A battling display by Peterhead saw them pick up a 1-1 draw at home to Kelty Hearts with gaffer Davie Robertson admitting they are getting ever closer following a valiant display from the hosts.The Blue Toon started on the ascendency with intent from the word go, Jack Wilkie had an effort go wide for the hosts on seven minutes before Daniel Fosu pounced on a mistake and tried to flick the ball towards goal but it was held by Kelty goalkeeper Darren Jamieson.
John Potter’s side were always a threat going forward and a last-ditch Jason Brown tackle stopped Alfredo Agyeman in his tracks as he was set to pull the trigger on 13 minutes,Kelty took the lead in controversial circumstances on 24 minutes, Kieran Shanks was challenged in the middle of the park by Lewis Martin who intercepted the ball off the on-loan Arbroath striker and scurried 22 yards from goal hitting an audacious strike high into the net past Stuart McKenzie. Shanks was furious by referee Iain Snedden’s decision and sprinted to the official immediately after the Fifers had taken the lead to protest.It shows a change in mentality implemented by gaffer Robertson when the Blue Toon kept on putting Kelty under pressure, they had a scare a minute after the goal as Kallum Higginbotham linked up with Agyeman but the linesman deemed them both offside.
Despite his exasperation at Sneddon’s conclusion, Shanks earned a few fouls for Peterhead as the forward looked hungry for goals and won a foul on 32 minutes that got Jamie Barjonas booked.Peterhead pulled level in first-half stoppage time with virtually the last kick of the half thanks to a cute free kick from Jack Wilkie, Daniel Fosu had an attempt from a similar angle five minutes previously that went over the bar but on-loan Dundee full-back Wilkie curled an effort goalwards that sneaked into the bottom right corner past Jamieson. The lift that Peterhead needed in a half they played with authority but lacked any luck in the final third prior to the hit.If anyone looked like scoring in the opening exchanges of the second half, it was Kelty. The hosts were still creative in their approach with Jason Brown looking to find the front three of Shanks, Fosu and Joshua Oyinsan but good organisation by the Maroons thwarted the hosts, 13 minutes after the restart, a good ball came into the box that Joe Cardle volleyed towards goal with an instinct save by McKenzie denying the Hearts playmaker.
Kelty maintained their pressure with several chances later in the half, Nathan Austin pulled a shot wide of McKenzie’s goal before the experienced custodian made a strong save to deny Ross Philp. Shortly afterwards, a Kallum Higginbotham free kick was blocked by the Blue Toon backline as the hosts remained resilient. Jordon Brown has made a patient return from injury and the Peterhead stalwart made some crucial interceptions against Kelty’s experienced midfield duo of Cardle and Higginbotham but also got forward and had a few opportunities that was held by Jamieson. A man of his experience was welcomed though in a 40-minute cameo.
A sense of enthusiasm had crept into Balmoor once chances came along, there was more set-piece opportunities and a lot more adaptation for the forwards, Andy McCarthy had an opportunity nine minutes from time with his delivery blocked by the visiting backline. From the subsequent corner, there was nothing effective for Peterhead with Kelty forcing the Blue Toon support into finger biting with a few more opportunities for set-pieces including Cardle forcing McKenzie to tip a shot over the bar with a good effort. McKenzie made sure of what could be a decisive point deep into injury time for Peterhead, saving a Nathan Austin header with ease after a Higginbotham delivery. Shanks was having a rough afternoon as he was on the receiving end of a Jamie Barjonas challenge that was worthy of at least a booking but he showed a battling performance for the hosts.
Peterhead: McKenzie, Joshua, Jason Brown, Strachan, McCarthy, Shanks, Bisland, Wilkie, Ikwa (Jordon Brown 60), Oyinsan (McLeod 75), Fosu. Subs: Wood, Jordon Brown, Allan, Strachan, McLeod, Melingui, Jack Brown, Gabriel, MacIver.
Kelty Hearts: Jamieson, O’Ware, Martin, Barjonas, Higginbotham, Tidser (Austin 55), Philp, Milne, Agyeman, Leitch (Cardle 55), Lyon (Shearer 68). Subs: Cardle, Austin, Hill, Shearer, Campbell