Spartans 2 Peterhead 1

May 8, 2024

Peterhead travelled to Ainslie Park once again on Tuesday evening as The Blue Toon faced The Spartans in their first playoff fixture. Tuesday evening’s fixture was the sixth time the two sides have faced each other in all competitions this season; with Peterhead only coming out victorious once prior to Tuesday’s game.

Starting XI: McKenzie, Goldie, Jas. Brown (C), R. Strachan, Duffy, McKee, McCarthy, Jack Brown, Ritchie, O’Keefe, Shanks.

As the home side got the ball rolling at Ainslie Park, The Blue Toon looked the sharper of the two teams with plenty possession in The Spartans half. After a routine save from McKenzie, the Peterhead goalkeeper found Hamish Ritchie who then played a long ball over the defence to O’Keefe. As Carswell in The Spartans goal came out to collect, O’Keefe lofted the ball over the hosts’ goalkeeper and into the back of the home net. With Peterhead taking an early lead after eight minutes played, it wasn’t long before the referee produced a yellow card for The Spartans defender Sonkur for a foul on Shanks. From the edge of the penalty area, Joe McKee’s free kick was high. With the home side looking for a response, Marco McNulty’s close range effort was excellently blocked by Duffy. From the same attack, Cameron Russell’s low driven cross found Paul Watson who tapped home for the hosts. As the hosts pushed for the advantage, Jason Brown proved crucial to deny Blair Henderson’s shot from close range. With chances falling for both sides and both goalkeepers called into action for routine saves, Jack Brown won the ball in the midfield and did well to beat his man for pace before finding Shanks. After taking the ball round the defence, Carswell did well to get down to stop the striker’s shot. With minutes until half time, O’Keefe looked to be through on the counter attack before he was brought down by Kieran Watson; who was shown a yellow card for the foul.

HT: The Spartans 1 – 1 Peterhead.

It was Peterhead’s turn to kick off the second half and as The Blue Toon continued to push for a second goal, Caleb Goldie’s low driven cross was met by Flynn Duffy however denied brilliantly by Blair Carswell. After sixty minutes played, Joe McKee became the first Peterhead player to enter the referee’s book for a foul on Craigen. After Jack Brown’s shot from the edge of the box was easily saved by Carswell, Peterhead made two changes in their bid to gain the advantage as Rory McAllister and Alfie Stewart came on for Kieran Shanks and Joe McKee. With twenty minutes of regular time to play, The Spartans goalscorer Paul Watson was cautioned for fouling Jack Brown; making him the fourth defender on the home side to enter the referee’s book. With The Spartans on the counter attack, Ryan Strachan stopped them in their tracks and was shown yellow; from the resulting free kick, an outstretched McKenzie did well to keep the scoreline level. With tensions soaring Rory McAllister received a caution for a foul on Sonkur. Still searching to go in front, Andy McCarthy and Conor O’Keefe were replaced by Danny Strachan and Robert Ward in Peterhead’s second double substitution. With ten minutes to play, Alfie Stewart looked to be through on goal however his deflected shot was well collected by Carswell. Late on, The Spartans made their first change as Dishington comes on for Craigen. As The Blue Toon pushed for a goal, McAllister’s flick was met by Ritchie who attempted to loft the ball over Carswell however couldn’t quite make the right trajectory. Into injury time, after a scramble in the Peterhead box The Spartans were awarded a penalty which was calmly converted by Blair Henderson. As Peterhead go all out to rescue a point, Rory McAllister had a blatant penalty appeal waved away as the referee drew the game to a close; followed by Danny Strachan being cautioned for his protests.

FT: The Spartans 2 – 1 Peterhead.

It ends in defeat at Ainslie Park with all to play for in the second leg on Saturday at Balmoor.