Shorter than normal report tonight. Why? Because it was a crap game, I can’t really be arsed writing a report and lastly the Master’s in on TV so let’s get to it!
With the Forthbank pitch resembling the colour of a beach the match started with the Beanos shooting towards the Springkerse end of the stadium. Peterhead came into the game on red hot form with a trail of wins and clean sheets in their wake. That was irrelevant. Stirling needed to win. However, it was the Blue Toon who enjoyed the better of the opening few minutes. A free kick was only half cleared to Graeme Sharp who pulled a weak shot past Sam Filler’s right hand post. After a sluggish period to start the match the Beanos finally seemed to find some fizz to their play. Kieran McAnespie drilled a free kick into the danger area, Jordan White failed to get a touch, and Peterhead keeper Graeme Smith stuck out a leg to prevent the ball going in. The ball seemed to bounce off Smith’s knee. An unorthodox spot of goal tending perhaps but it kept the scoreline blank.
Stirling were now beginning to put their visitors under pressure. A great run and cross from Mark Ferry ended with Scott Davidson stretching to force an attempt on target. Once again Smith reacted well to palm the ball away. The visiting keeper was in action again moments later as he raced out to meet Phil Johnston. The Albion winger had been played in down the Stirling right and his attempted slot past Smith took a slight nick off the keeper which saw the ball deflect into the side netting. Johnston then tried an over ambitious toe poke from 20 yards which trundled well wide of the target.
This spell of play promised much but frustratingly failed to deliver it. Peterhead rode the storm and got back on the attack themselves. David Cox curled over a testing cross which Jamie Redman headed past Filler’s left hand post. Martin Bavidge then limped off as injury forced an early change to Jim McInally’s plans. On in his place came Andy Rodgers. The former Stennie striker had only been on the pitch for a few seconds before he volleyed a Gary Thom clearance well wide of the Albion left hand upright. The visitors then hit the front. The ball was played up to RORY McALLISTER who turned his man before slotting a perfect strike low inside Sam Filler’s right hand post. Nice turn and strike from the big attacker but poor defending to let him get goal side so easily.
The Beanos tried to hit back before the break. Jordan White fed Scott Davidson who sliced wide of Graeme Smith’s left hand post from 18 yards. From a similar position Mark Ferry then blasted a shot high and wide under pressure from a Peterhead defender. This was it for the first 45. Therefore as the teams trooped off for the half-time smarties it was the visitors who held a narrow advantage.
Half-TimeStirling Albion 0 Peterhead 1
No changes at the break and as the match restarted the Beanos would have been hoping for a return to the form of the first 20 or so minutes of the match. Didn’t really happen. The first incident of note after the break saw David Cox and Jamie McCunnie shown yellows after a spot of handbags. The resulting free kick somehow found it’s way into the Albion six yard box where McAllister swiped at fresh air before Jamie Redman put his effort into the side net. Up the other end a Kieran McAnespie free kick was met by the diving figure of David McClune whose header flew wide of the goal.
As is often the case Scott Davidson was the first hooked as Sandy Cunningham entered the fray. Another McAnespie set piece created an opening but Jamie Bishops’s back post header sailed over the crossbar from close range. Ryan Strachan was the next man into the referee’s notebook. The same player then almost decapitated David McClune but the officials chose just to award a free kick. Tad lucky if you ask me. If he’d not been on a yellow Strachan would almost certainly have got one for that assault. The free kick came to nothing as did most Albion forays up the field. We were struggling to get much change from the strong and well organised Peterhead defence.
It was nearly a game clincher when a deep cross reached David Cox whose low angled shot skimmed across the face of goal and behind. The left peg of McAnespie was in action again soon afterwards but this time his strike from distance flew past Graeme Smith’s left hand post. Peterhead were looking the more likely to score at this stage. Not much was being created by either team but their attacks seemed to carry more menace. A corner from Cox was met by the head of Jamie Redman who steered his attempt past Filler’s left hand post. A second change was then made by Greig McDonald as Stephen Day came on for Jamie McCunnie. It should have been all over soon afterwards as firstly Andy Rodgers fell over the ball before Jamie Redman cannoned a shot off the prone Rodgers with the goal gaping.
With time winding down both sides made changes. For Peterhead Rory McAllister was replaced by Conner McGlinchey. The Beanos change saw a swap of wide men as Josh Flood took the place of Phil Johnston. Don’t know about you but for me the jury is still out on Johnston. The ratio of good to bad isn’t in his favour at the moment. Not enough end product and too much falling on his arse. Looked excellent in his first two or three games but not so much over the last few. A last chance for Stirling as a David McClune centre found Jordan White whose glancing header was easily gathered by Graeme Smith. With time almost up David Cox was subbed in favour of the experienced Ryan McCann. Just time wasting and to be fair Peterhead didn’t really need to. The Beanos were poor today and the ref’s whistle at time signaled not only the end of the match but with it our faint hopes of a play-off place.
Next week we head to Annan. With three games to go it’s all about avoiding second bottom in the SFL. After a decent run it would be disappointing if the season ended on that low note. Come on Stirling, suck it up and show some fight and quality in the last three matches.