Toon bounce back to take win at Montrose

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Peterhead returned to winning ways against Montrose on Saturday, bringing to an end a mixed week for Jim McInally’s men.

Having bounced back from losing a first minute goal to earn a point against Stranraer, the Blue Toon travelled to Elgin on Tuesday night where a hat-trick of own goals helped the home side to a shock 6-1 victory.

Keeper Paul Jarvie was left red-faced as he was caught out by a Dave Ross passback, the ball trundling over the line, and Paul Millar added a second shortly after the interval.

Rory McAllister glanced home a header at the wrong end, and it was 4-0 when Daniel Moore’s shot took a huge deflection off the head of Callum Macdonald before spinning in.

Jamie Redman finally gave the travelling support something to cheer as he headed home a consolation with 10 minutes left, but Brian Cameron and Craig Gunn netted to complete the rout.

So it was a side with much to prove that travelled to Links Park on Saturday, although they were missing central defender Scott Ross thanks to an injury sustained in training. Dave Ross and Graeme Sharp also dropped to the bench.

On-loan Dundee United defender Ross Smith was handed the first start of his loan spell in a re-shaped defence that also included Craig Tully and captain Macdonald, while Dundee loanee Graham Webster stepped into the midfield.

With the wind at their backs, the home side started brightly and Peterhead could have found themselves out the game before it had even started were it not for the heroics of Jarvie.

The goalkeeper was helpless from Jamie Winter’s third-minute free-kick but, rescued by the crossbar on that occasion, pulled off a number of important stops to keep the scores level.

Jarvie did deny Winter after ten minutes, and then smothered Martin Boyle’s effort two minutes later.

Boyle was again denied on the quarter-hour, but Peterhead began to come into the game, Webster finding space on the edge of the box to fire in their first shot on goal, but comfortably saved by goalkeeper Michael Andrews.

At the other end, David McGowan was played in by Scott Johnston only to be denied by another fine Jarvie save, Boyle turning the rebound past the upright.

Those missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Gable Endies, as Peterhead took the lead just after the half-hour. Ryan Strachan found Webster again on the edge of the area and after his first shot was blocked, he rifled a low effort into the corner of the net.

It could have been two just minutes later as Martin Bavidge’s perfectly weighted pass allowed McAllister to beat the offside trap and advance on Andrews, only to shoot straight at the former Falkirk man.

That would be McAllister’s last contribution as he was substituted before the interval after suffering an ankle knock earlier in the game.

And they were dealt another blow at the break when Davie Donald succumbed to illness, replaced by Sharp for the second half.

And Sharp earned what would prove the loudest cheer of the afternoon as he sent a clearance through the open window of the Links Park pie hut just minutes after coming on.

A goalmouth melee led to Peterhead doubling their lead after 51 minutes, although there was some doubt about the scorer - and some may ask whether the ball crossed the line at all.

Strachan’s corner was flicked on by Macdonald at the near post and Bavidge headed goalwards at the back stick, only for his shot to seemingly be saved by Andrews. Ross was quick to react and forced the ball home left footed - though Bavidge would later claim his initial effort was deemed to have crossed the line.

There was no doubting the third goal just two minutes later. Smith sent a searching ball up the inside-right channel, and Bavidge was quickly onto it to lift over Andrews and into the net.

Jarvie had to be alert to push over a Boyle volley before Montrose’s star man finally found the net after 62 minutes, bringing down a Winter pass and rounding Jarvie to pull a goal back.

But the closest they came to pulling another back was five minutes from time when Alan Campbell’s header was cleared off the line by the ever-reliable Roy McBain.

McBain himself could have netted a fourth for Peterhead, but saw his attempted chip turned away for a corner after a clever exchange of passes with Redman.

PETERHEAD: Jarvie, Donald (Sharp, 46), McBain, Smith, Macdonald, Tully, Webster (Wyness, 78), Redman, McAllister (D. Ross, 42), Bavidge, Strachan. Subs not used: Davidson, Jellema (gk)


Attendance: 358.