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Queen’s Park 2-1 Peterhead: Blue Toon pay the price for slow starts

Peterhead manager Jim McInally.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally

Losing goals within a minute of the start of each half hurt Peterhead as they went down 2-1 against Queen’s Park at Firhill.

Balmoor manager Jim McInally named an unchanged line-up with Gary Fraser making his return after 15 months out following a knee injury on the bench but the visitors got off to the worst possible start.

Connor Smith took advantage of Scott Brown going down injured to thread a pass through to Bob McHugh 20 yards out and the striker took the ball past advancing shot-stopper Brett Long and slotted home with just 49 seconds played.

Queen’s were denied by the woodwork twice on nine minutes when McHugh headed a Louis Longridge cross against the bar and then as Peterhead struggled to clear Liam Brown played in Smith who chipped against the post.

Peterhead’s Gary Fraser was in the squad for the first time in 15 months.

Long stuck out a foot to deny Luca Connell on 16 minutes with Russell McLean almost lobbing Peterhead back into the game a minute later however Calum Ferrie saved.

McInally swapped Owen Cairns for Flynn Duffy shortly afterwards and adopted a 4-4-2 formation and on 31 minutes the Blue Toon carved out a chance when Shaun Want almost flicked in Scott Brown’s powerful drive.

The hosts repeated their fast start of the first half when McHugh rolled a pass along the18 yard line to Jack Thomson who cracked a low shot home.

Peterhead missed a great opportunity just past the hour mark when Grant Savoury robbed Charlie Fox however the midfielder’s cut-back went straight to a home defender.

With 17 minutes left McLean picked out Hamish Ritchie with a cross-field pass with Ferrie doing well to push the Peterhead man’s drive past for a corner.

In the final minute Andy McCarthy wriggled free on the left and his cross was flicked home by McLean from six yards however there was to be no equaliser.

McInally frustrated by early concessions

Blue Toon manager Jim McInally was disappointed with how his side started each half in their 2-1 defeat at Queen’s Park but was pleased with their response to the early setbacks.

Peterhead conceded goals in the opening 60 seconds of each half with McInally saying: “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb at the start of each half.

“We said at half-time that it was still only 1-0 and we were still in the game and that it was important to keep it that way as they would get nervous.

“To lose another goal so quickly was disappointing however the spirit the players showed to get back into things was terrific. We kept on playing despite those set backs and we kept on trying to play football on a shocking pitch.”

McInally admitted that he was left “bewildered” by referee Duncan Williams decision to keep playing after an aerial challenge left his striker Niah Payne concussed with the Balmoor manager saying: “It was a head-knock and there is a cut there as well. He played on to see how a move finished and I was bewildered with that.”

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