Dumbarton 1 Peterhead 1
Peterhead pulled themselves closer to Clyde in League 1 thanks to a 1-1 draw at Dumbarton that also keeps the second bottom Sons four points behind in the race to avoid the relegation play-offs.
Russell McLean’s headed equaliser after Josh Oyishan’s fine opener for the hosts, coupled with East Fife’s 1-0 defeat at Queen’s Park, means that the automatic relegation place will be filled by either the Fifers or Dumbarton, with the Blue Toon still needing two wins from their remaining three games to ensure they finish eighth or higher.
Jim McInally’s side went into the game on the back of wins over Falkirk and Clyde however two of the stars of the 3-0 success over the Bully Wee were not in his line-up with player/ coach Simon Ferry suffering from a calf problem and Hamish Ritchie out due to a recurrence of a heel complaint.
McLean and Ryan Duncan came in for starts with Gary Fraser returning to the substitutes’ bench in place of Alan Cook who picked up a knock earlier in the week.
The pitch at Dumbarton looked to have more grass on it than in recent weeks however it was ‘bobbly’ as Peterhead started the game in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Andrew McCarthy playing in front of the defence in Ferry’s absence.
Niah Payne dropped into midfield to replace Ritchie with Duncan also featuring there in order that McLean could lead the line.
The visitors were caught cold as Dumbarton, with the strong wind at their backs, took the lead after only five minutes when Rico Quitongo lost the ball to Oyishan 25 yards from goal and the big striker sent a shot fizzing past Brett Long.
Peterhead began to find their feet, and had a chance to draw level five minutes later, when they were awarded a free-kick 22 yards from the home goal however Duncan’s effort was easily collected by Kieran Wright.
Payne fired over a McLean knock-down before the play raced to the other end and Long was flattened as he bravely came out and collected a cross.
On 37 minutes Dumbarton’s Connor Duthie fired over the bar from the edge of the box and Long was made to work again two minutes later when he had to get down low to save Kalvin Orsi’s shot.
As the visitors looked to get level before half-time McLean got free on the right and his low driven cross was begging to be put in however Wright smothered the ball as it flashed across goal.
An equaliser did arrive on 43 minutes after Duncan’s trickery earned a corner on the right. The on-loan Aberdeen man whipped over the dead ball and McLean had cleverly slipped away from his marker and gave Wright no chance with his flashing header.
Dumbarton started the second period brightly and Orsi created danger with a run and a cross which fortunately for the visitors went unconverted.
In Peterhead’s first attack with the wind behind them Payne looked set to head home a McLean cross however Gregor Buchanan popped up to clear and in their second attack a curling Duncan effort was scooped up by Wright.
Quitongo more than made amends for his earlier error on 58 minutes when he produced a last gasp challenge on Duthie as he broke into the Blue Toon’s box.
Jack Brown, who impressed after coming on for Grant Savoury early in the second half, was in a perfect place to receive a cut-back from Duncan however he side-footed his shot wide.
Captain Scott Brown was next to threaten with a low shot however Wright was equal to it and Dumbarton’s skipper Stuart Carswell gave everyone a reminder of his side’s desire to win with a shot that just cleared the bar.
It looked like a second goal was arriving for Peterhead 10 minutes from time when Scott Brown carried the ball deep into the home side’s box. He was unable to get a shot away however it looked like he had slipped in Jordon Brown however the ball spun away from the substitute and the chance was gone.
Dumbarton thought they had scored a much-desired winner with five minutes left when Buchanan nodded a corner goalward however Long produced a fine save to push the ball away.
Peterhead – Long, Quitongo (Cairns 79), Want, Jason Brown, Duffy, McCarthy (Fraser 62), Duncan (Jordon Brown 79), Scott Brown, Savoury (Jack Brown 51), Payne, McLean
Unused substitutes – Cullen (G/k), Conroy, Strachan, Lyle