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Blue Toon beaten by Montrose at Links Park

Peterhead manager Jim McInally.

Peterhead were defeated 3-2 by Montrose in a pulsating encounter at Links Park.

Graham Webster’s penalty was ultimately the difference between the sides after Ben Armour and former Blue Toon striker Russell McLean both notched braces.

The result leaves the Buchan outfit, who finished with 10 men after Jason Brown’s late red card, with one from their first four League One fixtures.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally made one change to the side that defeated Clyde last weekend with Steven Boyd only fit enough for the bench after injuring a hamstring at Broadwood, with Armour coming in having recovered from a hamstring problem.

The visitors had the first effort after 90 seconds but Scott Brown’s angled shot was well held by Aaron Lennox at the front post.

Montrose almost grabbed the opener on eight minutes when Iain Campbell’s inswinging corner from the right was met by Paul Watson at the back post, but his header bounced back off the woodwork.

But it was the Blue Toon who took the lead three minutes later. Campbell’s poor ball out of defence was intercepted Alan Cook, who played in Scott Brown on the right of the box.

The skipper’s effort was blocked by Lennox, but Armour was on hand to bundle home the rebound from inside the six-yard box.

Montrose could, and perhaps should, have equalised in the 36th minute when former Peterhead striker McLean laid the ball off for Lewis Milne inside the box but Josh Rae stuck out a foot to divert the shot from eight yards over the bar.

But three minutes later the hosts were level. After taking a free-kick shot Chris Mochrie beat Ryan Conroy on the right and his low cross was stabbed home by the sliding McLean at the near post.

Within a minute of the second half of starting the Gable Endies had turned things around by taking the lead.

It was the same combination as the first with Mochrie beating Conroy down the right and although Jason Brown got a touch on the cross it only teed it up for McLean to roll home his second.

Peterhead responded well to adversity and were only trailing for five minutes.

Armour got through a power of work leading the line and when Campbell was woefully short with a back-pass the striker pounced and rounded Lennox before confidently finishing.

Things settled down after that with chances harder to come by again, although Webster and Scott Brown sent efforts narrowly over at either end when well placed.

But with 20 minutes left Montrose hit the front again. Sub Craig Johnston got in behind Kyle Bailey, who clipped his heels, with referee Matthew MacDermid pointing to the penalty spot and Graham Webster duly finishing from 12 yards.

In response Scott Brown’s effort from an acute angle was touched over by Lennox, while at the other Rae made a good stop to deny Johnston.

Peterhead couldn’t conjure up an equaliser in the closing stages and with a minute left Jason Brown was sent off after collecting a second yellow card for catching Webster with a sliding challenge.

Montrose (4-2-3-1) – Lennox, I Campbell, Steeves, Mochrie, Quinn, Cochrane (Callaghan 79), Webster, Watson (R Campbell 79), McLean (Rennie 49), Milne (Johnston 61), Ballantyne.

Subs not used – Hawke, Waddell, Clark, McCormick, Fleming.

Peterhead (4-3-3) – Rae, Freeman, Bailey, J Brown, Conroy (Kesson 78), S Brown, Fraser, McCarthy (Trialist 66), Armour (Lyle 66), Cook, Cameron.

Subs not used – Wilson, Ferry, Boyd, Trialist.

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