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MATCH REPORT: Broken hearts at Balmoor

PETERHEAD'S JAMIE STEVENSON  AND  CRAIG BARR
PETERHEAD'S JAMIE STEVENSON AND CRAIG BARR

Peterhead’s Scottish Cup run was brought to an end on home soil as Dumbarton emerged 3-2 winners in a pulsating fourth-round tie.

A brace from Callum Gallagher, either side of Jason Brown’s leveller, handed Dumbarton the advantage and David Wilson’s header put the visitors two clear.

Defender Mason Robertson pulled a goal back for Peterhead but they were unable to stage a memorable fightback, allowing Stevie Aitken’s side to progress and face Morton at Cappielow on February 10.

Jim McInally made one change from the side that beat Stirling 10 days ago, with Rory McAllister dropping to the bench and Russell McLean given a start.

Dumbarton were without Christian Nade and Liam Dick from their 2-0 defeat to St Mirren with Dougie Hill and Ian Russell replacing them.

A healthy home support lined the pitch at Balmoor hoping to see an upset and the hosts nearly gave them the perfect start, with Jamie Stevenson flashing a drive across the face of goal with six minutes gone.

But that promise was soon snuffed out and in a manner McInally will have been upset with. Hill floated a harmless-looking free kick towards the penalty area that Fleming came for and should have claimed, however he spilled it and Gallagher was first to react, lifting it over three retreating blue shirts to hand Dumbarton the advantage.

The last time Peterhead beat the Sons at Balmoor Martin Bavidge and Dennis Wyness were up front and it was another ex-Caley Thistle player in Brown that pulled them level on 32 minutes. Willie Gibson’s long free kick was flicked on by McLean, with Robertson diverting it into Brown’s path and he smashed past Gallacher at his near post.

Half time came at the wrong time for Peterhead, who were in the ascendancy at the break and through Scott Brown, with a long-range effort that fizzed over, fired a warning shot across the bows.

Gallacher had an eventful start to the second period, tested by McLean and Brown early then being fortunate to only see yellow for grappling Stevenson to the ground after the Blue Toon midfielder had nicked the ball away from the goalkeeper.

Their frustration was compounded on 53 minutes when Gallagher found the net again, meeting Russell’s cutback first time and rolling his strike inside the near post. The advantage was doubled straight after as Russell glanced Wilson’s corner across goal and in.

McInally roused McAllister from the bench and he nearly made a spectacular impact with his first touch as a left-footed shot whistled over the crossbar.

Needing two goals to force a replay, Peterhead turned the screw in the final 20 minutes. A Gibson free kick was touched round the post and McAlllister was denied. Robertson set up a grandstand finale on 83 minutes and, when David McCracken steamed on to Jordon Brown’s knockdown, a dramatic equaliser looked on the cards. However a superb finger-tip save from Gallacher ensured Dumbarton’s name would be in the hat for the fifth round.

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