Toon’s cup run comes to an end in Highland capital

CHALLENGE CUP'INVERNESS CALEDONIOAN THISTLE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S RORY MCALLISTER HOLDS OFF BRAD MCKAY
CHALLENGE CUP'INVERNESS CALEDONIOAN THISTLE V PETERHEAD'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S RORY MCALLISTER HOLDS OFF BRAD MCKAY

Peterhead were left to rue losing an early goal in each half as they crashed out of the Irn-Bru Cup at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

A stoppage time goal compounded their misery as they were undone 3-0 in the Highland capital, a result that fails to tally with their performance.

Jim McInally’s men fell behind inside two minutes when home captain Iain Vigurs set up Liam Polworth and his drive took a deflection to find its way past Greg Fleming.

The visitors acquitted themselves admirably after the early setback and five minutes later ex-ICT man Rory McAllister saw his overhead kick from a long throw into the box by Jamie Stevenson sail narrowly over the bar.

Fleming palmed a John Baird angled drive away and, at the other end, Stevenson tested Owain Fon Williams in the home net but the Welshman parried the effort before the danger was hooked away.

Willie Gibson’s forays down the left flank proved fruitful and when he cut inside and drove a shot at goal, the ball took a deflection off Russell McLean and skimmed onto the roof of the net with the Inverness keeper beaten.

Neither team could establish themselves further in the first half and Peterhead headed into the break a goal down.

The second half began and bore the same hallmarks of the first period with Inverness doubling their advantage in the opening minutes.

This time Ricky Calder beat Fleming after latching onto a Polworth return pass before slotting calmly into the corner of the net.

Despite their two goal lead, Inverness were guilty of carelessly placed passes and miscommunications which drew the ire of the home crowd and somewhat reflected their current run of bad form.

In comparison, Peterhead continued to press for a goal to reduce the deficit and enjoyed some fine passages of play, exhibiting fluid passes and good movement off the ball but they lacked the sharpness in front of goal to fashion many clear cut chances to reward their industry.

This absence of killer instinct in the final third proved to be Peterhead’s undoing as they conceded a late third, 16 year old substitute Daniel Mackay netting on his professional debut with a close range header having come on as a substitute moments earlier.

Speaking after the match, Blue Toon manager Jim McInally felt that his team deserved more than the scoreline.

He said: “I felt the score was a bit unfair to us.

The early goal set us back but we had the majority of possession at times.

“We were guilty of trying to score the perfect goal and walk it in.

“We needed more of a cutting edge in the final third. There are positives to take from the game and if we play at that level against Colville Park we hope to get a good result”.

Peterhead will host amateur side Colville Park at Balmoor on Saturday in the second round of the Scottish Cup.

They will return to league duty the following Saturday, October 21, when they travel south to take on Clyde at Broadwood.