A good first-half display by Edinburgh City in Peterhead ultimately counted for nothing after an early second-half red card for Chris McKee and a Rory McAllister penalty sent the hosts on their way to a 3-0 win.
McAllister’s second, and substitute Jordon Brown’s third, ensured a miserable end to a game that City coach James McDonaugh felt his side began positively. “It was probably a decent game from our point of view up until then,” he said. “We played quite well in the first half and, as I said that to them at half-time, we’re probably the best first-half team in Scotland, having not lost one since I’ve been here.
“In saying that, we’re probably the worst second-half team in Scotland. It was slack football from us and a decision that Chris makes where he maybe doesn’t have to pull him back. He might miss it, but if he’s one v one and he scores, we’ve got 42 minutes to claw it back. We were doing alright at that stage so who’s to say we couldn’t have?”
A dearth of fit defenders meant McDonaugh loaded up at the top end of the pitch, starting with three strikers. “It’s easy to make excuses and you’ll know I’m not one for doing that, but we had seven defenders out so it was pretty much makeshift,” he explained.
“I thought it’s easy to pull people back down the pitch to accommodate what you’re missing so I went the other way and went three up. I thought it worked to an extent for 46 minutes. We played some good stuff. Even when we conceded, I kept three up and wanted to have a go.”
City created the first chance of the game within ten minutes when Lewis Allan surged down the right and pulled it back for Farid El Alagui at the back post, who slid it past Greg Fleming only for Jason Brown to block on the cover.
The hosts responded immediately with McAllister peeling off his man to get a shot away, but Calum Antell stood up well.
Peterhead should have opened the scoring when McAllister sprung the offside trap and rounded Antell, but Marc Laird had read the danger well and mopped up before the striker could knock into the empty net.
The turning point came immediately after the break. McAllister spun in behind and was pushed over by McKee, who was duly shown a straight red by referee Steven Reid. The Peterhead No.9 picked himself up and coolly slotted past Antell.
McAllister should have had his and Peterhead’s second when he latched on to a short passback from Beattie, but his attempted chip was straight into Antell’s hands.
At the other end, Walker picked out Al Alagui in the area, but his volley was far too tame to properly trouble Fleming.
Two goals in quick succession completely ended the game as a contest. Firstly, McAllister claimed a brace when he stabbed past Antell after turning his man before Brown was able to pick his spot from close range following a cutback.
City were playing for pride after that and El Alagui did force Fleming to save with his legs as they sought a consolation.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally praised City for their attacking approach. “I’m happy with the win and thought we deserved it, but the scoreline was a wee bit flattering,” he admitted. “It was an open game and I want to give credit to them – they came up with three strikers which was really refreshing. It was a good end-to-end game and they made it that way because of how they played.”
Peterhead: Fleming, Jason Brown, Robertson, McIlduff, McCracken, Ferry (Jordon Brown 71), Stevenson (Cairney 71), Leitch, McAllister (Smith 79), McLean, Gibson.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Caddow, McKee, Walker, Laird, Thomson, Beattie, Henderson, El Alagui, Shepherd (Grimes 75), Allan (Malin 75).