Peterhead 0 Dundee 3
Peterhead may well be out of the Scottish Cup following a 3-0 defeat from Dundee at Balmoor in a tie that was shown live on BBC Scotland however it would be fair to say that everyone associated with the Blue Toon will be proud of the club today.
Jim McInally’s side put on a display that not only shook the Premiership side it was one that was good enough to win the tie however events conspired against them. A penalty converted by former Scotland player Charlie Adam separated the sides at the break however that does not tell the story of an opening 45 minutes where the spin of the ball and Ryan Duncan sent spinning to the ground could have brought more than an equaliser.
Peterhead were on top in the second half and only a wonder save prevented parity being restored before a breakaway goal from ex-Aberdeen ace Niall McGinn doubled Dundee’s lead before Josh Mulligan reminded everyone at Peterhead how good he is by adding a late third.
McInally switched Ryan Conroy to right back in his starting line-up with Flynn Duffy returning to left back to allow fit again skipper Scott Brown to start in midfield. Grant Savoury also returned with the cup-tied Rico Quitongo and Owen Cairns dropping out as well as Russell McLean who moved to the bench to accommodate a fit again Hamish Ritchie
The pitch at Balmoor was widely praised before the game and it saw two teams open up quite early with Peterhead almost making a stunning start after just eight minutes. Andy McCarthy was fouled by Max Anderson and the dead ball was worked to Scott Brown who fired from goal from the edge of the box.
The ball swerved just before reaching Dundee shot-stopper Ian Lawlor however he was able to reposition his hands and beat it away.
Peterhead kept taking the game to their full-time opponents and Niah Payne wriggled clear 16 yards out before trying his luck however Lawlor was again equal to his effort.
Dundee forced a corner on 9 minutes and danger threatened with a far post header however Peterhead were soon back on top with Duncan forcing a corner at the other end.
A well-worked corner on 17 minutes almost produced the opener for the hosts however Ritchie’s low drive was saved by Lawlor at his near post.
The home side kept on pushing and probing however they were stung on 32 minutes when McGinn sent Paul McMullan through on goal. The Dens Park man took a heavy touch as he tried to skip past Brett Long however the home goalkeeper stuck out a foot that tripped McMullan and referee David Munro pointed to the spot.
Adam made an immaculate job of things from 12 yards as he sent the ball one way whilst Long dived the other.
Peterhead however refused to feel sorry for themselves and it looked like they had deservedly equalised six minutes later when Payne scampered up the right thing and fired over a low ball that Ritchie flicked for goal.
Lawlor was beaten all ends up however the ball struck the inside of the post and spun in the air before going out of play at the other side of the Dundee goal.
A minute from half-time an incident occurred that will be remembered long into the night in the north-east. Dundee’s Jordan McGhee passed back to Lawlor who took a tough to steady himself however the ball moved out of his control and Duncan was onto it in a flash.
The Dundee shot-stopper dived full length to prevent the on-loan Aberdeen attacker from retrieving it and took the legs from Duncan as he did it without getting near the ball.
Everyone at Balmoor waited to hear referee Munro’s whistle and finger point to the penalty spot (and also to see if he would brandish a red card) however nothing was forthcoming.
It would be inappropriate to add to the ‘noise’ the non-decision generated by the live TV coverage of the game however a blank space has been left in the match report should an explanation be received.
Just before the half-time whistle Shaun Byrne was booked for fouling Savoury and Andy McDonald stepped up to take the resultant free-kick however it was saved.
Peterhead came out determined to show that their first 45-minute display was going to be matched and midfielder McCarthy sent a shot whistling just past four minutes in.
A minute later Adam fouled Savoury 25 yards from the Dundee goal and Savoury took the free-kick. Cries of ‘goal’ as his swerving shot arrowed towards goal were heard until Lawlor leapt to his left to produce a stunning save.
Two minutes later Peterhead were beginning to realise that it was not going to be their night when Adam launched a 40-yard pass over the heads of the home defence where the darting McGinn took a touch and then fired underneath the advancing Long to give Dundee a two-goal lead that was underserved.
There was however to be no lying down and Payne had an 18-yard drive stopped by Lawlor and McDonald had a shot blocked.
McLean was introduced midway through the second half in a bid to get the goal that would spark a fightback and on 72 minutes Duncan had a pop at goal but the ball flew over.
A McDonald header was saved before another substitute Derek Lyle sent an effort just past the side-netting.
Long was equal to a header from Dundee replacement Christie Elliot before the final goal arrived through Mulligan who spent the first half of the season in Blue Toon colours.
McGinn slipped the ball into the substitute’s path and the Dark Blues sub sent a shot curling past former team-mate Long and high into the net.
Long, Conroy (McLean 67), Jason Brown, McDonald, Duffy, McCarthy, Scott Brown, Ritchie (Jordon Brown 82), Duncan (Cook 82), Savoury, Payne (Lyle 76)
Unused substitutes – (Cullen g/k)