Peterhead will need one of their best displays of the season if they are to gain promotion to League One.
The Blue Toon were beaten 2-0 by Stenhousemuir in the first leg of the play-off final at Ochilview.
It was a night when everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Buchan side with Jason Brown and Rory McAllister going off injured and the latter missing a penalty.
The first half was one of few chances with neither side wanting to make a mistake in the early stages.
Peterhead were given a let off midway through the half when Jamie Stevenson’s poor backpass was intercepted by Mark McGuigan, but the Stenny striker’s touch was too heavy as he tried to round goalie Greg Fleming.
The Blue Toon suffered a double blow just before half-time. Defender Jason Brown was in the wars in the first period and required treatment on three occasions.
Eventually he had to be taken off three minutes shy of the break, with Mason Robertson missing the game due to injury Jim McInally had to put striker Russell McLean back to the centre of defence and send on Karim Belmokhtar.
Then a minute later McAllister missed a penalty, the striker won the ball from Ruaridh Donaldson and cut the ball back to Allan Smith who was tripped by Mark Ferry.
But unfortunately McAllister shot wide of the left post from 12 yards, it was the first penalty he’s missed this season and couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Disaster struck for Peterhead just after the hour when Stenny took the lead.
Eddie Ferns’ corner from the left was headed home at the back post by Michael Dunlop from close range, it looked as if Fleming was fouled as he tried to come for the ball but referee Gavin Duncan gave the goal.
Things got worse for Peterhead with 19 minutes left when McAllister pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury with Chris Johnston coming on.
Five minutes later Stenny doubled their lead when Alan Cook’s free-kick from the left was knocked home by Dunlop again from close range.
It was cruel on Peterhead and it seemed like everything was conspiring against them.
Stenhousemuir: Chris Smith, Ross Meechan, Michael Dunlop, Ruaridh Donaldson, Mark Ferry, Mark McGuigan, Harry Paton, Alan Cook, Martin Scott (Andrew Dallas 71), Eddie Ferns (Innes Murray 75).
Subs not used: David Marsh, Innes Murray, Thomas Halleran, Jamie Longworth, Lewis McMinn.
Peterhead: Greg Fleming, Jamie Stevenson, Jason Brown (Karim Belmokhtar 42), David McCracken, Aidan McIlduff; Scott Brown, Willie Gibson, Jack Leitch; Allan Smith (Jordon Brown 81), Rory McAllister (Chris Johnston 71), Russell McLean.
Subs not used: Fraser Hobday, Simon Ferry, Aaron Norris, Scott Adams.