Second-half show of character seals victory

Peterhead's Willie Gibson celebrates his goal with Rory McAllister and Derek Lyle, who also got on the scoresheet (picture by Duncan Brown).
Peterhead's Willie Gibson celebrates his goal with Rory McAllister and Derek Lyle, who also got on the scoresheet (picture by Duncan Brown).

Cowdenbeath 2, Peterhead 4

Peterhead twice came from behind on Saturday to wrap up a much-desired win at Central Park.

A bizarre brace of goals helped them on their way to full points, including a back-heeler from skipper Rory McAllister and a super-long range free kick from Willie Gibson, which embarrassed Cowden ‘keeper David McGurn.

The Blue Toon were 2-1 down at half time but pulled one back within a minute of the restart, which gave them the confidence to go on and avenge the recent defeats by Bohemians and Edinburgh City.

Peterhead showed marginally more intent in going forward during the early stages but it was Cowdenbeath who took something of a surprise lead in the ninth minute.

Jason Talbot started and finished the move, continuing his run after a lay-off to Sheerin, who directed the ball back into his path and enabled him to score.

Mick Dunlop rifled home Peterhead’s equaliser four minutes later, after a corner kick which went across goal. Derek Lyle directed it back towards the target and McGurn pushed the ball out but the Peterhead man was quickest on to it.

The home side went back in front after 27 minutes. Bradley Smith transferred a pass to David Cox on the left and Robbie Buchanan met his cross to score with a stylish downard header.

There was a sense that an early goal for either side in the second half would prove most telling, and Peterhead were level within a minute of the restart.

McGurn pushed a header on to the bar, following a free kick into the box from Jamie Stevenson, and Lyle was the first to react amid a mass of bodies.

Jim McInally’s side took the lead after 57 minutes in rather unorthodox fashion, when a long ball forward from Dunlop found its way to McAllister, who was virtually on his own in the box. His back-heeled effort appeared to take a deflection but trundled into the net.

In the 67th minute, Peterhead completed the scoring with another goal which had a touch of the eccentric about it. Willie Gibson lined up to take a direct free kick from just inside his own half and noticed that McGurn was standing forward off his line but did not appear to be marshalling the defence. Gibson fired home, past a wrong-footed and shocked goalkeeper.

McGurn, however, did make amends with a fine save from a low 20-yard free kick from McAllister after 73 minutes, while three minutes from time, he skilfully blocked an effort with his feet from sub Ross Kavanagh, who was clean through on goal.

Afterwards, manager Jim McInally said his side had showed a lot of character and it had been an enjoyable game.

“There maybe wasn’t a lot of good football but it was a physical game,” he added. “I know some teams think they can maybe bully us a bit but we are a strong enough team to look after ourselves.

“I think the difference was in the second half, we played at a tempo that we didn’t really have in the first half. We had gone behind and, obviously, your confidence gets dunted and it gives them a lift.

“But when we played at the tempo we started the second half with, we got a goal early and I don’t think we really looked back after that.

“I said to the players at half time that, if we did equalise, I thought we would win the game, because they were having to work really hard. I felt if we could have got an equaliser, it would put them on the back foot and we could kick on, and that’s what happened.”

McInally was delighted to win after two straight defeats and it was heartening to see four different names on the scoresheet, including McAllister and Lyle.

“It’s good to see what we are bringing off the bench now, with Ryan Dow, Ross Kavanagh and Russell McLean,” he said. “Paddy Boyle is fit again, so we’ll get him back playing.”

Cowdenbeath – McGurn, Mullen, Talbot (Deas 66), Pyper, Marsh, Malcolm, Cox, Buchanan, Sheerin (Renton 70), Scott, Smith (Kelly 61). Subs (not used) Goodfellow, Scullion, Swann, Kay.

Peterhead – Fleming, Brown, Lyle (Dow 69), Eadie, Dunlop (McLean 79), Ferry, Stevenson, Brown, McAllister (Kavanagh 76), Leitch, Gibson. Subs (not used) Gibson, Norris, Boyle, Home.

Referee – Grant Irvine.

Attendance – 341.