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Peter Pawlett nets first career hat-trick in Peterhead win; Rumarn Burrell injured in Cove Rangers victory

Cove Rangers and Peterhead chalked up wins but Elgin City went down 2-0 at East Fife.

Peterhead's Peter Pawlett celebrates his second goal against Clyde. Image: Duncan Brown.
Peterhead's Peter Pawlett celebrates his second goal against Clyde. Image: Duncan Brown.

Peter Pawlett notched his first career hat-trick in Peterhead’s 4-1 win over Clyde to nudge the Blue Toon closer to the promotion play-offs but the midfielder claimed there is still room for improvement in his own performances.

Pawlett netted two first-half penalties to tighten the Balmoor men’s grip on second spot in League Two and he completed his treble early in the second period.

Joe McKee rounded off the scoring in stoppage time after bottom of the table Bully Wee had pulled a goal back.

Although Pawlett stole the show in the win, the former Aberdeen player was not too enamoured with his own display.

Pawlett said: “I don’t think I played great. I scored three goals but I thought my overall performance was pretty average.

“I thought last week against Stenhousemuir I played really well. It was the best I have played for Peterhead and in the first half against East Fife, I thought I was getting to my levels as well.

“But goals breed confidence and you have that swagger on the pitch when you are scoring goals so it is nice to have that feeling back.

“Hopefully my performances can stay at a decent level until the end of the season.”

Peterhead’s Peter Pawlett runs to celebrate his hat-trick. Image: Duncan Brown. 

Pawlett continued: “It is the first hat-trick in my career so I am delighted but the main thing is the three points for the team and getting closer to securing that play-off spot.

“Clyde are down there fighting in the relegation zone and they made it difficult for us but we played some good stuff.”

Two first-half penalties had the Blue Toon firmly in command, Pawlett converting from the spot in the 11th minute after he was fouled in the area by Craig Howie.

After Hamish Ritchie was upended in the 25th minute, Pawlett made no mistake again despite the best efforts of Brian Kinnear, who got a hand to the ball.

Pawlett completed his hat-trick seven minutes into the second half, slotting into the net after interval substitute Rory McAllister knocked down Flynn Duffy’s corner into his path.

Peter Pawlett nets from the penalty spot against Clyde. Image: Duncan Brown. 

Robbie Leitch offered Clyde a glimmer of hope by pulling one back in the 61st minute but the Blue Toon were still in control and after the Bully Wee’s Jaze Kabia was ordered off for picking up a second yellow card, McKee completed the scoring in the final minute to seal an emphatic home victory.

Peterhead co-manager Ryan Strachan was delighted with the team performance and reserved special praise for Pawlett’s contribution.

Strachan said: “I thought in the first half we were excellent and in the second half we did not get out of second gear but be careful what you wish for because we have won 4-1.

“It was pleasing that Peter got his hat-trick but his performances lately have been really good and that is what we are happy about.

“His quality is second to none at this level.”

Cove Rangers 4-2 Stirling Albion

Cove Rangers kept themselves very much in the mix for a place in the promotion play-off spots in League One thanks to a 4-2 success over Stirling Albion in an entertaining encounter at Balmoral Stadium.

The visitors struck first through an 18th minute Kieran Offord strike but the advantage lasted only five minutes when Mark Reynolds’ cross was brilliantly taken down by Rumarn Burrell before firing past Blair Currie for his 23rd goal of the season.

Unfortunately the leading scorer was forced off not long afterwards, with what looked like an ankle injury, following a tackle from Albion skipper Paul McLean.

Cove Rangers top scorer Rumarn Burrell suffered an ankle injury in the win against Stirling Albion.  Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

With ten minutes of the first half remaining, the home side took the lead when Connor Scully’s corner was headed into his own net by Jordan McGregor under pressure from Josh Kerr and ten minutes after the restart, Mouhamed Niang, on as a substitute for Burrell, shot home from the edge of the area after the visitors failed to clear their lines.

Two minutes later Albion pulled one back, Cameron Clark shooting from distance after taking a pass from the impressive Offord and, from then on, the match became very open and stretched.

