Defeat has all too often seemed a matter of routine for Shire this season, but that does not mean that it has been necessarily inevitable.
The point was proven by the team’s first league trip to Balmoor Stadium since 2004; another notch in the list of losses but a match where the final result was always in question right until the moment where the referee ended it.
Shire now look more isolated at the bottom of the Third Division than at any stage of the season so far but, paradoxically, there was plenty in the team’s performance to give reason for hope rather than despair.
Coach John Coughlin was left with even fewer options at his disposal than had been available for the previous week’s trip to Elgin City with Stuart Beveridge and Bradley Coyne not in the line-up. That gave Jamie Benton a promotion to the squad for the vfirst time this season.
Iain Chisholm was recalled to a starting berth along with Joe Dingwall, each occupying a full-back position.
The opening period of the match was dull and flat, perhaps not surprising as there was a lot at stake for both teams. It took twelve minutes for either goalkeeper to be brought into action and Shire’s Calum Antell was hardly troubled by Brian Deasley’s shot from just outside the box.
Shire responded and Kevin Turner attempted to give the visitors the lead after 17 minutes but his long-range lob of home keeper Paul Jarvie just drifted wide of the far post.
Peterhead began to seize the initiative, though, and Jamie Redman’s six yard shot had to be blocked on the line by David Cane before Antell was broughtc into serious action to turn Deniss Wyness’s diving header at the near post behind for a corner.
Shire were finding it hard to find a route into the home penalty box but were not afraid to have a go from longer range and after 23 minutes Lewis Horner had a dig from way out but his effort flew just wide.
Two minutes later Horner’s run created a great chance for Scott Maxwell but his shot was blocked by a Peterhead leg before it could get anywhere near Jarvie.
Just after the half hour Wyness found space inside the Shire penalty area and his angled shot was pushed round the post for a corner by Antell. From the resulting flag kick Antell produced a great save as a shot came in from close-range but was not able to stop Wyness collecting the rebound to score with a tap-in.
Six minutes from the break an enterprising run from Maxwell ended with a pass to Horner and his effort from the 18 yard line just shaved the outside of the post.
Two minutes later, though, Antell had to look sharp to tip a long-range shot over the bar.
Peterhead veteran Martin Bavidge was first to threaten after the half-time interval with a shot from just inside the box that Antell dived to his right to beat away, but Shire should have levelled the scores just two minutes later.
Andy Stirling’s free-kick from wide on the right was headed towards goal by David Cane but a Peterhead defender managed to clear the ball off the line.
After 57 minutes some great work down the right by Alex Lurinsky set up Turner who turned on the edge of the six yard box and sent in what seemed like a goal-bound effort only for Jarvie to throw himself full-length to make a superb save.
Five minutes later the Shire skipper held off the attentions of two home defenders and cracked in a shot which, unfortunately, was straight at the the home keeper.
The Shire pressure continued and after 69 minutes Peterhead once more had Jarvie to thank for preserving thair advantage. Some neat passing play ended with a cross into the home box which was only half cleared to Stirling at the back post and his shot from the edge of the box was pushed over the bar at full stretch by the home keeper.
But it was not all one-way traffic in the second half. A poor clearance gave home substitute Lee Davidson the chance to put Peterhead 2-0 in front after 77 minutes but his effort crashed back off Antell’s crossbar with the keeper beaten.
And with eight minutes to go Jamie Redman got in a powerful point-blank header which Antell equalled with a brilliant instinctive save to keep the visitors in the match.
PETERHEAD : Jarvie, Donald, McBain, Ross(Davidson 58), MacDonald, Strachan, Sharp(Conway 75), Redman, Wyness, Bavidge, Deasley.
SHIRE : Antell, Chisholm, Dingwall(Team 85), Cane, Jackson, Hunter, Lurinsky(Benton 81), Stirling, Turner(Sheerin 70), Horner, Maxwell.
REFEREE : E. Anderson
ATTENDANCE : 431.