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Alloa Athletic 3 Peterhead 1

Tue 31 Jan 2012

A Rory McAllister wonder-strike could not stop Third Division leaders Alloa Athletic ending Peterhead's run of league wins at four.

McAllister hit a superb leveller after central defender Ben Gordon had given Paul Hartley's side the lead in this rearranged match, but the Wasps swiftly hit back through Mark Docherty before Stevie May struck a killer third.

Scott Ross had returned for Peterhead in place of Craig Tully, while Dave Ross and Graeme Sharp started after impressing as substitutes in the win over Queen's Park.

Graham Webster dropped out, and Bryan Deasley was demoted to the bench to make way for them.

Peterhead's recent form had been impressive, but Alloa's own run had seen them win five on the bounce, and they were undefeated since October.

Making the most of their home advantage, the Wasps started brightly, with Stevie Masterton blasting a 25-yard effort narrowly wide of the upright.

Peterhead returned fire immediately as McAllister cut back for Dave Ross, only for the ex-Aberdeen man to blaze over from eight yards.

Paul Jarvie was the first of the goalkeepers to be tested, as he saved from Alloa's former Celtic striker Kevin Cawley after eight minutes, but he was left helpless as the home side opened the scoring.

Peterhead struggled to deal with a free kick sent over to the far post, and Graeme Holmes was able to pick out Gordon who slotted past the goalkeeper from close range.

Four minutes later, Cawley won his side a free kick 20 yards out, but the lively May sliced well wide.

Jim McInally's men began to find a footing in the game, though, and used the artificial surface at Recreation Park to build some neat passing moves.

Indeed, Martin Bavidge saw an effort blocked from Davie Donald's right wing cross, before Ryan Strachan's left-foot effort from 25 yards drew a save from former Aberdeen keeper Scott Bain.

They were finally rewarded when McAllister turned at the left corner of the penalty area, and sent a scorching shot high past Bain and into the top corner of the net.

But parity only lasted two minutes, and again it was a set-piece which would be Peterhead's undoing.

This time it was Masterton's corner, swung in from the right, which caused the problems. Only cleared as far as the edge of the area where Docherty pounced with a fine strike high into Jarvie's net.

The second half started more evenly, with May hitting just inches over, before Sharp drew a save from Bain with a 20-yard effort.

Peterhead pressed strongly for a leveller and Bavidge was unlucky to head wide at the near post from a Ryan Strachan corner, but another set piece would soon cost them dear.

With 25 minutes remaining, Jarvie beat away a Masterton corner from under his own cross bar, and the in-form May followed up to fire home his eighth goal in his last five appearances.

The on-loan St Johnstone man had looked a cut above throughout, and his goal was well-deserved.

That said, his heroics were to be matched at the other end as Peterhead threw caution to the wind and pushed men forward in a bid to get back into the game.

Scott Ross saw a header crash back off the upright with just a little too much pace on the rebound for McAllister to pounce.

Minutes later, Bain produced a double save worthy of the admission fee alone. Bain's save from Strachan's low effort was relatively routine, but the goalkeeper was back up quickly to somehow deny Dennis Wyness.

His efforts drew praise from both managers after the match, and who knows what might have happened had either effort found the net.

The Blue Toon continued to press right to the death, but only when Donald struck over from 20 yards was Bain's goal under further threat, with Peterhead's hopes of taking something from the game all but gone by that point.

Despite the result there was much for Jim McInally and his coaching staff to be positive about ahead of the weekend's trip over the border to sixth-placed Berwick Rangers, who lie just three points ahead of the Blue Toon.

ALLOA ATHLETIC: Scott Bain, James Doyle, Ross McKinnon, Ben Gordon (Mark McCullagh, 48), Ryan Harding, Darren Young, Mark Docherty, Stevie Masterton (Ross McCord, 81), Stevie May, Graeme Holmes, Kevin Cawley. Subs not used: Armand One, Robbie Winters, Craig McDowall (gk).

PETERHEAD: Paul Jarvie, Davie Donald, Roy McBain, Scott Ross (Craig Tully, 78), Callum Macdonald, Ryan Strachan, Graeme Sharp (Dennis Wyness, 68), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Martin Bavidge, Dave Ross (Bryan Deasley, 54). Subs not used: Lewis Davidson, Raymond Jellema (gk).

Booked: Scott Ross.

Attendance: 429.