two minutes later a superb solo effort from Stevenson completed what looked moments earlier, an unlikely comeback. Some slackness in midfield by Stirling saw the midfielder nip in to win the ball.

His pass to McAllister was backheeled into his path and he ran on before picking his spot in the bottom right corner from just inside the area with a precision finish.

Another three valuable points gained in the chase for a promotion play-off spot in what is proving to be a tight top half of the division continues. On another day a draw would have been the outcome and if the excellent Blue Toons record on the road is to continue at Brechin on Saturday, the team are going to have to be less wasteful in front of goal against an on-form side.

PETERHEAD: Smith, Kerr, Noble, Donaldson (Rodgers 59), Ross, Cowie, Strachan, Redman, McAllister (Smith 87), Stevenson, Cox (Brown 85). Subs (unused): Jarvie, Trialist

Attendance: 566