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Peterhead 4 East Stirling 0

Mon 03 Mar 2014

Peterhead maintained their five-point lead at the top of League Two with a comprehensive victory over East Stirlingshire on a day which also saw nearest challengers Annan Athletic and Clyde also hit four goals apiece.

Jordon Brown, a Jordan Tapping own-goal, Rory McAllister and Andy Rodgers did the damage for Peterhead, as they set up a midweek crunch tie against second-placed Annan, despite being forced to field a makeshift side.

With centre-backs Scott Ross and Ross Smith missing through suspension, midfielder Jamie Redman was asked to fill in at the back, while Dean Cowie and Rodgers returned from injury to go back into the starting eleven.

Ryan McCann was missing as he prepared for his wedding, but Tony Low, who last played for the club during Steve Paterson’s reign, was named on the bench.

Despite the thrown-together look of the Peterhead side, they would be the better side throughout against a Shire side who won out the last time the sides met, at Ochilview in January.

Graeme Smith was the first goalkeeper to be tested, throwing himself down to his left to turn away Max Wright’s low strike.

A corner from the right saw Blue Toon captain Steven Noble’s delivery headed off the line by Ricky Miller after 14 minutes, but five minutes later, a smilar delivery brought about the opening goal.

Again Noble swung the ball towards the back post, and Brown popped to head home the opener.

The deliveries of Noble were a constant menace to the visitors defence, and after 24 minutes a free-kick found the head of McAllister , but his header was over the bar.

A second goal was coming, and it duly arrived after 27 minutes – but not from an expected source.

Graeme Sharp’s ball into the area had a bit of zip to it, and Rodgers did well to lay off for Bryan Gilfillan. The one-time Gretna man’s shot looked to be covered by Grant Hay, but it took a deflected off the luckless Tapping and into the net.

There were claims for a penalty as Rodgers appeared to be bundled over by Scott Maxwell, but referee Gavin Duncan waved away the claims, instead signalling a goal kick.

With half-time on the horizon, the Shire had a couple of opportunities to ease themselves back into the game.

It seemed midfielder David Greenhill was getting his eye in when he headed past the upright, as just a minute later he met Wright’s cross to force a fine stop from Peterhead keeper Smith.

But the outcome was put beyond doubt in first-half injury time, as Fraser McLaren twisted and teased his way past Tapping before being brought down by Chris Townsley. This time the referee did point to the spot, and McAllister did what he always does, finding the net from 12 yards.

If a goal at the end of the first half had put the game beyond John Coughlin’s men, another five minutes into the second period surely left them deflated.

It was as simple a move as you’ll see. Redman to McAllister, McAllister to Rodgers, and the ex-Falkirk man found the net in the nonchalant style we’ve come to expect, stylishly lifting the ball beyond Hay.

The front pair of McAllister and Rodgers combined again soon after, the latter picking out McLaren for what should have been a fifth goal, but the former Berwick winger fluffed his lines and sent the ball out of the ground when it seemed easier to score.

A brief cameo from Low in the dying stages could have seen the former Caley Thistle winger find the net, but he sliced wide of the target from close range, as the Blue Toon saw out a comfortable win.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Jordon Brown, Bryan Gilfillan, Dean Cowie (Dean Richardson, 78), Andy Rodgers (Conner McGlinchey, 69), Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Tony Low, 87), Fraser McLaren, Ryan Strachan. Subs not used: Craig Tully, Paul Jarvie (gk).

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE: Grant Hay, Jordan Tapping (Jordan McKechnie, 77), Scott Maxwell, Chris Townsley, Ricky Miller, Rhys Devlin (Nathan Shepherd, 63), Graeme McGregor, David Greenhill, Paul Quinn, Ross O’Donoghue (Jamie Glasgow, 74), Max Wright. Subs not used: Michael Herd, Craig Gordon (gk).

Booked: Tapping, Wright.

Attendance: 554.