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Peterhead 1 Berwick Rangers 0

Wed 21 Dec 2011

Peterhead served up an early Christmas present for the Balmoor faithful as they notched their first league win under the stewardship of Jim McInally to lift themselves off the bottom of Division Three, and record a first home league win since January.

Rory McAllister found the net from the penalty spot deep into first half injury-time to give McInally’s men the lead but, despite turning the screw on their visitors, a killer second goal never came.

That meant a nervy final ten minutes, but The Blue Toon held on to record a much-needed victory.

McInally had stuck by the same starting eleven that had lost out, somewhat harshly, to Stranraer at the weekend meaning Martin Bavidge again had to be content with a seat on the bench with Bryan Deasley partnering McAllister in attack.

It was Peterhead goalkeeper Raymond Jellema who was called into action first, repositioning himself to save from Darren Gribben’s attempted lob after the striker had spotted the keeper off his line.

The former Alloa custodian was at full stretch to turn Steven Notman’s header round the post, before Jamie Redman saw his header at the other end held by Berwick’s Jamie Barclay following Davie Donald’s long throw.

Deasley’s set pieces caused a number of problems for the visitors’ defence, and from one such delivery Scott Ross really should have done better than to head high and wide.

Another Deasley corner found Ross again, this time at the back post, but his header was cleared off the line by Lee Currie.

The Borderers weren’t out of this yet though, and there was a massive let-off for the home side when a mix-up between Donald and Ross allowed Stuart Noble to latch onto Andy McLean’s pass out of defence.

He squared unselfishly to strike partner Gribben, but the hitman somehow struck wide of the target with just Jellema to beat.

There was another escape for the Blue Toon when Berwick substitute Michael Deland, on for the injured Elliot Smith, picked up another McLean pass and seemed to be bundled over by Donald, but referee George Salmond was unmoved by the claim.

But Salmond’s penalty decision at the other end would give Peterhead a half-time lead. Redman pounced on the rebound after Deasley’s shot was saved by Barclay, but was sent flying by McLean’s strong challenge.

Despite the defender’s claim contact was made outside the box, Salmond pointed to the spot and McAllister confidently despatched.

The goal gave Peterhead the freedom to push forward after the interval, and McAllister came close to notching a second when he curled a left-footed effort narrowly past the post after 55 minutes.

Dave Ross saw a header saved from a Graeme Sharp cross soon after, and Sharp himself saw Barclay beat an effort away after a fine run from midfield.

Peterhead continued to press forward, and only the timely intervention of McLean took the ball away from McAllister following Donald’s cross from the right, the goal gaping in front of the former Brechin striker.

Ross was again denied by the goalkeeper when he struck left-footed after another Redman header had been blocked, with the ball prodded away from substitute Bavidge.

The nerves began to grow as time wore on, but the outcome should really have been put beyond doubt when Deasley got to the bye-line and crossed from the left. Barclay could only push the ball as far as Lewis Davidson.

He pulled back for Redman, but Currie threw himself in front of the midfielder’s strike and deflected away for a corner.

Berwick had a couple of chances to level in the last ten minutes, but Kevin McDonald spurned the best of them, his 15-yard effort taking a deflection on its way over the bar.

The win was just Peterhead’s second in what has been a difficult return to Division Three, but they now have the opportunity to build on the victory with home games against Montrose on Boxing Day and Elgin on January 2nd.

PETERHEAD: Raymond Jellema, Davie Donald (Lewis Davidson, 86), Roy McBain, Scott Ross, Callum Macdonald, Ryan Strachan, Dave Ross, Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Dennis Wyness, 82), Bryan Deasley, Graeme Sharp (Martin Bavidge, 61). Subs not used: Shaun Robertson, Paul Jarvie (gk).

BERWICK RANGERS: Jamie Barclay, Elliot Smith (Michael Deland, 15), Steven Thomson, Chris Townsley, Andy McLean, Lee Currie, Steven Notman, David Greenhill (Fraser McLaren, 70), Darren Gribben (Damon Gray, 70), Stuart Noble, Kevin McDonald. Subs not used: Aaron Ponton, Connor Wood.

Attendance: 483