Stenhousemuir 2-0 Peterhead

Mick Dunlop's double gave Stenny a huge advantage going into Saturday's second leg. Pic by Michael Gillen.
Mick Dunlop's double gave Stenny a huge advantage going into Saturday's second leg. Pic by Michael Gillen.

Some 22 points separated League Two runners up Peterhead from the fourth placed Warriors at the end of the regular season.

But it's Stenny who are now odds on to be promoted after racing into a play-off final 2-0 lead.

Of course, as each manager pointed out after the game, the tie is only at half time, and nothing is settled yet.

Peterhead are a side with goals in them, but the sight of talisman Rory McAllister limping off with a pulled hamstring a few minutes from time goes some way to denting hopes of a comeback with the striker unlikely to feature in the second leg.

But it all could have been so different.

Despite the league point difference, there was nothing between the sides in the opening half.

The first 45 was stumbling to its conclusion when out of the blue the visitors were awarded a penalty after Allan Smith was tripped by Mark Ferry.

If there's one man you'd want to have in your ranks at a time like that it's McAllister, but the normally lethal frontman screwed his effort wide of Chris Smith's post.

It was a massive let off for the hosts, and they took advantage of the reprieve with two second half goals within 15 minutes of each other.

Frustratingly for the visitors, Mick Dunlop's efforts were almost carbon copies of each other - headed efforts from set pieces.

To compound matters the Blue Toon faithful then saw striker McAllister hobble off late on.

The home fans, though, were in fine voice, and will aim to roar their side into League One at Balmoor on Saturday.

Stenny boss Brown Ferguson said: "We went over at the end to thank the fans for their support and the simple reason for that was to try and get as many up to Peterhead on Saturday because we'll need all the support we can get.

"It's half time and we now go up to their bit where it will be a tough ask but we're in good form and have a good advantage."

Blue Toon boss Jim McInally doesn't have his problems to seek, with injuries to crucial players hitting his side hard.

He said: "Everything that could have went wrong for us went wrong.

"I thought both teams were pretty poor and the quality of the game was poor.

"We've lost two goals from set pieces which was the defining part of the game because I think a draw would have been fair.

"We have a mountain to climb now and at the minute don't have a defender really, so will have to muster a team.

"Rory has pulled his hamstring so that will be him finished."