Stenhousemuir 2 Peterhead 2: Warriors battle back

Stenhousemuir earned a valuable draw on Saturday. Pic by Alan Murray
Stenhousemuir earned a valuable draw on Saturday. Pic by Alan Murray
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Having shipped 14 goals in their five previous league matches few would have given the Warriors any chance when they trooped off Ochilview at half time 0 – 2 down to Peterhead on Saturday.

Indeed, Brown Ferguson’s men were fortunate to have escaped so lightly in a first period totally dominated by the visitors.

The transformation after the break, however, was remarkable and it was they who finished the game feeling aggrieved that a point was all they had to show for a terrific second half performance.

Because of ‘Muir’s well documented financial troubles Ferguson has been working with extremely limited resources and silk purses from sows ears are only achievable in Disneyland.

After suffering some severe hammerings this term this squad could have been expected to throw in the towel after the restart, but not for the first time “Bomber’s” half time team talk rejuvenated the team and they were completely transformed in the second period.

The manager deserves great credit for this skill and it is something the Stenhousemuir Board have recognised by handing the manager a new three years contract on Thursday night.

“It says a lot for the Board after the results so far this season,” Ferguson said, “We have to plan for the long term and it’s a work in progress, but many Boards would perhaps not see it that way and I’m absolutely delighted to have been given their confidence to complete the job.”

The Blue Toon dominated this match from the start and the only surprise was that it took 17 minutes before their control delivered tangible reward. Rory McAllister found Nicky Riley in the inside right channel at the edge of the box and the midfielder was given time and space to fire low across the face of goal into the far corner.

Four minutes later the visitors doubled their advantage when Kevin Dzierzawski’s run to the near post was not matched and he powered a close range header off Steven Noble’s cross into the back of the net.

There were few signs that the home team were capable of reversing the deficit and the visitors continued to dominate the ball.

If there was a chink of light it was the performance of new signing Willis Alves Furtado. The Frenchman from US IVERY in Paris displayed good control and didn’t look shy of having a crack. The winger only turned 19 two days previously and he forced Fraser Hobday into a decent save with a 28 yard drive in the 26th minute.

A similar effort whizzed inches wide just before the break and seven minutes following the restart the youngster sent in a wonderful cross to the back post. Hibs loanee Oliver Shaw did everything right but his point blank header was amazingly blocked round the post by Hobday.

Colin McMenamin’s introduction in 54 minutes gave the Warriors new momentum and the veteran was desperately unlucky to see Hobday instinctively claw away his backward header from Stephen Stirling’s free-kick.

The tide had turned though and when Jamie McCormack headed down and in another Stirling free-kick in the 68th minute it was no less than deserved.

Ten minute later it was Fraser Kerr’s turn to head home off an Alan Cook corner thus time and the home team went for the winner.

Sadly though, it was not to be and although another Furtado screamer just failed to hit the target and a Cook shot on the turn almost did the trick, ‘Muir’s darker side reappeared when deep into injury time visiting sub Leighton McIntosh was allowed to get a toe to the ball six yards out.

The home contingent breathed a sigh of relief which was aped by the boss, “We could have lost it there,” Ferguson said, “We have a lot of youthfulness about the team and that is great when things are going well, but the other side of the coin is apparent at times as well.

“It’s the sort of things we are working on though, and they will work to get more consistency to their game. We looked soft in the first half and they got their goal easily. But look, I’ve always said we have good players in there and I am just pleased we illustrated that with our second half performance.