Peterhead 1 East Fife 0 – Fine strike wins the day

Apr 24, 2022

Peterhead picked up their fourth win in five games with a 1-0 home success over East Fife thanks to a goal from Jack Brown that was one of the best seen at Balmoor in many a season.

Brown was returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Ryan Duncan with Owen Cairns coming in to replace the suspended Jason Brown.

Manager Jim McInally went for a 3-5-2 formation with Simon Ferry, playing in his last match in the north-east, slotting in beside Andy McDonald and Shaun Want at the heart of the Blue Toon defence with Cairns playing in the right wing back role and Rico Quitongo on the left.

The hosts took the game to their already relegated opponents in the opening stages and forced three corners in the first eight minutes.

From the third one it looked like they were going to take the lead when Grant Savoury whipped over a terrific dead-ball however the Fifers’ defender Aaron Steel was able to get a vital header in and clear from under the bar.

Jack Brown had a looping effort saved by Jude Smith before a goal arrived on 11 minutes and everyone in the 676 crowd would agree that it was worth the admission money alone.

Niah Payne exchanged passes with Jack on the left before finding Scott Brown darting into the East Fife box with the Peterhead skipper backheeling a pass to Jack Brown who drilled home first time from 18 yards out.

With confidence flowing Quitongo fed the ball to McDonald, who was 25 yards from goal, and the defender let fly with his effort flashing across Smith’s goal before going wide.

East Fife began to force themselves into the game and an equaliser could have come on 21 minutes when Kyle Connell scampered down the left and picked out the in-rushing Jamie Semple however the striker side-footed wide.

Five minutes later Peterhead goalkeeper Brett Long reminded his former employers of his ability when he dived to his left to push away a Scott Mercer header from a Danny Denholm cross.

On 27 minutes Andrew McCarthy had to be replaced by Ryan Duncan after aggravating a hamstring problem with Jack Brown dropping back into midfield and the on-loan Aberdeen teenager playing in a striking role.

Peterhead moved back into attack and Savoury created space for himself before firing over and then Payne picked out Cairns with a cut-back only for Smith to block his shot with his legs.

Want produced a timely tackle on Jack Healy after Peterhead had lost possession at the edge of their box and in first half injury time Long produced another fine stop when he kept out a driven close-range effort from Healy.

Just before the half-time whistle Savoury and Scott Brown however his 20 yarder went over the bar.

Early into the restart Danny Swanson released Michael Cunningham but Long had read the danger and raced from his line to block the substitute’s effort.

On 63 minutes Payne looked set to grab the goal that his work-rate deserved when he picked up a pass from Duncan and bore down on goal. The one-time Bradford City youth took aim and fired in a shot that just drifted wide.

Ferry was replaced midway through the second half by Hamish Ritchie with the home crowd giving the player/ coach a fine send off ahead of his final game for the club at Airdrie next weekend.

Efforts from Savoury and Scott Brown went wide before East Fife threatened again with a long-distance dipping shot from Kieran Millar that Long leapt into the air to save.

On 76 minutes it looked like a leveller had arrived when Swanson picked out Ryan Blair on the left and his far post cross was perfect for Cunningham however his volley from two yards was scooped up by Long.

Six minutes from time Scott Brown unleashed a fierce effort that Smith did well to beat away.

Home substitutes Ritchie, Ryan Conroy and Derek Lyle combined in injury time and came within a couple of inches of adding a second. Conroy darted down the left to pick up Ritchie’s pass and his cross was met by the head of Lyle who nodded over Smith but the bar came to East Fife’s rescue.

Peterhead – Long, Cairns, Want, Ferry (Ritchie 69), McDonald, Quitongo (Conroy 78), Scott Brown, McCarthy (Duncan 27), Savoury, Jack Brown (Fraser 69), Payne (Lyle 79)

Unused substitutes – Wilson (G/k), Cook, Jordon Brown, Duffy