RELEGATED Peterhead bowed out of the Second Division with another lacklustre showing and a dismal defeat, which summed up a calamitous campaign.
The Blue Toon were comprehensively beaten at Balmoor by a slick Stenhousemuir, who climbed out of the relegation play-off zone to ensure league survival.
After 16 winless matches stretching back to January, John Sheran had been hoping his team would end on a positive note to at least send the supporters away for the summer with some optimism.
However, the celebratory scenes at full-time came from the small band of visiting fans after Stenny got the victory they so badly needed to avoid the drop.
The outcome could have been different had Dennis Wyness not wasted a glorious opportunity for Peterhead in the 24th minute. Barrie Stephen swung over a great right wing cross but the veteran striker sent his free header over the crossbar from close range.
Moments later, the home side nearly fell behind when Stevie Murray’s well-executed free kick rattled the upright, with Blue Toon keeper John Bateman scrambling across his goalline.
The match had been very even and cagey but that changed when Stenny broke the deadlock three minutes before half time,
A precise Murray pass found Grant Anderson, who got in behind the home defence before finishing coolly from just inside the box.
Peterhead saw plenty of the ball early in the second half but Ally Brown in the visiting goal was never troubled and could hardly have had an easier afternoon all season.
Davie Irons’ Warriors doubled their lead in the 68th minute with a stunning Eric Paton free-kick. Blue Toon captain Calum Macdonald was harshly penalised for an aerial challenge on Scott Dalziel and Paton found the top corner with an unstoppable 20-yard strike.
There was no way back for Peterhead and their misery was finally completed when Dalziel glanced home a third goal from Paul Quinn’s cross with 15 minutes remaining.
Sheran, still chasing his maiden victory since taking over from Neale Cooper, was honest to admit the game mirrored the team’s season.
The manager knows he has a huge rebuilding job to get the Blue Toon back on track for the 2011/12 campaign.
Bateman, Donald, Strachan, MacDonald, Smith, Stephen
(Robertson 82), McVitie, Clark, Sharp (Tosh 64), Ross (Maclachlan 84),
Subs (not used):