Peterhead emerge as the strongest challengers to Dunfermline

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At the start of December Peterhead were 80/1 chances to claiming the Ladbrokes League 1 title after winning just four of their first 15 matches of the season, but things have changed dramatically since then.

With eight victories and two draws in their last 10 games, the Blue Toon have moved up to second place in the table and are emerging as the biggest dangers to runaway leaders Dunfermline.

Victory over Ayr United on Saturday was the latest in a long line of excellent performances for Jim McInally’s side, a run that has seen Ladbrokes slash the price on them dethroning the Pars in top-spot to 16/1.

Speaking after the victory at Somerset Park McInally declared his delight:

“It was a right good game. I actually felt we should have buried Ayr in the first half and we were also denied a stonewall penalty,” he told the official Peterhead website.

“To go second is remarkable considering where we were a few months ago.”

The 2-1 victors on Saturday remain third-favourites in the betting with Ayr available at 11/1, and while usurping Dunfermline will be a big ask, they have shown that they are capable of beating anyone, should the play-offs be the route they take.

There is still a chance though, with the leaders’ victory over Stenhousemuir on Saturday coming after a poor run of form that had seen them lose two and draw two in their four previous goals in all competitions.

Another regression in form could see the resurgent Peterhead take advantage.

Much will depend on the form of the men leading the line at Balmoor, Rory McAllister and Shane Sutherland.

The latter’s sumptuous 20-yard free-kick at the weekend was his seventh goal in his last seven appearances, to move on to nine for the season, and was a constant threat to The Honest Men’s defence.

He still has 10 to make up on strike-partner McAllister though, as the 28-year-old continues to pull clear in the race to land the division’s Golden Boot award.

The former Brechin City forward is now four strikes clear of his nearest rival after bagging his side’s second of the game last time out and was cut to a 4/9 chance to top the scoring charts at the end of the season.

Keeping those two firing will be key to maintaining their promotion push, and with the sides around them having games in hand on them they will need plenty of luck, but the form that the Blue Toon are in suggests that the Ladbrokes Championship beckons.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.