Peterhead’s dismal form away from Balmoor continued as they sank to a sixth straight away defeat at the hands of Montrose on Saturday.
The game was effectively over after fifteen minutes, with goals from former Peterhead loanee Gary Wood and midfielder Terry Masson having given the home side a comfortable early advantage.
Although Jamie Redman and Ryan Strachan both hit the woodwork, there wasn’t even so much as a consolation for the Blue Toon, who must be thankful their home form is good.
Former Rangers and St Mirren goalkeeper Graeme Smith came in for his debut, although fellow new signing Ryan McCann had to sit this out as he served a one-game suspension held over from his last involvement in Scottish Football.
Marc McCallum made way for Smith, and Martin Bavidge joined Robbie Winters in attack, with Stephen Maguire missing out.
It was a nightmare start for the Blue Toon, as they fell behind after just four minutes. The pressing of Masson saw Dean Cowie caught in possession and, when the ball broke to him just inside the area, Wood rifled a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Peterhead could have been level just three minutes later when Robbie Winters won a free-kick 25-yards out. He took the kick quickly to send Bavidge into the area, but the hitman struck across the face of goal when he should really have found the net.
And that proved costly when the home side doubled their advantage on the quarter-hour. Wood was this time the provider, beating Strachan near the corner flag before sending in a beautiful cross that needed only the simplest of touches from Masson to turn it home.
Montrose looked extremely confident now and another former Blue Toon man, Paul Watson, twice threatened, only inches away on both occasions.
Peterhead began to come back into the game, and Scott McLaughlin, skipper in the absence of Callum Macdonald, saw a header cleared off the line by Jonathan Crawford after the Montrose defence had tied themselves in knots.
McLaughlin took the resultant corner, from which Redman saw his angled volley come back off the upright.
Redman was involved at the other end, positioning himself on the line to head a Ricky McIntosh shot away after the pacy wing had been sent clear by Stephen McNally.
Rory McAllister had dropped onto the bench through illness last week, and he again entered the fray from the sidelines this week, replacing Cowie ten minutes into the second half.
He had a chance when Ross Smith’s sclaffed cross fell to him 15 yards out, but the striker failed to trouble Sandy Wood in the Montrose goal.
That the Blue Toon hadn’t scored by now was a worry and with 20 minutes remaining, Strachan must have thought his effort was about to give his side a lifeline, only for the ball to cannon back off the woodwork again.
But Montrose were still looking lively and Strachan himself did enough to put McIntosh off when the ex-St Johnstone man threatened again on the counter.
Despite their two-goal lead, Montrose had done little to threaten Smith’s goal, but the ex-Rangers man had to be alert to turn a Jamie Winter shot past the post as the home side sought the third goal that would finally kill the game off.
In the end, the ninety minutes fizzled out with little more incident, leaving Blue Toon boss Jim McInally to hold what he termed a “long discussion” in the dressing room after the match.
The Blue Toon fans can only hope that it does some good in the coming weeks.
Peterhead have no game this coming Saturday, their Third Division match against Elgin City having been postponed due to City’s ongoing Scottish Cup campaign.
PETERHEAD: G. Smith, Cowie (McAllister, 55), Noble, R. Smith, S. Ross, Strachan, Cox, Redman, Winters (Deasley, 77), Bavidge, McLaughlin. Subs not used: D. Ross, Kelly, McCallum (gk).
Booked: Strachan, Winters, S. Ross.