The spectre of relegation looms over Balmoor Stadium after another moral-sapping 2-0 defeat, this time to fellow struggling team Stenhousmuir.
Unless Peterhead can up their game, a season that had a shot at promotion in their sights could see them heading in the other direction.
The familiar tale of lapses at the back, combined with a lack of creativity in front of goal and the odd chances that were carved out and missed came back to haunt them once again.
The Blue Toon welcomed back Jamie Stevenson into the full-back position, allowing Scott Brown to move to midfield.
In a wind as ferocious as any seen at Balmoor recent times, Rory McAllister had a decent chance in the ninth minute, his goal-bound shot bravely blocked by David Marsh as he slid in – then at the other end Fiarce Kelleher did likewise from a Furtado Willis effort.
Mark Gilhaney saw a 16th minute snapshot from the right corner of the six yard box saved at the post by Fraser Hobday.
At the other end the ball broke to Scott Brown 20 yards out after 37 minutes, but his low drive fizzled past the right post like an out of control firework caught in the wind.
Five minutes from the interval McAllister sent Jamie Redman into space with a square pass but the midfielder’s shot was held by Colin McCabe.
Three minutes later, Redman teed up Brown as he lashed a shot that looked like it was going in but it flashed wide of the left-hand post.
The Blue Toon almost made the perfect start to the second half, Nicky Riley with a shot saved in the opening moments.
Riley had a great chance in the 53rd minute after he was sent clear into the left side of the penalty area by Redman, but he drifted too wide and his shot from an acute angle went past. That was to prove to be a defining moment.
Out of nowhere, Stenny went in front after 70 minutes. Alan Cook whipped in a corner kick from the right and the ball flicked off a head and into the far corner.
It initially looked like it was from the celebrating Colin McMenamin, but McAllister was credited with an own goal.
Nine minutes later it was game over. Another dead ball from Cook, this time a free-kick 30 years out was hit low and hard but Fraser Hobday couldn’t hold it and Jamie McCormack was on hand to net and move his side out of the relegation zone and Peterhead into it.
Jim McInally labelled it a “disappointing defeat”.
He said: “An own goal and a couple of chances missed, that seems to be the story of each game recently.
“That’s us half way through the season so there’s a long way to go, but the players are sorry for themselves and they can’t afford to be like that.
“We need to keep working hard and working for each other and we can turn it around,
“Nicky Riley’s chance that he missed was a turning point. I couldn’t see them coming back if we had taken the lead.
“The worst we should be doing is drawing games like that, but we come away with a two-nil defeat against a team that hasn’t had many chances or opened us up. We need to learn if we can’t win not to get beaten. We didn’t deserve to lose.
“Fraser could have done better with the second goal, although I will need to look at it again. The first was an own goal and that seems to be the way it is at the moment.
“We need to start getting some results even if it is with ugly goals.
“I will try and get more guys in, but these players did well for us last season. We need to restore confidence and the only way to do that is to dig in and work hard for each other.”
Scott Brown added: “We can’t keep saying that the ball isn’t breaking for us.
“We don’t seem to be able to take our chances and get the first goal. The weather made the game a lottery, but it was the same for both sides so that isn’t an excuse.
“Confidence is always a factor, but I don’t think anyone who saw us would say that is something we are lacking.
“We need the sort of break they got with the first goal but it just isn’t happening at the moment.
“Last season Stranraer were bottom at Christmas but went on to make the playoffs, so we are taking heart from that.
“We know it will be a battle at Brechin, but we will roll our sleeves up and do out best.”