Toon face big challenge

PETERHEAD V ELGIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE GETS THE JUMP ON ELGIN'S DAVID NIVEN
PETERHEAD V ELGIN'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S MARTIN BAVIDGE GETS THE JUMP ON ELGIN'S DAVID NIVEN

Another home game without a victory and another goalless 90 minutes left Peterhead facing a real challenge to reclaim the play-off place they held for so long.

Confidence is clearly low within the Blue Toon ranks and despite dominating possession for long spells there was never any real belief on or off the pitch that this must- win game was genuinely winnable after they fell behind.

Games are fast running out for Jim McInally to get back his side back to winning ways and whilst far from impossible, it will take a massive upturn in fortunes to get back into the top four.

The three points drew Elgin level with their hosts but with the likes of Berwick Rangers hitting some form at just the right time, it will be a tremendous achievement for the Balmoor side to re-find their scoring touch which has worryingly deserted them.

Their cause hasn’t been helped by injuries with Scott Ross missing with an ankle knock on this occasion but the loss of yet another player thanks to a sending off, this time Ryan Strachan, may well be a factor when the season is assessed and reasons for expectations not being fulfilled are suggested.

Over the piece, City Keeper Joe Malin barely had a touch of the ball let alone a save to make and that lack of creation is probably of greatest concern to McInally.

Half chances were the story of this game. Peterhead threatened in the opening minutes with Brian Gilfillan sending Rory McAllister clear with a long ball out of defence but his whipped cross carried too much pace and Andy Rodgers headed up rather than down.

As half time approached Rodgers head flicked narrowly wide but a far from fit looking Martin Bavidge had the best chance of the game for the home side blazing a McAllister cut back about as high as was physically possible from six yards.

In between Elgin scored what proved to be the winner after nine minutes. They broke clear down the right wing and when the ball was passed inside, Daniel Moore played a one-two with the giant Paul Millar before rifling a low drive in off the left half post from 25 yards.

The second half followed a familiar pattern, the Blue Toon having most of the ball but doing very little with it and City happy to hit on the break and look the more dangerous doing so.

Millar could have made the game safe on the hour with a smart turn and shot that Graeme Smith saved well.

In the last 15 minutes Jamie Redman did a Rodgers and failed to control a tempting cross from sub Ryan McCann heading the cross up and over then Ross Smith bulleted a header over the crossbar from a David Cox corner.

All in all not a performance of a promotion contender from either side and with Berwick Rangers and even Stirling Albion hitting a rich vein of form, the trip to Montrose on Saturday is, once again, a must win.

PETERHEAD: G. Smith, Sharp, Noble, Gilfillan. R. Smith, Cowie, Cox, Redman, McAllister, Bavidge (McGlinchey 64), Rodgers (McCann 74). Subs (not used): Jarvie, Alexander Tully.

ATTENDANCE: 497