Stenhousemuir v Peterhead at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 09.05.18
SPFL Ladbrokes League One Play-off Final First Leg Att 796
Stenhousemuir 2 [M.Dunlop 61,76] Peterhead 0
Stenhousemuir – Smith, Meechan [b34], M.Dunlop, R.Dunlop, Donaldson, Ferry, McGuigan, Paton, Cook [Marsh 85], Scott [b15][Dallas 70] and Ferns[b54] [Murray 75]. Subs not used – Halleran, McMinn and Longworth.
Peterhead – Fleming, Ja.Brown [Belmokhtar 43], McIlduff, Leitch, McCracken [b62], Smith [Jo.Brown 81], Stevenson, S.Brown, McAllister [Johnston 70], McLean [b58] and Gibson, Subs not used – Hobday, Ferry, Norris and Adams.
Referee – Gavin Duncan Assistants – Graham McNellie and David Doig.
After a successful result against Queens Park it was on to the final of the play-offs with a two legged match against Peterhead who were also relegated last season and hoping to return to League One at the first attempt. The Peterhead side finished the regular season a whole 22 points and 31 goals better than the Warriors so for many outsiders the final looked to be a foregone conclusion. The supporters of both sides though knew it would be a far tighter affair as Stenhousemuir had won three on the encounters between the teams this season.
Once you get to the finals it can be a matter of attrition which is the vital factor and neither side were blessed with big squads going into the first leg. Peterhead though had the easier of the semi-finals and were able to rest key players late on in the second leg against Stirling Albion. They were without ex-Warrior Mason Robertson though who had scored in both legs of the semi-final.
A larger than normal crowd turned up at Ochilview boosted by the decision to issue tickets to the under 16s at the club and there was an impressive number of Peterhead supporters for this midweek encounter.
After a fairly even start to the game Stenhousemuir began to create the better openings and could and probably should have went into the half time interval with a healthy lead. That they weren’t able to do so was through a combination of bad luck and good goalkeeping by another ex-Warrior Greg Fleming.
It could have been even worse for the home side though as the best opportunity to score in the first half came for the Blue Toon in controversial fashion. They were awarded a penalty in the 43rd minute when yet another ex-Warrior Allan Smith appeared to be fouled and referee Gavin Duncan awarded a penalty. The referee probably made the right decision but he missed a blatant two handed push by Rory McAllister on Ruaridh Donaldson which gave the striker the chance to cross in the first place. McAllister is usually deadly from the spot but this time he fluffed his lines and shot wide of the target. Justice was done and this was a pivotal moment in the game so close to half time.
Just before half time Peterhead were dealt a blow when Jason Brown limped off after eventually admitting defeat after struggling with an injury for much of the match after being involved in a collision with Fleming. This meant that Russell McLean moved from the forward line back to the defence for the rest of the game.
The second half saw the Warriors still on top but they were still struggling to make the breakthrough until captain Michael Dunlop decided to stamp his mark on the proceedings. He put the Warriors one up just after the hour when he headed home an Eddie Ferns corner at the back post. This was one of the few successful corners all season and it was fitting that the captain who scored. He led the team and was rewarded with his second goal in the 76th minute when he headed home a Harry Paton free-kick after his run wasn’t picked up,
That proved to be the final goal of a game that was entertaining with Harry Paton’s runs in particular catching the eye. Most importantly it gives Stenhousemuir a two goal cushion for the second leg.
|May 9, 2018||7:45 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1 Playoffs||2017/18||90'|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|