Defensive lapses prove costly as Blue Toon drop vital points

PETERHEAD'S  JAMIE STEVENSON AND DECLAN MCMANUS CLASH
PETERHEAD'S JAMIE STEVENSON AND DECLAN MCMANUS CLASH

Peterhead Manager Jim McInally was pleased with how his team played in their 1-3 defeat to Morton but was left to rue two defensive lapses that were to ultimately prove costly in an otherwise pleasing performance from the Blue Toon.

“We played well in the first half but just couldn’t take our chances. At half time we said lets kick on a little bit,” explained McInally.

WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE -  PETERHEAD'S DAVID COX AND MARK RUSSELL

WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE - PETERHEAD'S DAVID COX AND MARK RUSSELL

He continued: “They are favourites for the title but we were the better side and the second half panned out the same way.

“Two mistakes cost us and we knew that might be the case in a close game like this.

“Scott Ross had been magnificent until his error and Kevin Dzierzawski showed real character after his and he actually got better.

McInally added: “There were a lot of words said in the dressing room afterwards but there didn’t have to be because we played well and I am sure the fans appreciated that.

PETERHEAD'S GARY MCDONALD IS TACKLED BY THOMAS O'WARE

PETERHEAD'S GARY MCDONALD IS TACKLED BY THOMAS O'WARE

“We nearly scored towards the end then they hit us late on but I don’t think the fact they are a full time team showed.

“The play-offs are very much our target and there are lots of points to play for. Dunfermline lost and everyone will cut one another up.

“It’s a good league with little between most of the teams and we will just have to kick on.

“We have a busy March coming up and if we can keep playing like that we will win more games than we will lose “

Annoyingly for McInally, had his side taken some of the first half chances they had created in an impressively dominant display straight from the kick off, the match could have been over by the break.

A Jamie Redman header by the back post from a David Cox cross went horribly wide when he should have scored then Gary McDonald allowed Ton Keeper Derek Gaston to get a touch on a shot that should have hit the back of the net.

Andy Rodgers shot ten minutes before half time carried more menace and Gaston saved well then Nicky Riley saw a shot when one on one with the keeper blocked.

The well deserved breakthrough eventually came after 56 minutes when Rodgers was brought down by Sean Crighton centimetres inside the penalty area with Rodgers himself making an immaculate job from the spot.

It was Aberdeen loanee Declan McManus that was to prove the difference as he twice capitalised on defensive mistakes to first level just after the hour mark five minutes after the Blue Toon had taken the lead.

He then side footed home after another piece of slackness in the home rearguard three minutes from the end then turned provider deep into stoppage time to set up sub Ross Caldwell for a third.

Morton Manager Jim Duffy said: “We were up against it in the first half and at the start of the second half and it was only after Peterhead scored that we stepped up a level.

“It was a tough match in windy conditions and the equaliser was the turning point”

The Blue Toon head down to Ayrshire today (Tuesday) to re-play the match where a controversial win over Ayr United was wiped out after Reece Donaldson played when apparently suspended then on Saturday they travel to Stenhousemuir.

Peterhead: Smith, Kerr, Noble, Strachan, Ross, McDonald, Riley (Stevenson 73), Redman, Rodgers, Dzierzawski, Cox (Brown 81). Unused subs: Jarvie, Donaldson, Smith. McLaren

Referee: Barry Cook

Attendance: 659