The Cove players celebrate after scoring to go 2-1 up against Stirling Albion after an own goal by Jordan McGregor.<br />Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

However, in stoppage time, with Albion throwing men forward to get the equaliser, a long clearance found Kyle Connell in a race for the ball with McGregor, who reached it first but overhit his passback to Currie and, although the keeper got a touch, he couldn’t prevent it from trundling into the net to seal the points for the home side.

“It was good,” reflected home manager Paul Hartley.

“We had a setback going a goal down but I thought the reaction was good.

“We played some good football, especially in the first half but it’s about trying to get a result at this stage of the season.

“Every game is going to be difficult, our numbers are really low with injuries and it’s about trying to get the players right now for the next five games and trying to get players fit which is going to be quite difficult with the size of squad.

“I was disappointed with the goals we conceded, especially the second one, when we didn’t press enough and their first when we let them inside the pitch but overall we played some good stuff.

“You go 3-1 up and maybe relax a wee bit but then they get the goal and it’s a wee bit nervy after that.

“There were some situations in our box that we’ve got to do better with and then we get the fourth and that calms everybody down a little bit.”

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Man of the match Mark Reynolds admitted it was a great match for any neutral watching.

He said: “It was end to end stuff, I think we’re starting to see it’s getting towards the end of the season, we’ve taken another few knocks there and we’re down to the bare bones but it was a good performance.

“I thought we played well – the best we’ve played for a few weeks – we took our chances, we were fortunate with a couple of the goals but we kept the pressure up and showed good character after going a goal down.

“As far as the assist is concerned, it’s happened a few times with me and Rumarn when he kind of peels off and finds that space at the back stick and I managed to get it to him and it’s a great touch and finish from him.”

East Fife 2-0 Elgin City

Elgin assistant boss Stefan Laird conceded that hopes of a late sprint towards the promotion play-offs are all but over after this defeat.

Goals in either half from Alan Trouten and James Lyon maintained East Fife’s unbeaten run under Dick Campbell, and Laird had few complaints about the outcome at New Bayview, though the performance of his side drew criticism.

Laird said: “It was poor from us today – East Fife thoroughly deserved their victory.

“We aren’t going to play well every week but when we don’t play well, we’ve got to present a physical challenge and I don’t think we did that today.

“I think first half we created four or five chances where we need to score one of them.

“We probably had the better of the chances in the first half but over the course of the 90 minutes there could be no dispute East Fife deserved the three points.

“I thought they were hungrier, they were physical and they didn’t try to overplay. They kept it simple, they worked hard and we didn’t match it.”

Elgin were on the back foot early on as Jack Healy cut onto his left foot and tested Thomas McHale with a shot that the keeper saved at the near post.

McHale was beaten soon after by Scott Shepherd’s free-kick only for the crossbar to come to Elgin’s rescue.

The home side finally got their goal after a great cross from Healy found Trouten who guided his header past the goalkeeper.

Trouten looked certain to get his second soon after, but Jake Dolzanski made an incredible block to deny the home side a two-goal lead.

Elgin went straight up the other end and nearly equalised as Robert Jones played in Michael Dangana who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he put his effort wide.

As the visitors grew into the game, they came closer to getting an equaliser as Russell Dingwall played the ball into Mark Gallagher who fired the ball goalwards, only for home keeper Allan Fleming to deny him.

From the resulting corner the ball fell to Keith Bray at the edge of the box, but his audacious volley went narrowly wide.

After a quiet start to the second half East Fife nearly doubled their lead as Shepherd squared the ball to Trouten but he couldn’t force it past the goalkeeper.

McHale came to Elgin’s recuse again with a fine save to deny Healy but the Fifers were not to be denied and on 76 minutes they got their second when McHale could only parry Ryan Schiavone’s effort into the path of Healy whose back-post cross gave Lyon a simple finish.

Defeat leaves Elgin 13 points behind fourth place, and Laird added: “A couple weeks ago I said the play-offs were a definite possibility. I think that result today makes it not impossible but very, very unlikely.

“You’re going to play badly – that’s just part and parcel – but we’ve got to give ourselves a chance of getting something when we are playing poorly.”