Peterhead made to rue missed chances

PETERHEAD V BRECHIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE IS PULLED BACK BY BRECHIN'S  PAUL McLEAN.
PETERHEAD V BRECHIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE IS PULLED BACK BY BRECHIN'S PAUL McLEAN.

PETERHEAD were made to rue their missed opportunities as Brechin City overcame the absence of suspended striker Rory McAllister to eventually earn all three points.

Former Blue Toon loan man McAllister missed out through suspension and, through a first half Neale Cooper’s side had the better of, his side looked toothless without him.

For their part, Peterhead were without striker Martin Bavidge and defender Bobby Mann, but captain Stuart Smith was passed fit to play despite an ankle injury picked up against Airdrie United.

Daniel Moore returned to the starting eleven in place of Bavidge, the side otherwise unchanged despite the defeat at the hands of the Diamonds.

The Blue Toon should have been ahead after 11 minutes when Graeme Sharp cut in off the right and curled a shot towards goal, Craig Nelson doing well to palm the effort away. The ball dropped to Dennis Wyness, but Nelson reacted well to turn his effort wide.

Dave Ross intercepted a short header back by Brechin midfielder Gary Fusco seven minutes later, but Nelson was quickly off his line and saved well from the former Aberdeen man.

If the Blue Toon had been unlucky not to be ahead at this point, their opener made up for it. Ryan Strachan showed great composure to break a challenge with an excellent first touch, but his low shot took a deflection to send it away from Nelson and into the bottom-right corner of the net.

And the ex-Celt was unlucky not to see another foray into the box result in a goal five minutes before the interval.

A challenge on Strachan saw the ball spin up in the air, David White’s misjudged header forced Nelson to push his effort onto the bar before the ball was eventually knocked out off Strachan for a goal kick.

And Peterhead were denied again as an unexpectedly one-sided first half drew to a close. Wyness created the space for himself to shoot from the edge of the area, but the effort was comfortable for Nelson to save.

You got the feeling Peterhead might live to rue those missed chances, and so it would prove, as the introduction of midfielder Jamie Redman and striker Danny McKay for Neil Janczyk and Mark Archdeacon had an almost immediate impact.

Kevin Byers and Craig Molloy linked up, with the latter putting the ball on a plate for David McKenna to side-foot home inside the six-yard box.

Defender Dougie Hill hit the crossbar with a header from a Byers corner, before the home side took the lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Paul McLean provided the excellent cross from deep on the right, and McKenna was perfectly placed to nod the ball away from the helpless John Bateman and into the net.

It was one-way traffic now but McLean, who had earlier been booked for fouling Stirling Smith, was handed a second yellow for cynically hauling back the same player, and that gave Peterhead hope of taking something from the match.

Stuart Smith came closest to getting an equaliser after good linkup with Stirling Smith on the left, but Brechin keeper Nelson again threw himself across his goal to palm the ball away.

The veteran goalkeeper had kept his side in the game in the first half and showed tremendous concentration to make this save after an anonymous second half.

But Brechin made sure of the points as Peterhead substitute Callum Macdonald saw his clearance rebound wildly and drop to Byers. He slipped in McKay who pulled the trigger with an angled shot, and Redman popped up at the back post to steer home.

The Blue Toon now face Stenhousemuir at Balmoor in a rearranged game tonight (Tuesday), before hosting resurgent Dumbarton on Saturday.

PETERHEAD: Bateman, Donald, Stirling Smith, Stuart Smith, S. Ross, McVitie, Sharp, D. Ross, Wyness (Gethins, 72), Strachan, Moore (Macdonald, 76). Subs (not used): Emslie, Clark, Jarvie (gk).

Attendance: 503