Peterhead’s Premier Sports Cup campaign ended in a 3-1 defeat from Stirling Albion at Forthbank in a game that the Blue Toons looked fragile at defending set-pieces.
Lenny Wilson returned to action between the sticks with Danny Strachan, Derryn Kesson and Jordon Brown also involved form the start with goalkeeper Brett Long, Lyall Cameron and Simon Ferry moving to the bench and Russell McLean dropping out due to a ban.
The game started in quick fashion with the hosts’ Dale Carrick having a header saved by Wilson in the first minute and Peterhead replying with a Jordon Brown header that crept over the bar from a free kick after Niah Payne had been fouled.
The pace remained fast and there two goals scored in a minute with Stirling taken the lead on six minutes and the visitors replying a minute later.
Albion opened the scoring with a close range header from Jordan McGregor following a Jack Leitch cross from a corner however Peterhead were not behind for long.
Hamish Ritchie darted into the home box where he was fouled by Adam Cummins and Scott Brown did an immaculate job from the spot.
Parity was not held for long as Stirling grabbed a second goal on 12 minutes and again it came from a corner. Nathan Flanagan provided the cross this time with Martin McNiff providing the finish from six yards out.
Flanagan had a shot blocked before Peterhead threatened a second equaliser on 25 minutes when Scott Brown let fly from a free-kick however his effort was just off target.
Jordon Brown was next to have a go when he fired a shot goalward from the edge of the Stirling box on 32 minutes however his effort also failed to trouble Blair Currie.
The pace finally began to slow down with just one further opening created before the half-time whistle with Cummins going close for the hosts with a right foot drive however Wilson was able to watch it clear his goal.
When the teams re-emerged for the second half it was felt that the next goal was going to be crucial and disappointingly for Peterhead when it came within two minutes of the restart it made the score-line 3-1.
To rub salt into the Blue Toon wounds it was a former player who grabbed it with Jack Leitch drilling in from the edge of the box.
Peterhead tried to hit back quickly and Jordon Brown had a header saved before sending a shot over Currie’s goal.
Stirling weathered that flurry and Currie stood firm to hold a drive from Ryan Conroy with 12 minutes left before Flanagan threatened again at the other end with Wilson forced into a smart stop.
Substitute Derek Lyle had a late chance to set up a grandstand finish however he fired wide of the Stirling goal.
When the final whistle sounded Stirling had secured second place in the group however their 8 point total was not enough for them to progress with Peterhead finishing on the same three point mark as Cove Rangers.
Peterhead – Wilson, Mulligan, Conroy, McDonald, Jason Brown (Mushanhu 77), Kesson (Lyle 59), Ritchie, S Brown, Payne, Strachan, Jordon Brown (Cameron 60)
Peterhead complete their Group A games in the Premier Sports Cup with a trip to Stirling Albion on Saturday and no quarter will be given by either side according to manager Jim McInally.
The four spaces behind Group winners Hearts have still to be determined and Jim is delighted to be facing a host team who will be looking to get to eight points and potentially qualify for the knockout stage.
Jim said: “We could end up second in the group or we could up end fifth and I know which position I would rather be in. If we get to six points we are unlikely to qualify however we want to finish on a high and be in the right frame of mind for the league starting against Alloa the following weekend.”
“Stirling will be coming out fired up as they will see getting a win as a chance to progress. I am pleased about that as it will be a really competitive affair and just what we need to be ready for the league.”
Peterhead FC ran their first coaching camp since October 2019 and it proved to be extremely successful. A total of 107 children aged between 5 and 12 years old attended the 3 day Camp which was headed up by first team manager and 10 time Scotland international Jim McInally. Jim who also played in `The Euros` in Sweden in 1992 was joined by star striker Niah Payne, ex players Nat Porter and Charlie Duncan together with 14 local coaches to provide the kids with 3 days consisting of ball mastery, shooting, dribbling and small sided games. Nat said ` the feedback from the parents and the kids has been very positive and the most important thing is that everyone ( including the coaches! ) had great fun. Indoor space and toilet facilities were restricted due to Covid and the coaches had to take lateral flow tests before every one of the 3 days but all agreed that it was great to be back. We worked in partnership with Active Schools who helped to support the Camp and provided 2 young local coaches`
The initiative was also supported by Aberdeenshire Clubsport and Live Life Aberdeenshire with Treasurer of Aberdeenshire Clubsport, Jim Conn attending one of the days and commenting ` I`m delighted that in close partnership with Aberdeenshire Council we are able to help fund this summer programme being run very professionally by Peterhead FC. Especially with the large number of children from less advantaged backgrounds who are enjoying the sport and the fun this activity provides`
On a final note it was the 27th consecutive coaching programme attended by Jim McInally. Brilliant support from the first team manager who added ` I really enjoy coming up to the coaching camps and seeing the local youngsters hone their skills and enjoy themselves. I must know more than 50% of the kids now. The pandemic has of course severely restricted those who can come and watch Peterhead FC but hopefully it will open up soon and we will see everyone back at Balmoor in the near future`
Peterhead boss Jim McInally and coach Simon Ferry are selling their jerseys, and their Balmoor players are climbing a mountain, in a bid to get Gary Fraser back playing soon and to raise funds for mental health charity Back Onside.
They have set an ambitious target to help these two causes and would welcome any support from across Scottish football and beyond.
Gary suffered a knee injury in Peterhead’s 1-1 draw with Montrose just three days before Christmas 2012, with tests revealing he requires surgery following a recent recurrence.
The former Hamilton Accies, Bolton Wanderers, Partick Thistle, Forfar and Cowdenbeath man has been provided with a new contract from the north-east club for next season, however no date has been set for the operation due to COVID related delays.
