Montrose Football Club picked up three points on their travels for the first time since late September but it wasn’t enough to stop the team being confirmed in bottom position in the league table, with three matches remaining.
Berwick Rangers’ draw with Clyde saw them move 10 points clear of Paul Hegarty’s side The first time the side has finished bottom of the pile since season 2009/10.
The side now face a pyramid play-off two-legged match against Brora Rangers or Edinburgh City to retain their League Two status for next season.
This was a good performance from the side, who took the early lead against East Stirlingshire and managed to hold on and grind out a welcome victory, to follow on from the 2 – 2 draw with Queen’s Park.
Ross Campbell was the Montrose marksman in a battling performance, with five more such efforts required before the end of the season.
Only one change was made from the draw the previous week, with the injured Marvin Andrews being replaced at centre-half by Ewan Moyes.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal with Masson and Steeves in full-back roles. Crawford and Moyes were in central defence. Cameron and Watson were in the middle of the park, with Scott Johnston on the right wing and Ross Campbell on the left. Captain Garry Wood was in attack with Jordan Allan.
On the bench for Montrose were the returning McCord and Webster and they were joined by Craig Johnston, Harwood, Banjo, Milne and goalkeeper John McCafferty.
It was Montrose who got the match under way, shooting into the strong wind.
East Stirlingshire won an early free-kick when Steeves fouled Gilmour. Greenhill sent over the free kick but Cameron was on hand to clear the ball.
In three minutes, Montrose had a let off, when Crawford failed to let the ball run out of play and allowed Greenhill to cut the ball back for McKenna, but the visiting defence managed to scramble the ball clear.
Montrose then failed to deal with a through ball and Kevin Nisbet was allowed space in the middle of the box to fire well over the crossbar.
With eight minutes gone, Montrose created their first opportunity when Johnston won the ball off Chris Townsley and fired in a cross to the near post that Allan flicked into the arms of ‘keeper Barnard.
Ross Campbell was then warned by referee Steven Kirkland for a foul on Ross Gilmour.
Donnelly won the home side a corner kick but Greenhill’s near post ball was driven wide of goal by David Bates.
With 15 minutes gone, Montrose won their first corner-kick of the match. Johnston took the kick against his former club, only for Crawford to bullet a header over the bar.
Three minutes later, Montrose went even closer. A throw-in from Steeves found the feet of Wood who worked space for a shot that was brilliantly tipped over by Barnard. It was from the corner-kick that Montrose opened the scoring. Scott Johnston sent over a delightful kick which Ewan Moyes headed back across goal and ROSS CAMPBELL was on hand to knock the ball into the net from six yards out for his fourth goal in Montrose colours.
In 27 minutes, Ewan Moyes became the first booking of the afternoon for a tackle on former teammate David McKenna.
Campbell then found Andrew Steeves with a great pass up the flank and when the youngster sent in a cross it caught in the wind and keeper Richie Barnard had to back pedal to tip the ball over the bar. Johnston’s corner kick was flicked on by Crawford but found no takers in the box.
Montrose had a let off with four minutes of the half remaining. A corner from Greenhill caused danger in the box and Nisbet looked to have scored with a header but a foul was signalled by referee Kirkland as McKenzie appeared to be pushed into the net at the same time.
Half-time: East Stirlingshire 0, Montrose 1.
The second half started with Montrose having the elements in their favour.
In 48 minutes, Steeves gathered a pass from Campbell and, after some trickery, he got in a low cross which ‘keeper Barnard fumbled at the near post.
Two minutes later, Garry Wood saw his low drive saved by Barnard but the flag was up for Allan, coming back from an offside position.
Shire won a free-kick in 55 minutes, when Masson fouled Kinnaird. Greenhill took the free-kick but his low effort was held by McKenzie.
A Steeves cross was then cleared by the home defence only as far as Masson who played in Jordan Allan but his shot was held by Barnard.
In 61 minutes East Stirlingshire made a change, bringing on Max Wright for Kevin Donnelly.
Four minutes later, Montrose almost made it two. Ross Campbell picked the ball up and his shot from 30 yards out took a deflection and was gathered by Barnard, under the crossbar.
East Stirlingshire then made another change, with Steven Brisbane coming on for David Bates.
It was Montrose’s turn to make a switch in 69 minutes, with Graham Webster returning from the mumps, in place of Ross Campbell.
Montrose had a let off three minutes later, when substitute Max Wright whipped over a dangerous cross which just required a touch but, thankfully for Montrose, it went out of play.
In 77 minutes, Steeves found Paul Watson in a shooting position but he could only blast his effort well over the crossbar.
With 10 minutes remaining, Stuart McKenzie kept Montrose in the match when he came out to the edge of his box to brilliantly block the ball at the feet of Kevin Nisbet, who looked set to score.
Montrose then won a free-kick when Allan was fouled. Cameron sent the kick into the box, only for Webster to head wide of goal.
East Stirlingshire then made their third change of the afternoon, when Greenhill was replaced by Billy Vidler.
In 85 minutes, East Stirlingshire won a free-kick in a dangerous position, after Moyes had needlessly given the ball away. Thankfully for the Gable Endies, McKenzie had lined up his wall perfectly and Nisbet blasted the ball against it.
The Shire were desperate for the goal that would keep up their play-off push and with three minutes left Wright sent a 25-yard effort into the arms of McKenzie.
Garry Wood then became the second Montrose player to be booked, after a flare-up with Neil McCabe.
Montrose then made their second substitution of the afternoon, when Declan Milne made another substitute appearance replacing Jordan Allan.
The home side had one last chance, when Wright set up fellow sub Vidler, but he could only fire well over the crossbar and with that the three points.
Full-time: East Stirlingshire 0, Montrose 1.
MONTROSE – McKenzie, Masson, Steeves, Cameron, Moyes, Crawford, S. Johnston, Watson, Wood, Allan (Milne), R. Campbell (Webster) Subs not used – McCord, C. Johnston, Harwood, Banjo, McCafferty