Peterhead made the long journey south on Saturday to Stair Park where The Blue Toon faced Stranraer for the 3rd time in the 2023/2024 league campaign. With the previous two games played at Stair Park and Balmoor, the home side came out victorious both times with one win each to their name.
After enduring a poor run of form over the festive period, Peterhead put three goals past Dumbarton on Tuesday evening at Balmoor to claim the three points; and looked to build further on that on Saturday against Stranraer.
Starting XI: McKenzie, Goldie, Ross (C), R. Strachan, D. Strachan, McKee, McCarthy, Jack Brown, Ward, Shanks, McAllister.
As Peterhead aimed to return to winning ways, the hosts kicked off as they looked to climb the table. With Stranraer taking the advantage early on after a string of long balls into the Peterhead box, a through ball out wide from Christopher Johnstone onto the path of James Dolan was played back into the box to Johnstone who found himself 1-on-1 with McKenzie. A fine and composed finish by the Stranraer midfielder as he lifted the ball over McKenzie and into the back of the Peterhead net. With the blustery conditions making for difficult play in the air, a scrappy end to end match unfolded on the ground as neither side had any real goal scoring opportunities. Mid-way through the first half it was Stranraer who had the first real shots at goal which were dealt with effectively by McKenzie. As play was temporarily paused, Joe McKee received treatment and was subsequently replaced by Hamish Ritchie in the first sub of the afternoon. As Ritchie looked to make his mark on the match, it was the substitute who had Peterhead’s first opportunity of the match as the ball was well kept in by Shanks and played back to Ritchie, however Budinauckas in the Stranraer goal did well to deny Ritchie from close range. With Peterhead continuing to enjoy a spell of attacking play, Stranraer midfielder Dylan Forrest was the first player to enter the referee’s book as Jack Brown was hauled down to avoid a Peterhead counter attack. With neither side having any clear cut chances with exception to the opportunity Stranraer converted; the two teams headed in for the interval.
HT: Stranraer 1 – 0 Peterhead.
It was Jack Brown who got the 2nd half underway as Peterhead threw men forward in an attempt to level the scoreline. With The Blue Toon players in attack, Cameron Johnstone won the ball back in midfield and played a through ball over the Peterhead defence to Thomas Orr. After the flag stayed down, Orr slid the ball under McKenzie from a tight angle and into the bottom corner. After the match restarted, Hamish Ritchie was the first Peterhead player to receive a yellow card for a late challenge on Craig Ross; closely followed by Stranraer midfielder Matthew Grant for an altercation with Andy McCarthy. With Peterhead trailing by two goals, The Blue Toon made their 2nd substitute of the afternoon as Robert Ward was replaced by Peter Pawlett who made his 2nd appearance from the bench for Peterhead. Ten minutes into the 2nd half, Hamish Ritchie found himself standing over a free kick on the edge of the Stranraer box. Budinauckas did well to deny the head of Rory McAllister and Jack Brown’s effort from outside the box to keep Peterhead at bay. Andy McCarthy was the 2nd Peterhead player to enter the book. With 22 minutes of regular time to play, Peterhead made their 3rd and final change of the afternoon as Jordon Brown replaced Danny Strachan. As the 2nd half unfolded in similar fashion as the first, neither team could take control of the match. As the match progressed, Stranraer used the first of their substitutes as Dean Hawkshaw replaced Christopher Johnstone. Stranraer then went on to make their last two substitutes of the match as Deryn Lang replaced Thomas Orr, followed by Scott Robertson being replaced by Kyle Fleming. Before Scott Robertson was replaced, his final contribution came in the form of an altercation with Andy McCarthy; which ultimately resulted in the Peterhead midfielder receiving his 2nd yellow card and making his way down the Stranraer tunnel. With The Blue Toon now down to 10 men, Shanks received a yellow card as the match drew to a close.
FT: Stranraer 2 – 0 Peterhead.
Following on from a win against Dumbarton on Tuesday, The Blue Toon fall to Stranraer for the 2nd time this season as once again in this fixture; the home side came out on top. Peterhead travel to 7th placed East Fife next Saturday as The Blue Toon will look to turn their form around.