With no crowds in Balmoor for the last 15 months and the club’s hospitality revenue adversely impacted Jim felt unable to ask the club to pay for an operation to be carried out privately.
A private operation would allow Gary to be back over the next few months and contribute on the pitch for the majority of the new season.
Jim, his management colleagues and Fraser’s team- mates have therefore decided to step in to help Gary as well as opting to back Mental Health Charity Back Onside, who have former Peterhead player David Cox as a Patron.
Fraser’s operation and rehabilitation costs, are expected to be between £5,000 to £7500 and any funds (regardless of the amount) that are raised above the final figure will be donated to Back Onside.
To kick the fundraising off the Balmoor players are looking for sponsorship to climb the 3,196 ft of Ben Lomond this Saturday, June 5 and then hold a ‘physically distanced’ raffle night at striker Derek Lyle’s pub in Bishopbriggs.
The second arm of fundraising will see the Blue Toon gaffer put his number four shirt from the second leg of Dundee United’s 1987 UEFA Cup Final against IFK Gothenburg up for auction, with Simon doing likewise with his English League Two winning top (number 8) with Swindon from 2012.
On-line bidding for McInally’s and Ferry’s jerseys will run until 8.00pm on June 18 (kick-off time in the England and Scotland Euro 2020 tie).
Back Onside have generously donated a four ball at their Golf Day in St Andrews next May to be auctioned off as well.
Jim said: “Gary is a big figure in our squad and it will be great to have him back sooner rather than later. We do not know when he will play again but the club were good enough to give him a contract, however they are not in a position to pay for a private operation.”
“The players wanted to help that happen and climbing Ben Lomond is a great start to their pre-season programme. Simon and I are happy to do our bit as well with our jerseys.”
“There has been some interest in them on-line already and hopefully they will help to raise enough money to fund Gary’s operation and also make a donation to Back Onside.”
“They have been a terrific support to David – who is well thought of up here for all his efforts during his time with the club.”
Founder and CEO of Back Onside Libby Emerson said: “It is really nice for Peterhead to think about us and I am delighted to be working with them on this.”
What do a Dundee United 1987 UEFA Cup Final top, a Simon Ferry Swindon Town jersey, Scottish mountain Ben Lomond, a Blue Toon midfielder, former Blue Toon striker David Cox and Mental Health Charity Back Onside have in common? – Find out tomorrow!
“As the season draws to a close I thought I would take the time to reflect on what has been undoubtedly the most challenging year in my 17 year tenure as PFC Chairman.
At the start of the 20/21 campaign the aim was survival – both on and off the pitch. With spectators not permitted into games and our corporate hospitality curtailed, we really did face a very bleak year with little income and large expenses to meet. It is then great credit to our manager Jim Mcinally and his backroom staff that with a reduced budget, they managed to field a youthful but spirited group of players that have been a match to any team in this league and who have beaten all of the full-time teams in our division. They may have been young in years but the team have produced some strong performances and deserve praise for meeting the challenge of securing our League One status for next season.
There is so much more to a football club than what a spectator sees on the park and therefore I would like to thank the people I have around me at Peterhead FC for keeping this show on the road and running a tight-knit but successful operation behind the scenes. Our General Manager Martin Johnston has had much to deal with over the past 12 months but has risen to the challenge of following all SPFL covid protocols and putting into place a testing regime to ensure that we could keep playing without interruption. Ably abetted by his assistant Sharon, the administration of PFC affairs have been well run and they can be credited with new initiatives to increase revenue in the virtual world that we have had to get accustomed to. Martin and his Blue Toon Talk co-editor Ken Morton have also produced on-line editions of the popular match-day programme that have been praised by fans of opposing clubs for the informative content that covers so much more than just PFC and is a great read for historical football articles and statistics.
Our accounts department also deserve gratitude for keeping abreast of an ever-changing economic landscape to ensure that PFC still managed to “balance the books” with a vastly reduced income. Praise also to Youth and Community Coach Nat Porter for working with the SPFL Trust to bring grant income into the club in order that we were able to continue our good work in the community with initiatives such as Festive Friends and the Reading Challenge.
Our new coffee shop has had somewhat of a stop/start initial year of business due to the Pandemic but Mary and her staff have rolled up their sleeves and adapted to the ever-changing restrictions to provide a warm and welcoming casual dining experience that is going from strength to strength.
I would also like to this opportunity to thank all of our many volunteers who have given up their time on match days to help with covid protocols and to ensure fans could still have somewhat of a “match day experience” from home via streaming and social media channels. Our automated live-streaming hasn’t always been perfect but I think we can agree that our match commentators from the Blue Toon Podcast have stepped in admirably to produce unbiased and informative content during the game, also praised by away fans. There are many, many people behind the scenes who do what they do for the love of the club and I am under no illusion that we wouldn’t be the well-run club that we are without them so thank you one and all.
A word also to our corporate sponsors who have renewed advertising boards and match day programmes in what was a reduced season as they knew that we were hit hard and wanted to help in any way they could. Also a special mention to our invaluable club patrons and our Home and Away shirt sponsors Score Group Ltd and A. M. Smith who stepped in to help when most needed – you are all essential to the endurance of this club and we are sincerely grateful.
Lastly, the fans. You have stood by us when we needed you – purchasing virtual lottery tickets, season tickets and streaming passes to help us meet our running costs and ensure our very survival. We hope that one day soon you will be able to join us again on a Saturday for a blether, a pie and a good game of football – we want you to know that next season we will once again do our very best to put a team on the park that you can be proud of”
Our Sincerest gratitude for your continued support,
Rodger Morrison and the PFC Board of Directors – Vice Chairman Les Hill, Charles Watt and Michael Duncan.