Peterhead cut the gap on League 2 leaders Montrose to a point with an emphatic 7-0 win against Elgin City at Balmoor yesterday.
A first-half free kick from Rory McAllister – his 14th league goal of the season – put the Blue Toon in front and Jordon Brown doubled their lead in the second half, before Nicky Riley, a Jamie Stevenson double, Mason Robertson and Russell McLean made sure of the points.
It is 13 goals in four days for Jim McInally’s second-placed side and the gap is down to just a point following Montrose’s 1-1 draw with Cowdenbeath.
Peterhead made one change from the 6-2 win against Montrose on Saturday, with Alan Smith dropping to the bench and Simon Ferry handed a start. Elgin made three changes from their 4-1 loss to Stenhousemuir on December 23, with Marc Waters, Stephen Bronsky and Ali Sutherland replaced by trialist goalkeeper Iain Ross – most recently with juniors Broughty Athletic – Darryl McHardy and Scott Smith.
The visitors, who would have moved back into play-off contention with a win, started the brightest and after a couple of headed chances, had the first meaningful effort of the game through McHardy.
The centre half drove forward on to a loose ball and drilled a left-footed effort goalwards, which Peterhead stopper Greg Fleming got comfortably behind.
Ross, starting in place of Waters after Elgin shipped seven goals in their last two games, had little to do before picking the ball out of his net on 27 minutes.
A free kick 20 yards from goal looked to have Willie Gibson’s name on it, given his goal against Montrose, but McAllister struck it instead and curled it low around the wall, beating Ross inside his near post.
Gavin Price’s men had lost their last six games with Peterhead and, apart from McHardy’s chance, were struggling to get attempts on Fleming’s goal. It was the hosts who looked the more threatening and Jack Leitch went close twice before the break – firing just wide from the edge of the box and coming inches away from glancing Aidan McIlduff’s cross at goal.
Peterhead cemented their advantage nine minutes into the second half. David McCracken’s superb through ball found McAllister and, despite Ross being out quick to block, the rebound broke to Brown to slam home.
The horrendous conditions at Balmoor did little to help the players and Ross, in particular, was struggling to get distance on his clearances in the high wind. He limped out of the game just after the hour mark after injuring himself kicking clear, with Waters now back in the side. Waters had a busy first few minutes, pulling off a great double save to keep out Gibson and Riley but the two Peterhead players linked up from the following corner to put the home side three clear.
Gibson rolled a corner to the edge of the box and Riley met it first time, dispatching it into the top corner.
Elgin’s misery was compounded with 20 minutes to go with a howler from Waters, who misjudged a through ball and spilled it into McAllister’s path. His shot came back off the post and Stevenson tapped in.
Stevenson inflicted further punishment on the visitors by sending a wonderful looping shot over Waters that rebounded off the crossbar before going in.
The goal glut was not done and on 84 minutes Robertson made it six, bundling home after Elgin failed to clear Gibson’s free kick, and McLean completed the rout with a header.
PETERHEAD – Fleming, Jason Brown, Robertson, McCracken, McIlduff, Gibson, Ferry, Stevenson, Leitch (Scott Brown, 70), Jordon Brown (Riley 63), McAllister (McLean 73).
ELGIN CITY – Ross (Waters 62), Cooper, McHardy, Eadie, Allan, Reilly, McGovern, Smith, Cameron, Anderson (Elbouzedi 45), McLeish (Sutherland 73).
Referee – C. Charleston.