Montrose 1 Peterhead 1
Montrose and Peterhead were inseparable in the first leg of their play-off semi-final, leaving the tie wide open ahead of the second leg.
The visitors opened the scoring after just 10 minutes when RYAN STRACHAN lashed a first-time shot in off Allan Fleming’s post from 40 yards out.
But their lead lasted only four minutes, CHRIS TEMPLEMAN controlling the ball in the box, taking it around his marker and slotting into the bottom corner.
Identified as the most likely danger man, Rory McAllister came close early on, hitting a 30-yard free kick over the bar in the seventh minute.
At the other end, Graham Webster had a shot from inside the box blocked and a Matty Allan header from a free kick was cleared off Graeme Smith’s goal line.
Grant Anderson could have put Peterhead back in front in the 18th minute when he controlled the ball on the edge of the box, but his low shot flew across goal and out for a goal kick.
Peterhead had the ball in the Montrose net in the 32nd minute when Jordon Brown turned the ball into the net after McAllister’s free kick was blocked, but the forward was adjudged to be offside.
The first half ended with a tremendous save from visiting goalkeeper Smith. Chris Templeman knocked the ball down for Webster, who caught the ball perfectly on the half volley, only to see his shot tipped wide of the post.
Montrose were on the offensive from the start of the second half, determined to take a lead to Balmoor for the second leg. A free kick was played into Fraser, but the forward’s low shot was tipped wide.
The home side should have taken the lead in the 58th minute when Matty Smith burst into the box. As he shaped to shoot, Fraser stole the ball from his feet, but his low shot was blocked.
Jamie Stevenson shot over the crossbar from 30 yards out in the 62nd minute, while Montrose again came close when Paul Watson’s near post header from Liam Callaghan’s corner was cleared off the line.
That proved to be a theme for the home side, Matty Smith’s back-heeled shot cleared off the line with 12 minutes remaining.
McAllister’s low shot was well held by Fleming at the near post in the 79th minute, and Templeman couldn’t hit the target after flicking the ball over his marker.
Former Montrose player Leighton McIntosh came close to consigning his former club to defeat when he headed wide in the 86th minute.
The final chance of the match fell to McAllister, who robbed Matty Allan outside the box but had his shot well saved by Fleming.