Peterhead welcomed derby rivals Elgin City to Balmoor on Saturday and unlike true Balmoor fashion, there was not a breath of wind as kick-off approached.
STARTING XI: Stuart McKenzie, Scott Ross, Jason Brown ©, Ryan Strachan, Danny Strachan, Joe McKee, Andy McCarthy, Jack Brown, Conor O’Keefe, Kieran Shanks, Rory McAllister.
The Blue Toon came flying out the traps; immediately piling pressure on the Elgin defence. With Elgin clearly taken aback, Joe McKee found himself standing over a free kick on the edge of the Elgin penalty area. Elgin City were unable to clear the fine McKee delivery into the box and after some commotion in the congested penalty box, defender Scott Ross exhibited strikers’ prowess; firing the ball into the back of the Elgin City net from close range after only 2 minutes played. Peterhead were not content to have a one goal early lead however, as once again another close-range Joe McKee free kick troubled the opponents’ defence. With Rory McAllister rising highest, his powerful headed effort into the bottom left corner left McHale in the Elgin goal no chance.
McAllister’s early goal marks his first since re-signing for the club this season, and his 198th in total for The Blue Toon!
After 2 goals within the first 4 minutes of play, Elgin city begin to come into the match with MacLeman bursting through the Peterhead defence, only to fire his effort into the side netting. With the visitors enjoying more possession, O’Keefe had other ideas as he managed to break through the Elgin back line and attempted to find McAllister, who was unable to get on the end of O’Keefe’s cross. With Peterhead looking to get back in control of the match, a corner routine straight from the training ground fell to Jason Brown who was unable to keep his balance and saw his attempt fly over the crossbar. With the interval looming, a foul on McAllister on the edge of the Elgin penalty area gave McKee another chance to test the Elgin defence with a set piece, however Elgin did well to relieve the pressure and it was cleared away from the back post. Moments later, Kieran Shanks did well to protect the long ball played up to him and set up McCarthy; who’s effort was deflected into the side netting.
HALF TIME: Peterhead 2 – Elgin City 0.
Elgin got the 2nd half underway, introducing Barron and Draper to the match who replaced Ewan and Cairns; using two of their four named substitutes. Peterhead looked to start the 2nd half the same way they began the 1st with an early McAllister effort narrowly off target. With Peterhead pushing for a 3rd, a well worked attack saw Jack Brown’s low driven effort gathered by McHale. With 53 minutes played, Shanks stamped his authority on the match after Danny Strachan went driving through the heart of the pitch before picking out number 10 who eased past the Elgin defence and sent McHale the wrong way to make it 3. The Blue Toon now meant business as another McKee delivery into the box was met by the head of Scott Ross to put Peterhead 4-0 up. With Peterhead in cruise control, Jordon Brown wasn’t satisfied with four goals and made a triple substitution with McAllister, McKee and Ross being replaced by Ward, Reid, and Goldie. Another attacking substitution allowed Hamish Ritchie to get in on the act as Jack Brown departed the field of play. The final Peterhead change saw Ryan Strachan replaced by Jordan Armstrong in a like-for-like switch with 20 minutes of regular time to play. Stuart McKenzie in goals for Peterhead was then called into action for the first time on 72 minutes, after MacLeman’s effort was on target at McKenzie’s near post. Hamish Ritchie looked to make his mark on the match, troubling the Elgin City players with his skill and pace. His performance was soon rewarded as he was inevitably brought down in the Elgin City penalty area. Shanks stepped up in an attempt to join Scott Ross with a brace and successfully converted the penalty. The Blue Toon keep pushing the Elgin City defence back as Ritchie searched for his goal. With 90 minutes played, McHale pulled off a fantastic save to deny Ritchie adding a 6th for Peterhead. However, the 6th did come three minutes later when Shanks did well down the left hand side to dribble through the Elgin defence and found Ritchie who scored a rare header.
FULL TIME: Peterhead 6 – 0 Elgin City.
In a match where Peterhead looked to capitalise on every mistake their opponents made, The Blue Toon managed to put six goals past their derby rivals at Balmoor. The last time The Blue Toon managed such a feat was back in December 2017, brushing opponents Montrose aside with a 6-2 score line.
Following a 2-2 draw between Stenhousemuir and Clyde, Peterhead are currently League 2 leaders with 16 points from 8 matches; a point ahead of Stenhousemuir in 2nd.
Peterhead travel to Forfar Athletic next Saturday and look to get their 5th consecutive victory in all competitions.