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Peterhead 0 Alloa Athletic 2

Sun 04 Aug 2013

Andy Rodgers tries to avoid a tackle Andy Rodgers tries to avoid a tackle

Alloa midfielder Ryan McCord played a key role as his Scottish Championship side eventually overcame Peterhead in a match that was far closer than the two-division gap between the sides would have suggested.

McCord opened the scoring early in the second half from the penalty spot, and it was from his free-kick that former Hearts striker Andy Kirk headed home the killer second in the dying stages.

With Scott Ross missing through injury, it was a makeshift Peterhead defence that took to the field. Captain Steven Noble moved to centre-back and Conner McGlinchey stepped in to fill his more familiar left-back role.

The Blue Toon were otherwise unchanged from the side that had overcome Brechin City on Ramsdens Cup duty last week. With the sides having met in pre-season, Jim McInally’s men had an inkling of what to expect from a side Paul Hartley has developed well over the past couple of seasons.

Conner McGlinchey in possession

They immediately set out to stop the visitors stroking the ball around the park, and were aided by a strong wind blowing over Balmoor.

With that wind behind them, Peterhead were first to threaten. Jamie Redman headed a high ball into the path of Jordon Brown, and the former Aberdeen youngster flashed a snap-shot narrowly wide of the goal.

Brown was involved again after 20 minutes. McGlinchey combined with Rory McAllister before Graeme Holmes’ tackle sent the ball looping towards the back post. Brown was on hand to win the header, but sent his effort over the bar.

It had been a first half of few chances but the Wasps were claiming for a penalty ten minutes before the interval.

On-loan Aberdeen striker Declan McManus volleyed acrobatically after Stephen Simmons had knocked down McCord’s free-kick, and the ball seemed to come off the arm of Ryan Strachan. McManus had been so close to the former Celtic man, though, that any penalty given would have been incredibly harsh.

The claim perhaps stuck in the mind of referee David Somers, though, as the Wasps were awarded a penalty shortly after half-time.

Graeme Sharp’s attempted clearance was charged down by Kevin Cawley, and he slipped the ball into the path of McCord. Jamie Redman tracked the run and got close to the former Dundee United man, but there appeared to be little contact as McCord fell to the ground.

Somers felt there was enough, though, and pointed to the spot. McCord himself stepped up to the mark, and rolled the ball low into the net as Smith guessed the opposite way.

And the referee caused further misery for the home support when he decided that a push by Alloa goalkeeper Scott Bain on Andy Rodgers merited only a yellow card.

Rodgers had chased a loose ball into the area, but although he was perfectly entitled to challenge for the ball, Bain reacted angrily. The pair came together and the goalkeeper clearly sent the striker tumbling. The outcome was that both were booked, along with Simmons, who had made his feelings clear.

Four minutes later, Rodgers turned a fine pass into the path of McAllister, who saw his effort deflected away for a corner. David Cox swung the set piece in, and McAllister got his head to the cross, but sent his effort over the bar.

But the Championship side would extend their lead with seven minutes of the match remaining.

McCord sent a left-wing free-kick towards the back post, where Kirk got a run on Blue Toon substitute Bryan Gilfillan, and sent a header squirming beyond the unfortunate Smith.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Conner McGlinchey, Ryan Strachan, Steven Noble, Dean Cowie (Bryan Gilfillan, 63), David Cox (Kevin Buchan, 79), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Jordon Brown, Ryan McCann (Andy Rodgers, 63). Subs not used: Richardson, Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cowie, McCann, Redman, McAllister, Rodgers.

ALLOA ATHLETIC: Scott Bain, Michael Doyle, James Creaney, Ben Gordon, Daryll Meggatt, Stephen Simmons, Kevin Cawley, Ryan McCord, Andy Kirk, Graeme Holmes (Jonathan Tiffoney, 65), Declan McManus. Subs not used: Eddie Ferns, Michael Hardie, Nathan Moore, Craig McDowall (gk).

Booked: McManus, Bain, Simmons.

Attendance: 429.