Peterhead FC: Blue Toon beaten 1-0 by young Dons

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The Blue Toon started their pre-season games with a narrow defeat against a young Aberdeen team, writes Jim Irving.

In a game of very few clear cut chances, a mishit effort just after the hour mark was the difference between the sides.

With the Dons giving their many talented youngsters a run out after a bruising Europa Cup game on Thursday and Peterhead only just getting back into their stride, chances of a repeat of the 3-2 match a year ago never looked likely.

Missing David Cox and Andy Rodgers who were on holiday, manager Jim McInally started with top scorer Rory McAllister on the bench.

New signings Reece Donaldson and Jamie Stevenson were in the starting line up and it was Stevenson who stood out with a lively performance that augers well for the coming season.

He shot wide early on and should have done better when a misplaced pass by Aberdeen’s giant central defender Ash Taylor fell to Fraser McLaren and as the striker sent Stevenson clear he curled a shot wildly over.

For their part, the visitors weren’t much better. Nicky Low stood out as their star performer throughout but a series of half chances never troubled Graeme Smith in the home goal.

With Peterhead bringing on six substitutes after the break, things looked brighter. However, it was Stevenson that almost brought the sun drenched crowd to their feet six minutes after the restart when he saw Dons Keeper Scott Brown well off his line and his audacious lobbed shot a la Beckham from well inside his own half was just a fraction past the left hand post.

Substitute McAllister almost scored a sensational opener soon after with a first time volley from the left corner of the penalty area that dipped just past the post with Brown desperately diving to ensure it didn’t creep into the corner.

With a goal looking increasingly unlikely, the visitors scored with a scruffy effort that summed up the game.

A Cammy Smith cross from the right was mishit by Lawrence Shankland and with the ball bobbling apparently wide, it somehow found its way into the corner.

A useful exercise for both sides and whilst little should be read into preseason games, Peterhead looked in good enough shape and will surely be even sharper on Saturday when long time foes Fraserburgh visit Balmoor.

After the match Blue Toon boss Jim McInally said: “My first concern was that we didn’t get turned over too much.

“With Aberdeen playing on Thursday night I knew a lot of their first team guys wouldn’t be playing.

“But the guys that played are fringe players trying to push themselves into the team so sometimes it can be hard.

“I’m glad we could get some fitness and game time into the boys.”

Peterhead - Smith, Sharp (McCann 46), Noble, Smith, Ross (Tait 68), Donaldson, Stevenson (Lawrence 77), Redman, McLaren (McAllister 46), Gilfillan (Cowie 46), Strachan (Brown 46);

Unused: McDonald

Referee – Graham Beaton

Attendance – 1087