Loons too hot for the big spenders

FORFAR Athletic were far too hot for third division Peterhead on Saturday - sending the big-spenders from the north spinning out of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

The Loons dazzled in their new-look tangerine change strip, getting better and better as the match progressed and cruising to a comfortable two-nil victory.

The home side missed a string of early chances before Stevie Crawford opened his account for the Loons with a long-range effort just before half-time.

And Chris Templeman settled things when he got on the end of a defence-splitting move down the right to add a second goal just after the break.

Peterhead were no mean outfit though, and it took a couple of fine stops from new goalkeeper, Grant Adam - brother of Liverpool and Scotland star Charlie Adam - to keep out dangermen Rory McAllister and Martin Bavidge in the first half.

In what was a great advert for cup football, both sides went at it from the opening whistle.

With ex-Brechin City striker Rory McAllister leading the line well, the visitors were first to threaten, but an Aaron Conway first time shot was high and wide.

At the other end, a crisp move down the right set up a chance for the Loons, but three players got in each other’s way and, in the end, Kevin Byers’ mis-hit shot was deflected for a corner.

Forfar came desperately close to taking the lead in the ninth minute.

A superb ball from Byers sent Martyn Fotheringham on his way, the midfielder skipping past three challenges and lofting the ball over the on-rushing Raymond Jellema, only for it to rebound from the far post to safety.

Byers, who was in fine early form, then combined with Crawford in a break-away raid, but screwed his shot wide.

After that Forfar flurry, back came Peterhead, Rory McAllister beautifully controlling a long ball out of defence, only for keeper Grant Adam to smother his shot.

McAllister was posing the Forfar defence all sorts of problems, but, when he again got on the end of a long hopeful ball, he fired high over the target.

There was a blow for the Blue Toon in 25 minutes when Barry Sellars limped from the field to be replaced by Scott Ross.

Peterhead scorned a glorious chance to take the lead just on the half hour mark when McAllister created space for himself down the right and sent an inviting ball into the centre. But, just as Bavidge was about to pick his spot, his own pocket was picked courtesy of a last-gasp challenge, the ball going wide of target.

Two minutes later came the miss of the match. Again that man McAllister was involved, this time angling a great ball across a gaping Forfar goal only for Bryan Deasley, all on his own, to somehow mis-kick from two-yards, sending the ball back across the face of the goal to be cleared for a corner.

Peterhead were to rue that missed opportunity - because it was to be their last of the game!

Forfar roared back into the match as half-time loomed and, after a Crawford blockbuster was blocked and a Byers shot went just wide of target, up stepped Stevie Crawford to claim the opener.

Great credit must go to David Mowat for a ball-winning tackle in midfield which opened up the Peterhead rearguard.

The midfielder picked out Crawford in space on the right and the veteran striker fired in a 30-yard shot which took a slight deflection on its way past the keeper, the ball striking the base of the post and rolling tantalisingly across the line before spinning into the opposite corner of the net.

It was no more than the home side deserved and they went on to totally control the second period.

Greg Ross brought the best out of Raymond Jellema with a 35-yard pile-driver just after the break, as Forfar worked to put the game to bed.

Peterhead enjoyed a wee spell of pressure thereafter, but rarely got a glimpse of the Forfar goal.

Forfar, on the other hand, were more incisive and they fairly carved open the Peterhead defence for a killer second goal in 61 minutes.

Chris Hegarty provided the defence-splitting pass that sent Craig Wilson clear down the right and the cross was inch-perfect for Chris Templeman to bullet home a header from all of eight yards.

Paul Watson picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon when he went in late on Martyn Fotheringham, Forfar’s Craig Wilson also being booked soon after for a tug on the nippy Graeme Sharp, who had replaced Bryan Deasley.

In a last throw of the dice, Peterhead introduced Dennis Wyness for Aaron Conway, but it made little difference to the game.

The threat of McAllister and Martin Bavidge had long since gone, with the former allowing his temperament to get the better of him as frustration crept in, and lucky not to find himself in deep trouble with the officials on a couple of occasions.

In the latter stages of the game, the experience of Forfar shone through as they kept ball to snuff out any remaining threat from Peterhead - and go on to make progress in the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Forfar Athletic - Adam, Wilson, Ross, McCulloch, Tulloch, Hegarty (Motion), Fothringham (Gibson), Mowat, Crawford, Templeman (Ross Campbell) and Byres.

Peterhead - Jellema, Rattray, McBain, Sellars (Scott Ross), McDonald, Redman, Conway (Wyness), Watson, McAllister, Bavidge and Deasley (Sharp).

Referee - Des Roache; crowd - 452.