Peterhead 5 Dumbarton 0
Peterhead recorded their best win of the season as they saw off high flying Dumbarton 5-0 at windy Balmoor with Ryan Conroy scoring in the first half and Hamish Ritchie, Jason Brown, Josh Mulligan and captain Scott Brown all finding the net in the closing 45 minutes.
Manager Jim McInally moved to stiffen up his side from kick-off with recent defensive recruit David Wilson starting in place of Russell McLean who did not even make the bench due to a knee injury.
Loan signing from Aberdeen, Ryan Duncan, also failed to make the match day squad with the north-east youngster suffering from a groin strain leaving only Andy McDonald, Lyall Cameron, Danny Strachan and Derek Lyle on the bench alongside goalkeeper Lenny Wilson.
Skipper Brown who was playing his 200th game in blue and white led the team out with Mulligan starting in the right back role he impressed in last weekend and Flynn Duffy was moved to left back. These moves allowed Andrew McCarthy and Ryan Conroy to fill two of the five midfield roles with Niah Payne the lone striker.
Dumbarton had the strong wind at their backs however it was Peterhead who took the lead after less then 4 minutes when Niah Payne made a strong run down the right before picking out Hamish Ritchie with a pass. Ritchie steadied himself before having a crack at goal which appeared to be drifting wide however Conroy was on hand to deflect the ball home from eight yards out.
Two minutes later McCarthy slipped Payne clear on the right however his low drive was saved by Sam Ramsbottom.
Midway through the opening half Dumbarton carved out a fine opening when Kalvin Orsi charged forward before sending a pass out to Carlo Pignatiello and his chipped effort was set to find the net until Brett Long leapt to his left to save.
As the first half entered injury time Ritchie popped up on the right wing and slipped the ball inside to Scott Brown and he looked set to mark his landmark game with a goal as he whipped in a 20 yard shot however Ramsbottom stretched high to turn the ball over.
Peterhead came out for the second half with a different formation as manager McInally looked for his side to increase their lead by switching to a 4-3-3 formation with Conroy moved to an advanced role on the right and Richie switched and pushed further up the left.
The changes were to pay great dividends as with just over 47 minutes played McCarthy swung over a cross from the right which was perfect for Ritchie to sneak in at the back post and double the hosts’ lead.
Six minutes later it got even better for the Blue Toon as defender Jason Brown added a third goal. Conroy lofted a free-kick high into the Dumbarton box which one-time Peterhead player Ryan McGeever struggled to clear and Brown took full advantage by slamming the loose ball home.
Scott Brown came close to bagging the goal he so wanted with a volley just after the hour mark however his effort fizzed wide with Josh Mulligan going close shortly afterwards.
On-loan Dundee youngster Mulligan did grab the goal his overall play deserved with 11 minutes to go as he marauded down the right and played a one-two before high into the far corner for his first ever senior strike.
Two minutes later the good feeling around Balmoor got even better as Mulligan charged forward again only to be sent crashing to the ground by visiting captain Stuart Carswell. After some discussions with Derek Lyle skipper Brown placed the ball on the spot and ensured that his double century of appearances was marked with a goal.
Lyle had a late shot saved by Ramsbottom as Peterhead looked to make the final score-line ever more impressive.
Peterhead – Long, Mulligan, Conroy, Jason Brown, Wilson, Ferry (McDonald 76), Ritchie, Scott Brown, Duffy, McCarthy (Cameron 60), Payne (Lyle 74)
Unused substitutes – Wilson (G/k), Strachan