Late winner snatches point from Peterhead’s grasp

Andy Rodgers looks for a way through the Morton defence.
Andy Rodgers looks for a way through the Morton defence.

league one

A goal in the dying embers of the match against Greenock Morton snatched the point Peterhead looked set to take, from their grasp, rounding off a controversial last few minutes at Balmoor on Saturday.

With the points looking set to be shared, the dismissal of talisman Rory McAllister and a lapse in concentration at the back saw the visitors make the long journey south with a victory.

The Blue Toon were without the injured Mark Millar and Ryan McCann after the Challenge Cup win at Brechin in midweek.

An end to end first half saw plenty of effort but little in the way of clear cut chances.

For the home side McAllister, who was involved in just about everything, could have given his side an early lead cashing in on some uncertainty in the Morton rearguard and it took a header off the line to prevent a second minute lead.

The Greenock side are a full-time outfit and that might have something to do with their late surge but in the first half they also had a few efforts.

The front pairing of Thomas Oware and on loan Aberdeen striker Declan McManus were a constant threat.

An Oware shot bobbled past the post in the fifth minute then McManus played a one-two with Connor Pepper before seeing his shot easily gather by Graeme Smith.

After 19 minutes Pepper threaded the ball forward to dangerman McManus and Smith bravely blocked his first effort then smothered the loose ball at the feet of the striker.

As the half time whistle approached Joe Mckee sent a free kick dipping narrowly over from 20 yards.

Peterhead were rarely seen as an attacking force and a Steven Noble ball forward touched on by Andy Rodgers to McAllister who then sent a low drive wide was a rare moment of danger for
The Ton.

The second period was barely two minutes old when Morton took the lead with a frustratingly simple goal.

A McKee corner from the right was allowed to go into the heart of the Peterhead defence unchallenged and Stefan Milojevic fired a half-volley into the roof of the net from six yards.

Soon after McManus was denied by Smith whilst at the other end fine work by substitute David Cox on the left resulted in a cross which McAllister laid into the path of Rodgers and it took a fine save by Derek Gaston to prevent the leveler.

The equaliser arrived after 65 minutes with McAllister involved again.

He collected a long ball forward and set Rodgers racing towards the Morton penalty box where his progress was halted by a trip in the left corner by Milojevic.

McAllister scored from the spot with a cheeky effort that trundled into the bottom left corner with the keeper heading in the opposite direction.

The closing minutes were a disaster for the Blue Toon.

First McAllister, who had been foolishly booked for dissent minutes earlier, made a rash challenge on Gaston after the Keeper had gathered the ball.

Some saw the act as innocuous but the referee’s view was that it was reckless and a second yellow card was produced and McAllister trudged off with his teammates left to see out the game and make the point safe.

To their credit, Morton had other ideas and went for the win and they did just that withanother goal that could have been defended better.

A throw-in on the far side found its way to Pepper, his ferocious shot cannoned off the body of Ross Smith into the path of Oware and he lashed the loose ball into the net snatching full points and no doubt giving a harsh lesson to the home side and one that they are going to have to learn from fast to keep their decent start to the season going.

On Saturday Jim McInally’s troops repeat their journey down the road to Angus to face Brechin City again, this time on league business.

PETERHEAD: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Smith, Ross, Donaldson (Cox 21), Rodgers (Gilfillan 77) Redman, McAllister, Stevenson, Cowie (Strachan 56). Subs (unused): Jarvie, Brown, Richardson

Attendance: 708