1,387 hardy souls brave the elements as Links Park derby survives

editorial image

The New Year got off to a disappointing start for Montrose FC as they lost the first derby of the New Year to Arbroath at Links Park Stadium.

However, this was a match where the weather was the only real winner.

With a gale force wind and swirling rain engulfing the ground for the entire 90 minutes it was the visitors to took to the conditions better and deserved their victory in a match that certainly will not go down as a derby classic.

The match saw Montrose’s slump continue as they made it eight matches without a win and more worryingly they dropped to second bottom in the league behind an East Stirlingshire side that they face in a six pointer at Montrose on Saturday.

Manager Paul Hegarty showed two changes to the side that lost to Elgin City on Boxing Day with Adam Harwood and a trialist central defender, the ex Brechin City, Alloa Athletic and Stenhousemuir player Scot Buist taking the places of the injured Matty Allan and Gavin Malin.

Scott Johnston was named Montrose captain for the day on his final game for the club after 173 games and five years at the club. Scott is moving to start a new career in London and will be badly missed at Links Park.

League Two’s biggest crowd of the season 1379 was inside Links Park at kick off time.

Montrose forced a couple of early corner kicks and from the second one Adrian Mallagaray almost saw his kick beat Allan Fleming at the near post when the strong wind took hold of the ball.

Playing with the wind and rain in their favour the away side had their first opening in the eighth minute Jamie Reid skipped past a couple of challenges and his back post cross was headed wide by Darren Ramsay.

Montrose had a chance three minutes later when an over-hit Mallagaray free found its way over to Terry Masson who cut inside an Arbroath defender inside the box before firing in a low effort which Fleming held.

Chances were few and far between due to the weather and it wasn’t until the 28th minute that the next one was carved out when full back Craig Wilson strode forward and blasted in a low effort which Johnston blocked for a corner.

Arbroath opened the scoring in the 30th minute after a run by Greg Rutherford had been blocked by Campbell. The ball broke back to BOBBY LINN on the left hand side of the park and the striker showed his class to curl an effort past Millar using the wind with the Montrose goalkeeper helpless.

Five minutes later Graham Webster picked up his sixth booking of the season, and a suspension, for a late tackle on Lowden.

Mark Whatley took the free kick but Scott Johnston cleared for a corner at the near post. Linn swung over the free kick but trialist Buist headed powerfully clear.

A run by Ramsay was then halted by Buist giving Arbroath a free kick in a dangerous position, but Millar was able to push the effort from Linn around the post before Mallagaray cleared.

The final action of a poor first half came in the 36th minute when Greg Rutherford went on a run for Arbroath but he could only toe-poke his effort straight at Millar.

Half-time: Montrose 0. Arbroath 1

Arbroath had an early opportunity as the rain continued to last around Links Park. Masson fouled Whatley giving the visitors a free kick. Little’s free kick landed at the feet of Rutherford but Scot Buist blocked his effort on the turn for a corner kick. Ramsay took the kick but Mallagaray cleared. Three minutes later Ramsay had a chance for Arbroath but blasted well over the crossbar.

Arbroath continued to look for a second goal and in the 53rd minute Bobby Linn went on a run only to shoot straight at Millar.

In the 55th minute Montrose won a free kick in a great position when Little fouled Fraser. Campbell teed the free kick up for Graham Webster and his shot was on target but Fleming managed to tip his effort wide.

In the 57th minute Ricky Little was booked for a trip on Mallagaray. Just past the hour mark and the visitors made their first change bringing on a trialist in place of Jamie Reid.

Arbroath scored a second goal in the 62nd minute a Rutherford shot was blocked by Campbell only for the ball to fall to MARK WHATLEY who managed to knock it into the net with an Arbroath player standing in an offside position.

In the 70th minute Montrose made a change bringing on Ryan Kenneth in place of Ross Campbell. Trialist Scot Buist picked up a booking in the following minute for a late tackle on the Arbroath trialist.

Montrose again failed to clear their lines with just over 15 minutes left and this time the Arbroath trialist striker dragged his shot wide of the goal.

With 15 minutes remaining Montrose made their second change of the afternoon Ryan Ferguson came on in place of Adrian Mallagaray.

Gary Fraser almost got Montrose back into the match in the 77th minute when he pounced on a wayward Arbroath back header only to turn and shoot wide of goal.

With three minutes left Montrose made their final switch with Declan Milne replacing Gary Fraser. At the same time Arbroath brought on Kane Hester, brother of Montrose’s Lloyd in place of Rutherford.

Arbroath had the final opening of a poor afternoon’s entertainment when the trialist substitute shot straight at Millar.