MONTROSE’S promotion prospects were dealt a blow as they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in a one-sided encounter with Peterhead.
The Balmoor side scored three in each half, while the Gable Endies’ misery was compounded by a missed penalty and the sending off of goalkeeper John Gibson.
With Jonathan Crawford suspended and Alan Campbell injured, Montrose had Terry Masson at right-back, Stephen McNally and Paul Lunan at centre back and Paul Watson on the left of defence. Jamie Winter was partnered in midfield by Ross McCord, while Lloyd Young and Ricky McIntosh started on the wings. Garry Wood partnered Martin Boyle in attack.
The homesters started well, Young stooping to head narrowly wide from a Watson free kick.
But Peterhead opened the scoring three minutes later. Rory McAllister’s square ball into the box was only cleared as far as Ryan McCANN, the winger left with the simple task of passing the ball into the net.
Nine minutes later former Brechin striker McAllister controlled the ball in the box before firing a shot at Gibson. The goalkeeper could only parry the ball back towards McALLISTER, who slipped his shot home from an acute angle.
Montrose were immediately handed a gilt-edged opportunity to find a way back, Scott Ross tripping Garry Wood in the Peterhead box. Jamie Winter stepped up to take the penalty kick, but his shot was weak and at an easy height for visiting goalkeeper Graeme Smith to save.
The home side’s sloppy play continued when they gave the ball away in midfield, but were spared when McAllister over-hit his through ball with McCann bearing down on goal.
McAllister got it right just after the half hour, connecting with a McCann cross to bullet a header at Gibson who could only slap the ball back out, and McALLISTER poked the ball into the net.
Stephen McNally could have pulled a goal back for Montrose before the break, but his header at the back post from Watson’s free kick was well saved. From the resulting corner, Wood powered a header just over from McCord’s cross.
Half-time: Montrose 0, Peterhead 3.
Montrose started the second half on the front foot, Smith managing to hold a 40-yard free kick at the second attempt. The home side had the ball in the Peterhead net just after the hour, but referee Barry Cook ruled that Smith had been fouled as Leighton McIntosh fired home.
McAllister’s perseverance paid off in the 81st minute when he flicked the ball past Gibson, only for the goalkeeper to trip him. Gibson was shown a straight red card, and as Montrose had already made their substitutions, Garry Wood donned jersey and gloves for the final 10 minutes.
McAllister clattered the penalty, high and hard off the post. Wood made two good saves shortly afterwards to deny McAllister, but he was beaten when Andy RODGERS deflected the ball high into his net.
McALLISTER completed his hat-trick when he skinned Paul Lunan and fired a low shot into the net.
RODGERS scored his second and Peterhead’s sixth when he tapped home after Martin Bavidge had dispossessed Wood on the edge of the box.