Peterhead v Stenhousemuir at Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead on 6.4.10
Irn Bru Scottish Second Division Att 364
Peterhead 0 Stenhousemuir 1 [Love 3]
Peterhead – Bateman, Wilson, Smith, Strachan, Crawford, McVitie, Sharp, Ross, Bavidge, Moore [b89] and Bruce [Gethins 66]. Subs not used – Young, Bowden, Taylor and Jarvie
Stenhousemuir – McCluskey, Gibb, S.Thomson, McLeod, Smith, Molloy, Love [Stirling 80], Scullion, Dalziel [b23][Diack 86], I.Thomson and Motion. Subs not used – Lyle, Quinn and Bennett.
Referee - Brian Colvin Assistants – Gary Cheyne and Gavin Harris
Going into this game the Warriors had never won at Peterhead and the long journey there would have been full of trepidation, not only because of this but the recently contracting form of both teams. Peterhead looked to have turned the corner in recent weeks and are edging towards a promotion play- off spot after four victories and a draw in their last five games. Stenhousemuir on the other hand have had anxious glances at the other end of the table as four straight defeats have saw them become involved in the relegation play off battle.
All this counted for nothing though as the Warriors took the initiative from the start of the game. The match kicked off late and there seemed to be a lacklustre feeling in the home camp in the early stages and they were to be punished for this within the first three minutes of the commencement. The Warriors with a strong wind at their backs had forced the early pace and had caused problems with a couple of corner kicks before they took the lead from open play. A through ball was headed on by Scott Dalziel into the path of Robert Love and although Love appeared to be fouled in the box, he still had the composure to steer the ball past the advancing Jonathan Bateman and into the net.
It’s amazing what a goal can do to lift the spirits and the players were unrecognisable from the beleaguered team that finished Saturday’s game. The confidence grew in the team and Dalziel in particular was having his best game for a long time though he was unable to get the goal that his play deserved. The majority of the play during the first half was in Peterhead’s half of the pitch and the Warriors were unlucky not to double their advantage during the first 45 minutes. Pat Scullion came closest with a 35 yard effort that dipped and hit the crossbar with the keeper scrambling to get anywhere near it. Bateman did however keep the home side in the game by denying Love his second goal when the forward flicked the ball over a defender and then striking a half volley but the shot was too close to the keeper. Although Stenhousemuir gave the ball away cheaply by hitting passes that ran away in the wind they did for once use the wind as an aid for shooting and as well as Scullion’s long range effort Iain Thomson also had a couple of well struck efforts the best of which brought out an agile tip round the post by Bateman.
Despite their best efforts Stenhousemuir were unable to add to their tally and this was a concern for the second half as the home side surely had to exert more pressure than in the first when at times they looked happy just to go into the interval a goal behind. The Warriors started the half positively though and Dalziel forced Bateman into another save just after the restart. This at long last appeared to wake the home side up and Martin Bavidge who is so often the scourge of Stenhousemuir fired in a thunderbolt drive that somehow Chris McCluskey managed to push away in what was one supporters feeling the best save that he had ever seen. In the 50th minute Bavidge came close once again with an effort that flashed just wide.
Stenhousemuir were still playing some nice passing moves in their battle against the elements and when Dalziel picked out Love following some nice interchange of passes it looked as if he should score but he leant back and the ball went over.
Peterhead struggled to get any momentum throughout the game but they were almost gifted an equaliser in the 75th minute when McCluskey flapped at a cross and the ball fell to sub Connor Gethins but from close range crashed his shot off the post much to the relief of the Warrior’s contingent.
When the final whistle blew, history had been made as the Warriors were victorious at Peterhead for the first time in their history. More importantly in the short term is the fact that they made the long journey back home with a thoroughly deserved three points and leapfrog East Fife in the table.
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