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Peterhead 2 Annan Athletic 0

Tue 02 Apr 2013

If consistency of selection and performance is the holy grail of part time teams in the third division, it was so close to being achieved at Balmoor on Saturday, an injury in training deprived Jim McInally from naming an unchanged side for the third match running, with Ryan Strachan getting the nod to start, with Greg Alexander joining on the bench.

It was a still unseasonably cold at Balmoor, but Peterhead opened brightly with Jamie Redman winning the ball from a Graeme Smith clearance, his pass found Rory McAllister in space in the centre of the park, he in turn fed Ryan Strachan out on the left, where he jinked his way past his marker but fired his shot wide of the post. The game got scrappy for a while and that suited birthday boy Dean Cowie who stole the ball off the Annan defence as they struggled to clear, he slipped the ball to McAllister and as the centre half closed him down to squared the ball to David Cox, who seemed certain to score, however the Galabankies keeper Alex Mitchell parried the ball straight to Rory McAllister, but the Blue Toon top scorer found the post with his effort.

Peterhead were dominating the game now and looked to have gone in front, as Rory McAllister broke down the left leaving the Annan defence trailing, his powerful shot seemed to be spilled by goalkeeper Alex Mitchell and Jamie Redman had made good ground to tap in from close range, Referee Dallas however denied the goal saying Redman had caught the keeper.

Annan were then stung into a reaction with Graeme Smith forced to make stops from an in swinging corner and then a long range drive from David Hopkirk. It looked to be one of those days for Peterhead when a ball up the line from Graeme Sharp was nodded on by David Cox, into the path of McAllister, who drove into the box, only to be tumbled, the ball broke to Dean Cowie who stroked the ball past the keeper only to see his effort cleared off the line.

The second half started with a change for Peterhead, Dean Cowie suffered a knock to his knee and Martin Bavidge came on, Peterhead kept the pressure on Annan and long range efforts from first Ryan Strachan and McAllister were well saved by Mitchell. Martin Bavidge had the best chance to open the scoring on 66 minutes after great link up play with McAllister saw him play the ball out wide and the return cross from Rory saw his glancing header go wide with the keeper beaten.

Peterhead finally made the breakthrough 4 minutes later after a long clearance from Smith was headed on by Bavidge to Rory McAllister, who’s first touch took him past the defender and race around the stranded Annan keeper to slot the ball home for the striker’s fifteenth league goal of the season.

Peterhead were now on top and the forward line of Bavidge, Cox and McAllister were linking well together, all three contributed to Peterhead’s next chance on 75 minutes, some neat one twos split the Annan defence and David Cox powered past into the box, sidestepping the keeper to get onto his favoured foot but Mitchell clawed the ball from his toes. A one nil lead is always perilous and Blue Toon hearts were fluttering on 84 minutes when Swinglehurst beat everyone in the box to meet a in swinging corner, Graeme Smith forced to pull off a great save at his back post.

The points were wrapped up in the ninetieth minute though as a poor clearance from Mitchell was won in midfield by Redman, his freed up Sharp on the right, who raced away from the Annan defence, his fierce shot was parried out to a grateful Rory McAllister to slot home his and the Toon’s second of the day.

Boss McInally revealed: “I said to the players at half- time not to go chasing the game and do anything silly. It’s easy to get desperate but I told them if they kept at it we could win the game. To be fair, I felt Martin Bavidge made a big difference when he came on. Rory is in great form just now and the team is playing with confidence. Hopefully that can continue.”