Peterhead moved to the top of Division Two with an explosive burst of second half goals for a win that for most of the game looked unlikely, writes Jim Irving.
With the match heading towards a stalemate, Rory McAllister turned on his magic to conjure a win against a Montrose side who will feel aggrieved, certainly at the margin of the defeat.
The opening quarter of an hour failed to excite but in the 16th minute the home side could have taken the lead, a long ball forward by Brian Gilfillan found Jamie Redman to the right of goal but his volley was held by Keeper Stuart McKenzie.
Moments later Scott Ross launched a ball forward from defence and McAllister saw his well struck shot saved.
McAllister could have broken the deadlock but headed wide then sent a free kick narrowly over on the stroke of half time.
At the other end Montrose rarely threatened but they could have taken the lead with probably the best chance of the half, a 25 yard free kick from Paul Watson on the 26th minute that Graeme Smith acrobatically turned around the post.
The Blue Toon went close soon after the re-start, Andy Rodgers head flicking a Steven Noble cross beyond the far post whilst at the other end Terry Masson kept Smith on his toes with an awkwardly bouncing shot from the edge of the area that the keeper managed to block.
Just when a goal looked beyond both sides, Peterhead went in front with a goal created and scored by the mercurial talents of McAllister.
After 65 minutes he raced towards the edge of the Montrose penalty area where he earned a free kick and then drove the ball low and hard underneath the defensive wall for the opener.
Three minutes later it was game over with McAllister the creator this time, taking the ball to the byeline to the left of goal before squaring for substitute Fraser McLaren to sidefoot into the net from six yards.
Masson had the chance to pull a goal back in the 77th minute with a rising shot tipped over by Smith but three minutes later the home side struck again, McLaren crossing from the right and McAllister taking the ball in his stride to volley the third from 12 yards out.
So, signs of improvement for the home fans. A first clean sheet at Balmoor and back to back games with no goals conceded is just what the team need for the trip to Clyde on Saturday for a crucial game for both sides.
After the match Peterhead manager Jim McInally said: “I thought the first 20-25 minutes we played really well and were well in control.
“We lost our way a wee bit and up until we got the goal, Montrose had come back into the game.
“Once we got the goal, you could see the confidence and it was a pleasing result in the end.
“Rory’s free-kick is something that we get onto him about. He’s a hell of a boy for swerving and bending them and he can strike a ball, and he doesn’t put his laces through them often enough. It was a terrific free-kick.
“I’m quite critical of our general play today. We could have passed it better; we were looking to much for the killer ball when we could have kept a wee bit of posession.
“Teams find it hard to open us up, the whole season. We lose a lot of goals from set-pieces but generally we work really hard for each other and we’re a hard team to open up. I was really pleased with that again today.”
“We’re top of the table for a couple of days but it’s a nice place to be considering where we’ve been. To go from fifth to first could only happen in this league. I’m pleased for the players, and hopefully it gives them a bit of confidence.”
Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Donaldson, Ross, Cowie, Rodgers, (McCann 65), Redman, McAllister, Gilfillan (Brown 74), Tully (Strachan 60)
Unused: Jarvie (gk), Richardson, McCann, Buchan
Ref – Colin Stevens
Attendance – 473