Toon take honours in memorial match

PETERHEAD V ROSS COUNTY'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S ANDY RODGERS CELEBRATES HIS OPENER WITH DEAN COWIE (L) AND GRAEME SHARP
PETERHEAD V ROSS COUNTY'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S ANDY RODGERS CELEBRATES HIS OPENER WITH DEAN COWIE (L) AND GRAEME SHARP

The Blue Toon seamlessly slipped back into the form that saw them within a game of getting promotion last season, to lift the Les Taylor Memorial Trophy against top flight side Ross County, writes Jim Irving.

A goal in each half was enough to earn the silverware played at typical Friendly match pace with County looking some distance off the level that will be needed if they are to replicate their sensational debut in the SPL last season.

The game started at a leisurely pace and it was fully 20 minutes before any hint of a goal, the home side’s busy midfielder Dean Cowie sending a snap shot from the edge of the penalty area that Mark Brown grabbed at the second attempt.

Trialist Jordan Brown, a youngster released by Aberdeen, looped a shot from 20 yards that carried no menace three minutes later before Peterhead took the lead with a stunning opener.

Jamie Redman played the ball down the inside right channel to Andy Rodgers. There seemed little on until the forward and lone striker conjured up a sublime chip over Brown and into the far corner with most of the stadium thinking his effort was heading over.

The disappointing visitors showed little up front despite some slick passing at the back and in midfield and it was just before half time when they created their only chance of the half, new Dutch signing Darren Maatssen pulling a brave block out of keeper Graeme Smith with a close range shot from an angle.

The second half was a livelier affair and the Staggies went close to an equaliser after 53 minutes, Alex Cooper getting a sight of goal and his 18 yard effort was superbly saved by man of the match Smith diving to his right at waist height.

A Richard Brittain corner from the right was powered over by the head of Steven Saunders as the visitors looked set to get a grip of the game but back came Peterhead and Bryan Gilfillan, one of five substitutes to come on at half time, whipped over a free kick from the right and Trialist Dean Richardson dived to head narrowly wide.

Gillfillan continued to have an impact and after 67 minutes David Cox found him with a cross from the left wing and his header went a whisker past the left hand post.

The game was wrapped up two minutes from the end when another of the Peterhead subs, youngster Jake Fitzgerald was hauled to the ground by Brown and Gilfillan made an immaculate job with the spot kick sending Brown the wrong way.On Saturday Peterhead travel to Inverurie for a warm up match with Loco’s and a possible reunion with former Blue Toon favourite Martin Bavidge.

Toon manager Jim McInally said: “We’ve got good spirit and work hard, and if if you do that then you’ve always got a chance.”

“I feel as though we are a wee bit behind in our physical preparation, but we have a lot of naturally fit boys in our team. We’ve done really well against an SPL team.”

Man of the match Peterhead goalkeeper Graeme Smith said: “The whole point of the game was to get us back up to scratch but I think we can kick on this season and do even better than last year.”

Peterhead - Smith, Sharp, Noble (McGlinchey 45), Strachan, Ross, Cowie (Gilfillan 45), Cox (Alexander 85), Redman (C Macdonald 45), Rodgers (Trialist 45), Trialist ( Trialist 45), McCann ( Fitzgerald 85)

Ross County - Brown, Kovacevic, Gordon, Kettlewell (Boyd 67), Saunders, Munro (Klok 67), Maatsen (Luckassen 67), Brittain , Ross (Glen 67), Quinn, Cooper (Sproule 67)

Attendance: 414