It was Saturday night lights for Peterhead as The Blue Toon welcomed Dundee United in the 4th round of the SPFL Trust Trophy. Due to the match being selected to be broadcast live on BBC Alba, a later kick-off time of 5:30pm meant the 1352 fans in attendance would witness Balmoor under the lights for the first time this season.
STARTING XI: McKenzie, D. Strachan, Armstrong, Jas. Brown (C), R. Strachan, McAllister, Shanks, Jack Brown, Ross, McKee, O’Keefe.
It was Jack Brown who got things underway at Balmoor and immediately it was evident the visitors would try to gain possession and control the tempo of the match. McKenzie in the Peterhead goal was alert to deny Dundee United striker Moult in the first real chance of the match. The 0-0 scoreline was short-lived as after 7 minutes, Middleton’s free kick from 30 yards out crept past McKenzie and into the bottom left corner. With Dundee United enjoying the early lead and plenty of possession, the wind and rain played its part on the match in similar fashion to last week. With 25 minutes played, Danny Strachan attempted to break down a Dundee United counter attack and was the first player to enter the referee’s book after an alleged foul on Middleton. With the visitors piling pressure on The Blue Toon defence, a quick counter attack followed by a close range attempt from Moult was dealt with excellently by McKenzie who made himself big to block the striker’s shot. As half time approached, Peterhead talisman McAllister entered the book and moments later was joined by Dundee United midfielder Docherty for a rash challenge on Jack Brown as Peterhead looked to break away. Peterhead then enjoyed a positive attacking spell in the match and did not let the visitors play; after a well worked attacking move Danny Strachan’s attempt was blocked by the Dundee United defence and was the last piece of action prior to interval.
Half Time: Peterhead 0 – 1 Dundee United.
It was the visitors turn to kickoff and after The Blue Toon failed to clear a Dundee United corner, it was Armstrong who cleared the ball off the line to prevent the visitors doubling their lead. With 59 minutes played, Peterhead made their first tactical change of the match with D. Strachan making way for Hamish Ritchie as The Blue Toon pushed for an equaliser. The visitors responded with a double change of Moult and Tillson being replaced by Sibbald and Fotheringham. With The Blue Toon coming more into the match, McKee was the latest player to enter the referee’s book after pulling back Fotheringham to slow down a Dundee United attack. With O’Keefe causing problems for the visitors down the left hand side, after only 5 minutes on the pitch Ritchie nearly pulled The Blue Toon level however Walton in the Dundee United goal did well to deny the midfielder. Another double substitution for Dundee United saw Grimshaw and Glass replace Freeman and Mochrie after 68 minutes. As Peterhead searched for a breakthrough, a well worked move from defence through the midfield found Shanks with space on the edge of the box. With Walton rooted to the spot, Shanks was unlucky to have his effort fly narrowly wide of the post. The visitors retaliation by Watt saw his effort from range soar over the head of McKenzie and land inside the top left corner. With referee Calum Scott temporarily pausing the match due to an injury to linesman Douglas Ross who was then replaced by 4th official Dan McFarlane, The Blue Toon made two attacking changes in Jordon Brown and Aaron Reid to replace McKee and McAllister. After a foul outside the Peterhead penalty area, Middleton teed up his free kick in an attempt to score his 2nd of the match, however his effort went straight down the throat of McKenzie who did well to keep hold of the moving shot. In the final substitution for The Blue Toon with 6 minutes of regular time remaining, Robert Ward and Caleb Goldie replaced Conor O’Keefe and Scott Ross in like-for-like swaps. With both teams now searching for a goal in what had become an end-to-end match, McKenzie did tremendously to prevent a Dundee United 3rd after a McMann close range effort. As the new 4th official indicated for 9 minutes of added time, a final Dundee United change of Stilton for Docherty concluded the changes for both sides.
Full Time: Peterhead 0 – 2 Dundee United.
MOTM: Kieran Shanks
In a match where Peterhead troubled Dundee United just as much as the vice-versa, it was the visitors who took their chances at Balmoor. With high winds and plenty of rain; common Balmoor weather.
Looking ahead to the league next Saturday, The Blue Toon travel to Stenhousemuir in a top-of-the-table clash at the regular kick-off time of 3pm.
Best of luck to Dundee United for the rest of the season; both in their league campaign and in the SPFL Trust Trophy where they progress to the quarter finals.