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Elgin City 2 Peterhead 0

Sun 16 Sep 2012

McAllister attempts a bicyle kick McAllister attempts a bicyle kick

A remarkable second half saw Peterhead reduced to eight men as ex-Blue Toon winger Daniel Moore netted two second-half penalties to hoist themselves to top spot in Division Three, albeit level on points with the Blue Toon and Clyde.

The home side had been rocked by a midweek car accident that left six players requiring hospital treatment, one critically injured. Manager Ross Jack was able to re-focus his players on football for this derby played in front of a near-1000 strong crowd.

Peterhead had boasted an unbeaten league record and had been rewarded during the week as manager Jim McInally picked up the Irn Bru Phenomenal Manager of the Month award for August.

Macdonald becomes the first of three players sent off

He made one change from the win over Montrose before the international break, Martin Bavidge making his first league start of the season in place of Robbie Winters. Marc McCallum retained his place in goal.

The game started slowly, Elgin having changed their shape to match Peterhead’s 3-5-2, and the two sides cancelled each other out in the opening stages.

It was ten minutes in before Rory McAllister registered the first attempt on goal with a speculative bicycle kick which drifted wide of the target, following a Bavidge knockdown.

McAllister was involved again when he created space on the right and sent a low cross to the near post, only for the on-rushing Scott McLaughlin to be denied by a timely challenge.

Elgin were starting to come into the game but Peterhead’s stout defence was preventing them any clear shots at goal. Indeed, a fine challenge from Callum Macdonald denied Stuart Leslie a shot from the edge of the area midway through the first half.

Peterhead promptly launched a sustained assault on the home goal, forcing a series of corners before McAllister snatched at a left-foot volley, failing to trouble goalkeeper John Calder.

The former Brechin City striker was again on the goal hunt as he hit wide after Steven Noble’s pass with 12 minutes of the first half remaining.

McCallum was called into action for the first time after Macdonald’s foul allowed Craig Gunn to line up at 30-yard free-kick. The former Blue Toon striker fired a low shot towards goal, but the on-loan Dundee United goalkeeper got down to his left to turn the strike round the post.

But the first half finished with another half-chance for Peterhead. Dean Cowie stepped on to the ball after good buildup between Graeme Sharp and McAllister, but could only curl the ball over the top.

The second half, though, would be an entirely different proposition. The first blow came when Sharp was forced off through injury soon after the break, to be replaced by Ross Smith.

There was a warning that Elgin would improve going forward came when Dennis Wyness, the third of the home side’s ex-Peterhead men, got in behind the visiting defence, only to slice wide of the target.

And it all started to go wrong after 58 minutes. Leslie got in behind the Blue Toon defence and was upended by Macdonald. Referee Gavin Ross deemed it to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Macdonald was sent off.

Moore stepped up to take but paused during his run-up, earning a booking for unsporting conduct. He made no mistake with the re-take, though, sending McCallum the wrong way and opening the scoring.

Eight minutes later, the home side were two-up. Smith was the culprit this time, bundling over Wyness in the area, and Moore this time sent the ball to McCallum’s right as the keeper went left.

Worse was to follow. Noble, booked earlier for a foul, embarked on a trademark run down the left, brought to an end by Jamie Duff’s foul. It all seemed simple enough until referee Ross deemed Noble had dived. The full-back had already been booked for a foul, and was subsequently shown a second yellow card, leaving Peterhead with just nine men.

Stephen Maguire had replaced Bavidge after the first red card and, in need of defensive cover, McAllister was sacrificed for Roy McBain following the second.

But it was a struggle for Peterhead to do much more than soak up the Elgin pressure by now, although the home side were limited to Gunn’s snap-shot after 84 minutes.

A miserable afternoon was compounded in the final minute when Scott Ross, already booked for a clash with Gunn, lashed out at Leslie, and was shown a straight red card, meaning Peterhead will be without three suspended defenders, and perhaps without the injured Sharp, for the trip to Annan next Saturday.

First, though, there’s the matter of the Martin Bavidge testimonial on Tuesday night, and it will be interesting to see whether that provides any clue as to the shape of next Saturday’s team.

ELGIN CITY: John Calder, David Niven, Stuart Leslie, Sean Crighton, Jamie Duff, Brian Cameron, Craig Gunn, Ross O’Donoghue (Paul McMullan, 84), Dennis Wyness (Paul Harkins, 75), Mark Nicholson, Daniel Moore. Subs not used: Paul Miller, Fraser Forbes, Stuart Black (gk).

Booked: Gunn, Moore, Duff.

PETERHEAD: Marc McCallum, Graeme Sharp (Ross Smith, 51), Steven Noble, Scott Ross, Callum Macdonald, Dean Cowie, Ryan Strachan, Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister (Roy McBain, 71), Martin Bavidge (Stephen Maguire, 61), Scott McLaughlin. Subs not used: Robbie Winters, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Ross, Noble, Smith, Strachan, McAllister.

Sent off: Macdonald, Noble, Ross.

Attendance: 945.