Shire’s dismal run of results against Peterhead continues. Since the Aberdeenshire club entered the SFL in 2000, Shire have only ever registered four victories against the Blue Toon and their chances of adding to that were undone by two moments of defensive slackness.
Having given as good as they got for the first 40 minutes the home team allowed too much room for striker Rory McAllister to thread a pass through for Bryan Deasley to tap in the opener.
The home team started the second half strongly but could not find the finishing touch their play deserved and a moment of rashness from Stuart Beveridge sent Jamie Redman tumbling inside the penalty area and McAllister secured the points with the resulting penalty kick.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Shire who put so much into the game but got nothing out of it. Three times the home team hit the woodwork and there were enough chances for them to look back ruefully on what might have been.
Coach John Coughlin was forced to do without the suspended Steven Jackson and the injured Joe Dingwall which meant a re-organised defence. Back came Stuart Beveridge and David Cane into the centre of a back four with Ryan Frances moved out to left-back.
Scott Maxwell got his first start in midfield while skipper Kevin Turner was left out in favour of Joe Savage, who was also making his first competitive start of the campaign.
Shire were quickly on the attack and after just three minutes a ball into the box from Andy Stirling was met by the head of Jordyn Sheerin but the home striker’s looping effort just cleared the crossbar.
After seven minutes Peterhead were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Shire penalty area which Barry Sellars took but his shot was narrowly wide of Calum Antell’s left-hand post.
After that bright opening to the match neither side was able to create anything in the way of a clear-cut chance and the first half became something of a stalemate. Only one opportunity fell to either team during the next half hour, after 26 minutes when McAlllister shot wide of target when well-placed.
Just when it seemed as though Shire would reach the interval intact some poor defensive play was punished by Peterhead’s experienced forwards. A simple long ball up front was captured by McAllister who was allowed to run unchecked before he laid it into the path of Deasley who scored the game’s opening goal with a simple tap-in.
The home team re-appeared after the interval fired up and ready to take the game to Peterhead. Within two minutes of the re-start Shire were really unfortunate not to equalise when Andy Stirling hit a free-kick from wide on the right to the back post.
David Cane sent a header back across goal that seemed destined for the top corner of the net but the ball hit the far post and Peterhead scrambled it behind for a corner.
Stirling’s flag kick caused panic in the Blue Toon six yard box and when the ball landed at Sheerin’s feet he looked well-placed to burst the net. But the Shire striker failed to connect properly and his shot flew harmlessly over the bar.
Five minutes later Antell had to make a brilliant save from a shot from just outside the box to keep Shire in the game. But, much as had happened in the first period, the match then went through something of a lull.
It was enlivened on 68 minutes when a challenge on Peterhead midfielder Jamie Redman was deemed worthy of the award of a penalty by referee Brian Colvin. McAllister made no mistake from the spot to double Peterhead’s lead.
The coach then replaced his entire front line at the same time, removing Sheerin, Savage and Ally Love and replacing them with Turner, Nico Gibson and Alex Lurinsky.
The skipper made an instant impact and twice went close. He got his head on the end of a great Scott Maxwell free-kick and the ball looped towards goal but just did not dip quickly enough and cleared Raymond Jellema’s goal by a matter of centimetres.
Three minutes later Turner found himself free inside the box but fresh-aired his shot and although he collected the ball at the second attempt his follow-up effort was narrowly wide of target.
To Shire’s great credit it was they who took the game to Peterhead in the closing stages. With two minutes of the match left Maxwell’s right-wing corner was met by Cane’s powerful header which crashed back off the crossbar.
And deep into injury-time Gibson struck a shot from just outside the penalty area which struck the post from where Peterhead managed to clear their lines.
SHIRE : Antell, Chisholm, Frances, Cane, Beveridge, Hunter, Maxwell, Stirling, Savage(Turner 71), Sheerin(Gibson 71), Love(Lurinsky 71).
PETERHEAD : Jellema, Donald, McBain, Sellars, Rattray, Davidson, Ross, Redman, McAllister, Bavidge, Deasley(Sharp 80).
REFEREE : B. Colvin.
ATTENDANCE : 287.