Toon unlucky to leave Stranraer with nothing


Peterhead made the long trip to the south west to take on a Stranraer side equally keen to register their first victory of the season.

It was the visitors who showed early on with a couple of early corners but they couldn’t capitalise on either of them and the Blues defence stood firm.

The home side had shown little or nothing going forward but gave goalkeeper Fraser Hobday, retaining his place in the side, a heart stopping moment when his clearance hit Craig Malcolm but fortunately went well wide.

A free kick from twenty plus yards gave Rory McAllister his first glimpse at goal and although well struck, his low drive flashed past the post.

Malcolm had a good chance from a Willie Gibson free kick as the Blues threatened but he missed and an offside flag spared the strikers blushes.

Peterhead were shading the midfield battle and another forward move found Stefan McCluskey who had some space wide on the left but his driven shot was well held by Cameron Belford.

In the 26th minute the home side made the breakthrough with a neat move down the right.

Craig Thomson picked up possession from a throw in and in turn found Mark McGuigan who from the narrowest of angles, almost on goal line, beat Hobday and the ball nestled in the net by the far post.

This gave Stranraer some confidence and they surged forward again.

Gibson trying his luck from 25 yards and although Hobday saved it, it was at the expense of corner.

Gibson delivered and Malcolm hit the post with a header as the Blues piled the pressure on the Blue Toon defence which somehow, albeit shakily stood firm until the break.

In the 51st minute Peterhead created their best chance of the match and should have been level.

After good work on the left the ball reached Jordon Brown who had space and time.

He could have shot but elected to cut inside and shoot but Belford stood up well and managed to make the save which the home defence then cleared.

The visitors were enjoying their best spell and had another chance but Ross headed straight at Belford from a corner before an effort at the end from Malcolm curled well wide as the game began to open out a bit and it took a great challenge from Fiacre Kelleher to block another Malcolm effort shortly afterwards.

Both sides made changes on the hour and the home side substitute, Kyle Turner went on a solo run but fired his shot straight at Hobday while at the other end McAllister couldn’t quite keep his header down and another attempt by Jordon Brown which did beat the keeper was easily tidied up and cleared by Steven Bell.

Stranraer had another loud claim for a penalty waved away by referee Anderson as McGuigan went down under a challenge from Kelleher.

McAllister had a fantastic opportunity on 70 minutes, latching on to a superb through ball from Ryan Strachan.

He beat Frank McKeown and then Belford but his net bound effort was blocked by an outstanding piece of defending from David Barron.

The danger remained and McAllister had another try but this time McKeown blocked the shot and somehow the home defence held out.

Belford came to Stranraer’s rescue again as McAllister fired a rocket from long range with a fingertip save on to the post and with McCluskey flagged offside from the rebound the under pressure home defence continued its charmed life.

With Peterhead piling on the pressure they almost got caught on the break as Malcolm sent McGuigan clear and although the striker got past Ross his shot couldn’t beat Hobday who made a good save low to his right.

In stoppage time Leighton McIntosh found a yard of space inside the penalty box but his shot deflected off McKeown and into the side netting.

A game where both sides had periods of dominance ended with the home side claiming all three points in a match that could have yielded more for Jim McInally’s side.

Next up for Peterhead will be the away trip to Dundee United in the Challenge Cup this Saturday.