Peterhead travelled south of the capital on Saturday as they faced Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in League 2.
Heading into the match, 10 points and three places in League 2 separated the two sides and after having a week off last week due to unplayable conditions at Balmoor, The Blue Toon welcomed the rest and were ready for the challenge at New Dundas Park.
STARTING XI: McKenzie, Wilson, R. Strachan, Ross (C), Goldie, D. Strachan, McKee, McCarthy, Jack Brown, Shanks, McAllister.
Familiar unpleasant weather conditions played a key part in the outcome of Saturday’s match, however the return of both Ryan Strachan and Andy McCarthy to the starting lineup was a more pleasant sight. With the rain teeming down at New Dundas Park, the pitch condition was playable however far from pristine.
It was Jack Brown who got the ball rolling as Peterhead searched for the all important three points. The first chance of the match came from Ryan Strachan, who’s low driven free kick from 25 yards fell to Shanks in the Bonnyrigg penalty area, however he was unable to get the ball out of his feet and get a shot away. After a half clearance from the Bonnyrigg defence, a long ball upfield from Scott Ross was dealt with effectively by Paddy Martin in the Bonnyrigg goalmouth. Bonnyrigg’s first real chance of the match came shortly after when despite an onrushing Stuart McKenzie, forward Dean Watson was first to the ball however his headed effort was off target. With the ball moving slower due to the conditions underfoot, McKee opted for a high ball forward to McAllister who linked up well with Shanks. Cutting inside on his favoured right foot, McAllister’s curling effort was narrowly wide. After 22 minutes played, a towering header from Kerr Young from a corner was enough to beat McKenzie and break the deadlock as the Bonnyrigg defender guided the ball into the bottom corner. With The Blue Toon trailing 1-0, an opportunity to equalise through a penalty arose after a handball was spotted inside the Bonnyrigg Rose box. Shanks stepped up to the penalty spot however the outstretched arm of Paddy Martin reacted to Shanks’ attempt and a strong hand was enough to keep the home side in front. With an unsuccessful attempt from the penalty spot from Shanks, McKee was the next Peterhead player to try his luck from a set piece in the form of a free kick from 20 yards. Familiar territory for the midfielder and has seen success from similar areas, McKee narrowly curled his effort over the bar. With Peterhead mounting pressure on the Bonnyrigg defence, a change of free kick taker in Rory McAllister saw his attempt from 30 yards fired straight into the wall. As the Bonnyrigg defence scrambled to clear their lines and keep The Blue Toon at bay, a series of crosses into the box were effectively dealt with by the home side and Peterhead were unable to capitalise on an attacking spell of possession.
HT: Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic 1 – 0 Peterhead.
It was the home side who took centre stage as the match resumed after the interval; and immediately find themselves on the attack and have a corner at the expense of The Blue Toon. Dealt with well by Peterhead, the visitors look to mark their authority by making the first change of the match and introduce Hamish Ritchie who replaces David Wilson. As both sides enjoy positive spells of possession, minimal goal scoring opportunities are presented during the opening period of the 2nd half. After 60 minutes, Peterhead found themselves with a free kick 30 yards out; similar territory to McAllister’s free kick effort in the first half. As McKee returned to free kick duties, his shot flew past Martin and into the top left corner. With The Blue Toon now level thanks to yet again another exquisite McKee set piece, Peterhead didn’t seem to be satisfied with being on level terms and immediately pushed to go in front; however Ritchie’s effort flashed across the Bonnyrigg goal. As Peterhead enjoyed more of the ball and aimed to go in front, another attacking change after 66 minutes saw Jack Brown make way for Conor O’Keefe as he looked to make his mark on the fixture. Mid-way through the 2nd half, Bonnyrigg Rose came into their own and began to control the match as they enjoyed more possession and began to trouble the Peterhead defence. After a series of corners for the home side which were all dealt with well by Peterhead, a first Bonnyrigg change welcomed forward Smart Osadolor onto the pitch in place of Liam Buchanan in a like-for-like switch. After positive build up play from Peterhead, a long through ball through the centre of the pitch from Scott Ross found Rory McAllister however the striker was unable to get his shot on target as Paddy Martin closed it down. A 2nd change for the home side saw midfielder Johnny Stewart being replaced by Bradley Barrett. After a foul from Danny Strachan in a wide area outside the Peterhead penalty box, Lee Curry stood over the free kick as Danny Strachan received a yellow card. Currie’s ball into the box was first met by the head of Martynuik then volleyed goal-wards by Callum Connolly; but his effort was saved well by McKenzie. Connolly then looked to create as opposed to scoring, as his long ball forward was met by an outstretched Osadolor however the angle was too tight to trouble McKenzie. As Bonnyrigg pushed to break the deadlock, a long throw into the Peterhead box fell to Kerr Young who found Conor Doan, but his low shot was extremely well saved by McKenzie from close range. Following a string of corners from the home side, a goal-line block from Ryan Strachan and the woodwork denied Callum Connolly keeping the scoreline level. Into the final minute of regular time, McKee found himself standing over another free kick in the same spot as he scored from 30 minutes prior. This time McKee’s effort soared over the Bonnyrigg crossbar. Bonnyrigg respond by making their final substitution of the afternoon as Taylor Sutherland replaced man-of-the-match Dean Watson. Into stoppage time, penalty claims rang round New Dundas Park as McAllister was brought down in the Bonnyrigg box, meanwhile Bonnyrigg claimed for a free kick after McAllister appeared to hold back the defender as he got in front to go 1-on-1 with Paddy Martin. All protests were waved away by the referee who awarded Bonnyrigg the free kick.
FT: Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic 1 – 1 Peterhead.
MOTM: Dean Watson.
The match ended level at New Dundas Park and both teams were made to share the points in what was a well-contested match. With both sides enjoying possession on a difficult surface, it was McKee who came up clutch for Peterhead as his brilliant free kick sealed a point for The Blue Toon on the road.