Falkirk 3 Peterhead 1
Falkirk 1 Peterhead 1 – First ever point at Falkirk but so close to claiming first ever win
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Peterhead picked up a point at promotion chasing Falkirk in 1-1 draw with only the width of a post denying the red-shirted Blue Toon what would have been their first ever league victory at The Falkirk Stadium.
Ryan Duncan blasted Jim McInally’s side ahead in the first ten minutes however a header from Anton Dowds levelled the score before the break. In the second 45 minutes Brett Long made a fine stop from a Leigh Griffiths free-kick with Hamish Ritchie thumping an injury time chance for the visitors against the woodwork.
With Jason Brown out injured and a potential loan move for a defender not yet completed manager McInally switched skipper Scott Brown from midfield into a centre back position with recent signing Jack Brown starting in the middle of the pitch.
Within a minute of the game starting Andy McCarthy showed the desire of the Peterhead players to get a result with a solid tackle to gain possession however no danger threatened as the visitors looked to move forward.
Peterhead had an early scare when Jaze Kabia showed a fine turn of speed as he collected an Anton Dowds pass and ran clear however the striker chipped the ball over the advancing Brett Long and the bar.
A goal did arrive on nine minutes but it came at the over end with on-loan Aberdeen youngster Duncan scoring his second goal for the club. Niah Payne won possession on the half-way line and fed the ball to Hamish Ritchie who released the galloping Rico Quitongo on the left.
The full-back’s cross was prodded goalward by Jack Brown with Grant Savoury helping it further on its way before Robbie Mutch saved with his legs however Duncan thumped the rebound home from six yards.
Charlie Telfer slipped a shot wide of Long’s goal before Savoury was unlucky not to grab a second goal for Peterhead on 18 minutes with a low 20-yard drive that Mutch needed two attempts to save.
On 24 minutes Brett Long did well to push away a fierce Dowds effort however it was not one way traffic and with 30 minutes gone Duncan had a net-bound volley blocked with referee Peter Stuart deciding that Savoury was not fouled as he looked to get onto the rebound.
Visiting hopes of going in at the interval leading were dashed on 41 minutes when Telfer swung over a corner from left and Dowds got away from his marker to flick in a header from 6 yards out.
Payne, who impressed all night with his work-rate, showed that Peterhead were not going to sit in and look for a point early in the second half when he created space for himself at the edge of the box and fired for goal however Mutch got down to save.
Kabia picked up an injury on 54 minutes and he was replaced by Leigh Griffiths and the former Scotland striker showed that he can still crack in a fine dead ball when he tried his luck with a powerful 23 yard free-kick on 61 minutes however Long dived to his left to pull off a top stop.
Griffiths sent a shot wide on 66 minutes before the Blue Toon raced to the other end and Ritchie cut in from the left and curled a shot wide following a cute back heel from substitute Russell McLean.
On 74 minutes another piece of deft play from McLean sent Savoury through one on one with Mutch with the goalkeeper coming out on top as he stuck out a hand to push the midfielder’s shot past.
Gary Miller headed a Falkirk corner about a foot wide on 82 minutes and in the following minute the Bairns drew a sigh of relief as Mutch sliced a clearance towards his own goal with the ball flashing just past the post for a corner.
The fitness of the Peterhead players shone in injury time as a move started by Flynn Duffy in their own half was built on by Savoury who released Duncan on the right. The winger cut in and fired for goal and when his effort was blocked it ran invitingly across the 18-yard line to Ritchie who had charged up the pitch.
Ritchie did everything right in terms of slamming a first-time shot past Mutch however he could only watch on in despair as the ball rattled off a post and bounced to safety.
The final whistle sounded shortly afterwards with Peterhead having to be content with their first ever league point at the Falkirk Stadium.
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Peterhead manager Jim McInally had no qualms about the final result as his side went down 2-1 at Falkirk however he remains disappointed that his side were not allowed to put pressure on the home side after two strong penalty claims were ignored.
The Bairns, who benefitted early when a Leon McCann challenge went unpunished, led at the break through Craig McGuffie’s goal and when that was added to early in the second half by Paul Dixon a long afternoon could have been in store.
Despite this the Blue Toon rallied and after a handball in the home box went unpunished Jordon Brown pulled a goal back deep into injury time however it was too little and too late.
The Balmoor outfit continued with Brett Long in goal and Andrew McCarthy at right back with Jason Brown returning at centre back and Josh Mulligan moving into midfield to replace Lyall Cameron who dropped to the bench.
It looked like McInally’s side would get an early chance to take the lead when Mulligan arrived unannounced in the home box and was felled by Callumn Morrison however referee Matthew MacDermid delighted the noisy home support behind the goal when he waved on.
The Peterhead players were incensed by the decision however their mood lifted when Long produced a fine save from Morrison with Aidan Keena not able to get onto the loose ball.
Paul Sheerin’s side opened the scoring on 14 minutes when Morrison crossed and McGuffie rose to head home. Falkirk looked to quickly add to their lead with Morrison again forcing Long into a fine stop and Keena sending a good chance wide.
Former Hearts striker Keena sent another chance wide before the break however nine minutes into the second half it was all smiles for Falkirk as Paul Dixon netted via the crossbar after Aidan Nesbitt’s shot had been deflected.
It looked like Falkirk would now cruise to victory however the visitors started to believe they could get something and Russell McLean looked set to net as he bore down on goal however Ben Hall popped up to end the danger with a timely tackle.
Long denied Falkirk’s new recruit Samuel Ompreon a debut goal before referee MacDermid surprised everyone again by missing a handball in the home box however Jason Brown ensured that the Blue Toon got some consolation when he took advantage of slackness in the home defence to pull a goal back in injury time.
Jim said: “If you look at the 90 minutes you would have to say that Falkirk deserved to win. However we should have, in my opinion, had a penalty in the first couple of minutes. That would have allowed us to have Falkirk worried and have their fans getting on their backs so it was disappointing not to get that chance.”
“It was the same with 15 minutes left. Our goal was too late but if we got the penalty on 75 minutes we would have created a nervous atmosphere. The players deserve credit for sticking at things however I am irked by a couple of things.”
Peterhead – Long, McCarthy, Jordon Brown, McDonald, Conroy, Mulligan (Strachan 66), Ferry (Cameron 52), Scott Brown, Payne (Jordon Brown 85), McLean, Ritchie
Unused substitutes – Kesson, Lyle, Wilson (G/k)