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Peterhead 1 Queen’s Park 0

Sun 26 Jan 2014

A goal from man of the match Scott Ross ten minutes from half-time proved to be decisive as the Blue Toon maintained their 5-point gap at the top of the table thanks to a hard-fought  win over Queen’s Park at Balmoor.

In a game that Jim McInally would admit wasn’t even as good as “ugly”, Ross’ header from a Graeme Sharp corner proved decisive.
The Blue Toon were unchanged from the 3-2 win over Montrose at Links Park last week, and were first to threaten in a game that saw chances at a premium.

Ross played a long ball out of defence, finding Rory McAllister who created an opening for himself, but saw his 25-yard comfortably held by Spiders goalkeeper Lucas Birnstingl.

The goalkeeper was left helpless when Ross escaped the attentions of marker Tony Quinn from Sharp’s left-wing corner after 35 minutes, and from well inside the six-yard box, he headed into the net.

Scott Ross finds the net

The visitors were sparked into action by the goal, and twice threatened in the space of sixty seconds.

Midfield playmaker Blair Spittal found space warm the gloves of Graeme Smith with a left-footed shot from distance, before a minute later slipping a neat pass through to Thomas Collins who forced the goalkeeper to push his effort over the crossbar.

But the Blue Toon could have been further ahead before the interval, and Andy Rodgers cross found the head of League Two’s top scorer, McAllister, but on this occasion the ex-Brechin City man nodded wide of the target.

Defences were on top for the most part but Ross again found space from a set piece, this time a Ryan Strachan free-kick, to head over the bar shortly after the restart.

And Strachan had to be alert to cut out Shaun Rooney’s cross from the right a few minutes later, the Spiders winger racing away from Conner McGlinchey before crossing from the bye-line.

At the other end, McGlinchey set an attack in motion that saw McAllister take a neat touch through the legs of Paul Gallagher before sending a ball across the box for Sharp, only for Ross Fisher to block.

There was a moment of panic with 13 minutes remaining as Smith failed to hold a Spittal corner, giving Quinn the chance to shoot. His effort came back off the goalkeeper, and Strachan hacked Joao Vitoria’s header off the line.

There were late chances for Peterhead to extend their lead, with Fisher clearing away a McAllister header, and then Dean Cowie firing wide of the target, but they had to settle for the single-goal win, and a valuable three points as they maintain their lead at the top of the table.

PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith, Graeme Sharp, Steven Noble, Conner McGlinchey (Ryan McCann, 62), Scott Ross, Dean Cowie, Andy Rodgers (Fraser McLaren, 62), Jamie Redman (Jordon Brown, 76), Rory McAllister, Bryan Gilfillan, Ryan Strachan. Subs not used: Kevin Buchan, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cowie.

QUEEN’S PARK: Lucas Birnstingl, Ross Fisher, Bernard Coll, Scott Gibson, Paul Gallagher, Conor McVey (Sean Burns, 89), Blair Spittal, David Anderson, Thomas Collins (Joao Pereira Vitoria, 68), Tony Quinn (Liam Gormley, 78), Shaun Rooney. Subs not used Gavin Mitchell, James Baty, Grant Mosson Blair Lochhead.

Booked: Gallagher.

Attendance: 542