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Montrose 1 Peterhead 3

Sat 18 Feb 2012

Peterhead bounced back from their midweek humiliation to return to winning ways against Montrose.

Manager Jim McInally had promised changes in the wake of the 6-1 reverse against Elgin City, and handed a first start to on-loan Dundee United defender Ross Smith.

Smith lined up in a reshaped defence alongside Callum Macdonald and Craig Tully, who replaced the injured Scott Ross.

The other change saw Graham Webster return to the starting eleven, with Dave Ross dropping to the bench.

McInally had reverted to a 3-5-2 formation, so Webster joined Jamie Redman and Ryan Strachan in the centre of midfield.

But the Blue Toon had to weather an early storm on two counts, with the home side using the wind at their backs to press forward at will.

After conceding six in midweek, Peterhead goalkeeper Paul Jarvie put in a display reminiscent of that he had enjoyed against Stranraer a week earlier, keeping his side in the game with a string of fine saves.

He was powerless to prevent Jamie Winter's free kick crashing off the crossbar as early as the third minute, but was called into action to deny the same player after ten minutes, and then smothered a low shot from livewire striker Martin Boyle.

Boyle was again denied by the former Torquay United goalkeeper before Peterhead began to find their footing in the game.

Webster fired a warning shot as he found space on the edge of the area, the on-loan Dundee man being forced onto his left foot and seeing Michael Andrews hold his shot comfortably.

Jarvie again came to his side's rescue as he spectacularly turned away David McGowan's effort after the winger had been played in by Scott Johnston, and Boyle failed to find the target with the rebound.

But Webster would make a more telling contribution just after the half-hour. Again he ghosted into space on the edge of the area and, found by Ryan Strachan, saw his first shot blocked before rifling a shot low into the corner of the net.

It should have been two when Rory McAllister beat the offside trap to latch on to a superb pass from Martin Bavidge but, with Andrews advancing, the former Brechin City man could only hit straight at the goalkeeper.

That was to prove McAllister's last action as he was replaced by Dave Ross just before the interval, a substitution which McInally would later reveal was down to a mix-up in communication.

The former Morton and East Stirling boss was forced to make a second change at half-time, ex-Montrose man Graeme Sharp replacing the ill Davie Donald at right-wing back.

Sharp was involved almost immediately and raised a loud cheer from the Links Park crowd as he managed to direct a clearance straight through the open window of the pie stall to the amusement of the 358-strong crowd.

Peterhead were back to more serious action just minutes later, and doubled their lead after 51 minutes.

A Strachan corner was flicked on by Macdonald at the near post, and Bavidge directed a header goalward.

Andrews was behind his line when he dived and may not have done enough to keep the ball out, but Dave Ross made sure in any case as he prodded home from close range.

There would be no arguments about the scorer of Peterhead's third goal just two minutes later. Smith sent a pass up the inside-right channel and Bavidge went haring after it, beating the onrushing Andrews to the ball and lifting over the former Falkirk goalkeeper from outside the area.

It was a killer blow to Montrose, but to their credit they continued to push forward and threw on former Peterhead loan man Gary Wood in a bid to claw their way back into the game.

It was Boyle, though, who reduced the deficit, pulling down a Winter pass and rounding Jarvie before rolling the ball home to give his side a lifeline.

They could have further reduced the deficit when defender Alan Campbell sent a header toward goal, but Roy McBain was well positioned to head off the line.

And the former Caley Thistle midfielder could have scored himself moments later, combining with Jamie Redman on the edge of the area only to see his chipped effort turned past the post.

MONTROSE: Michael Andrews, Sean Crighton (Jonathon Crawford, 78), Dougie Cameron, Alan Campbell, Jonathan Smart, Terry Masson, Lloyd Young, Jamie Winter, Martin Boyle, Scott Johnston, David McGowan (Gary Wood, 57). Subs not used: Kevin Brown, Scott Gordon, Sandy Wood (gk).

Booked: Winter.

PETERHEAD: Paul Jarvie, Davie Donald (Graeme Sharp, 46), Roy McBain, Ross Smith, Callum Macdonald, Craig Tully, Graham Webster (Dennis Wyness, 78), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Dave Ross, 42), Martin Bavidge, Ryan Strachan. Subs not used: Lewis Davidson, Raymond Jellema (gk).

Booked: Tully, Strachan, Macdonald.

Attendance: 358.