Montrose 2, Peterhead 1
MONTROSE came from behind on Saturday to record a well-deserved victory over big-spending Peterhead in the Irn-Bru Scottish League Division Three.
Goals from Terry Masson and Martin Boyle were enough to cancel out Rory McAllister’s first half opening strike, the home side taking all three points with a determined team performance.
Jonathan Smart returned to the side after his suspension following three red cards in his first four matches, with Sean Crighton dropping to the substitute’s bench. Stephen McNally was selected on the right of midfield, with Steven McPhee on the opposite wing.
Peterhead arrived without a permanent manager, having parted company with John Sheran the previous week after a disappointing start to the season.
Those travelling supporters looking for the team to react were rewarded early, with Peterhead taking the lead after only 12 minutes.
McALLISTER’s strong run with the ball took him into the box, where nimble feet and his strength were enough to hold off the Montrose defence. Having worked his way into space, the former Brechin striker slammed his shot into the net from 12 yards out.
Montrose sought to reply immediately, McPhee crashing a shot into the side-netting from the edge of the box.
The home side’s pacey front line caused numerous problems for the visiting defenders throughout the match. Sean Pierce did well after 18 minutes, flicking the ball into the path of Martin Boyle. He put too much weight on his downward header, finding himself in too acute an angle to truly challenge visiting goalkeeper Paul Jarvie. From the following corner, Jarvie pulled off a tremendous save to deny Jonathan Smart’s header.
Dougie Cameron also tested the Peterhead backline on a number of occasions, particularly from set pieces, but he should have done better with a 20th minute free kick that flew high and wide after Boyle had been pulled down on the edge of the box.
Peterhead should have been two goals ahead inside half an hour, McAllister crashing a header against the post from Aaron Conway’s free kick. The rebound landed favourably at his feet, but with the goal gaping he hammered his shot well over the crossbar.
As the first half entered its final five minutes, Montrose’s fast attacking play was finally rewarded. Pierce’s pace took him down the right wing, and his square ball outfoxed all of Peterhead’s defenders. But it was perfectly weighted for Terry MASSON, who blasted his shot home from near the penalty spot.
Half-time: Montrose 1, Peterhead 1.
The second half started with Peterhead on the offensive, Scott Ross shooting over and heading over from two corners in the space of a minute.
Martin Bavidge should have done better four minutes later after his 40-yard run put him clear of the Montrose defence, but he blasted his shot high and wide of Michael Andrews’ goal.
Both side were creating chances, Paul Lunan heading over for Montrose and Callum McDonald heading wide for Peterhead. Martin Boyle also passed up on opportunity on the hour-mark, lashing a shot into the side netting, having held off McDonald’s challenge in the box. Graeme Sharp also shot wide for Peterhead while inside the box.
Goalkeeper error finally gave Montrose the lead with 24 minutes remaining. Jarvie failed to control a loose ball in the box, and Pierce did well to rob him. With the goal gaping, he dinked the ball into BOYLE’s path, leaving the striker with the simple job of poking the ball into the empty net.
McPhee could have doubled Montrose’s advantage six minutes later, shooting high and wide from 25 yards, while Stephen McNally shot narrowly wide twice in the space of a minute.
Pierce could have had the goal his performance deserved three minutes from time, beating David Donald, cutting inside but sending his low shot wide of the target.
Boyle passed up one of the best chances of the match deep into injury time, racing past Jarvie’s challenge but somehow sending the ball across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
Montrose: Andrews, Lunan, Cameron, Smart, Campbell, Winter, McNally, Masson, Boyle, Pierce, McPhee (Johnston 82). Unused substitutes: Crawford, Crighton, Kelly and Wood.
Booked: Lunan 58.
Peterhead: Jarvie, Donald, Davidson, McDonald, Bishop, S. Ross, Sharp (Wood 74), Sellars (Strachan 46), McAllister, Bavidge, Conway (D. Ross 74). Unused substitutes: Wyness and Jellema.
Booked: Donald 70, S Ross 90.