Peterhead’s five-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat against Montrose at Links Park.
An early goal from Andrew Steeves and a Blair Lyons strike with 15 minutes remaining were enough for the Gable Endies to take the points.
Montrose were reduced to 10 men deep in injury time when Cammy Ballantyne was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Jason Brown captained the Blue Toon in place of the absent Scott Brown with Danny Strachan drafted into the starting line-up in the only alteration from the side that defeated Dumbarton 3-2.
The hosts made the perfect start when Steeves headed home from a Liam Callaghan corner with only six minutes on the clock.
Jim McInally’s side pushed for an equaliser with Grant Savoury firing wide before Jason Brown struck the post with a header after 21 minutes.
Josh Mulligan tried his luck from outside the area but his effort was saved as the Blue Toon went into the break a goal down.
Peterhead defender Andy McDonald had an early attempt in the opening minute of the second half but couldn’t find the target before Mark Whatley and Graham Webster tried their luck at the other end but couldn’t find the crucial next goal.
The visitors brought on Derek Lyle for his 100th Peterhead appearance with Niah Payne replaced as the Blue Toon went in search of a leveller but instead it was Montrose who doubled their advantage.
Steeves turned provider with Lyons applying the finishing touch for the Links Park men.
Congratulations to Derek Lyle who who made it a century of appearances for the club!
Well done Del 👏 pic.twitter.com/tCpPQf3ydb
— Peterhead FC (@pfcofficial) December 22, 2021
Peterhead had chances to get back in the game with Jason Brown going close with a header from close-range.
Cameron Ballantyne, who was booked during the first half, saw red in the third minute of injury time to end the encounter on a sour note for the home side.
The result leaves Montrose in second spot and only two points adrift of League One leaders Cove Rangers, although Stewart Petrie’s men have played two games more than the pacesetters.
Meanwhile in League Two, Edinburgh City heaped pressure on bottom of the table Cowdenbeath with a 2-1 victory at Central Park.
The result leaves the Blue Brazil seven points adrift of second bottom Elgin City.