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Peterhead 0 Alloa Athletic 1

Mon 19 Mar 2012

Peterhead can take pride from their performance despite losing 1-0 to league leaders Alloa Athletic at Balmoor.

The Blue Toon matched their opponents for much of the game, and only a 20th minute strike from on-loan St Johnstone striker Stevie May would separate the sides.

Captain Callum Macdonald returned to the Peterhead starting eleven after suspension, replacing Martin Bavidge who was unavailable due to work commitments.

That was the only change to the side which had come from behind to defeat Elgin seven days earlier, although a tactical shift saw manager Jim McInally employ a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jamie Redman, Graeme Sharp and Bryan Deasley pushing forward to support lone-striker Rory McAllister.

Both sides took their time settling into the match, and May's goal came from the first real chance.

Referee Paul Robertson allowed a good advantage after Craig Tully had fouled Mark Docherty on the edge of the area, and May got in ahead of Roy McBain to turn home Robbie Winters' pass from the right.

May was soon sniffing around again and he came close to a second when he seized on Tully's poor touch from a McBain pass, only to see Paul Jarvie block well at his near post.

But Peterhead were sparked into life and with a bit more luck, could have been level after 27 minutes.

Sharp's shot was parried by Bain but struck the onrushing Redman on the chest, bouncing back into the arms of the grateful goalkeeper.

There was another chance when Deasley's deep corner broke to Macdonald at the far post, the defender unable to get the purchase on his left-foot shot to really trouble former Aberdeen keeper Bain.

Deasley himself would be denied by the feet of the goalkeeper. After plucking McAllister's flighted pass out of the air, the former Dundee man fired off a quick snap-shot which was kicked away by Bain.

McAllister tested Bain from range as the Blue Toon continued to pour forward, but the goalkeeper was again equal to the effort.

Alloa were still a threat, though, and when May released Winters who squared for Ryan McCord, the midfielder shot over from the edge of the area.

The former Dundee United midfielder had another opportunity on the stroke of half-time as he sent a 20-yard free-kick curling off the upright with Jarvie beaten all ends up.

But that wasn't the end of the first-half action, McAllister spotting Bain off his line in injury time, and sending a 35-yard lob towards goal, but the keeper recovering to grasp the effort.

Peterhead continues to push forward after the restart, a Ryan Strachan corner headed towards goal by McAllister and coming off Tully before Bain gratefully took control of the situation.

McAllister will have been disappointed not to have done better when, having exchanged passes with Deasley, he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Alloa were still a threat on the break, and substitute Ross McCord came closest as he fizzed a shot across the face of goal.

But Peterhead attacked until the final whistle and could have finally grabbed a leveller when Darren Young diverted a McBain pass towards his own goal, Bain racing from his line to head away from McAllister.

The ball broke to sub Dennis Wyness who headed towards goal, only to see McAllister, in trying to help guide the ball home, inadvertently blocked the effort.

PETERHEAD: Paul Jarvie, Davie Donald, Roy McBain, Ryan Strachan, Callum Macdonald, Craig Tully (Dave Ross, 70), Graeme Sharp (Dennis Wyness, 86), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Russell Duncan, Bryan Deasley. Subs not used: Lewis Davidson, Graham Webster, Ray Jellema (gk).

Booked: Tully, McAllister.

ALLOA ATHLETIC: Scott Bain, Jamie Doyle, Ross McKinnon, Ben Gordon, Ryan Harding, Darren Young, Mark Docherty (Ross McCord, 61), Ryan McCord, Stevie May, Graeme Holmes, Robbie Winters (Kevin Cawley, 70). Subs not used: Mark McCullagh, Craig Campbell, Craig McDowall (gk).

Booked: McKinnon, Gordon.

Attendance: 488