Stirling’s first goalless draw since a blank against Ross County almost exactly two years ago brought them a welcome and well-merited point in the North East on Saturday.
Greig McDonald’s men played the last eight minutes with 10 men after defender Brian Allison was harshly sent off for a tackle on Jamie Redman but, even then, they never looked like losing.
Stirling have suffered on the road this season, and remain without an away league victory since beating Albion Rovers last May, but this was an organised and disciplined display against a Peterhead team who remain in the play-off places despite some indifferent recent home results.
Jim McInally’s side netted four times at East Stirling last week but surprisingly are the league’s lowest scorers and they struggled to create much against an Albion rearguard superbly marshalled by former Forfar stopper Jamie Bishop.
The draw means Albion went into last night’s home game against Annan unbeaten in three matches since returning from a weather-enforced month-long lay-off. Ironically, they slipped further adrift at the foot of the table as a result of East Stirlingshire’s win at Annan but McDonald’s men look much harder to beat now and this was a first away league shut-out for 13 months.
They have played Peterhead three times this season, drawing twice at Balmoor and winning 1-0 at Forthbank, and have more than matched their loftier opponents on each occasion.
It was 2-2 at Balmoor in October but this was a tamer encounter on a benign winter’s afternoon 30 miles north of Aberdeen.
The cynics might say it was a long way for a 0-0 draw but Albion have too often given away cheap goals in 2012/13 and there was satisfaction in a solid display.
McDonald made one change to the team that drew 1-1 with East Stirling in midweek. On-loan Dumbarton full-back Ross Forsyth was drafted in and Scott Davidson dropped to the bench in a 4-5-1 formation that saw Kieran McAnespie moved into the centre of midfield and Jordan White as the lone striker.
Stirling started brightly and White had the ball in the net after six minutes but the offside flag had already gone up against McAnespie earlier in the move. Blue Toon defender Scott Ross then had keeper Graeme Smith to thank for preventing an own goal, but in general chances were few.
Peterhead have lost just twice at home this season but Montrose won here recently and they were held by Berwick prior to Albion’s visit. They looked out of sorts again and much-vaunted striker Rory McAllister had a frustrating 90 minutes but did test David Crawford with one decent free-kick.
The closest thing to a goal came in 57 minutes when Redman headed a David Cox corner against the post while David McClune curled a 20-yarder just too high in a rare second-half Albion attack.
It was never a classic but a draw was the right result and this is just the sort of dogged performance that Stirling have so often struggled to produce this season.
Peterhead: G Smith, McCann, McGlinchey, Ross (Gilfillan 64), R Smith, Cowie, Cox (Strachan 76), Redman, McAllister, Rodgers (Bavidge 63), McLaughlin. Subs not used:Sharp, Jarvie (GK).