Confidence blip leads to loss at ‘Shire after poor run of form

Montrose Football Club continued their poor run of form against East Stirlingshire on Saturday, when the home side ran out big winners, with a score-line few could have grudged them. It was their first win against the Gable Endies since January 2012.

Montrose have failed to win any of their fixtures in league and cup stretching back to September 23, and have only won two points in that run, from to away fixtures at Berwick Rangers and Annan.

Amazingly, despite slipping to second bottom in the table, they are only two points off fourth spot.

Hopefully, the side will return to winning ways in their next league fixture, at home to Berwick Rangers, on Tuesday December 2, but there will have to be a big improvement.

After the pleasing performance and result at Annan Athletic, manager George Shields stuck by the same line-up right down to the substitutes’ bench.

The home side went into the match looking to follow up on their 1 – 0 victory over Clyde the previous Saturday.

In the second minute, Stephen Day was warned by referee Barry Cook for a late tackle on East Stirlingshire goalkeeper Richie Barnard.

Crawford became the first Montrose player to be booked, after a late tackle on David Greenhill.

With 13 minutes gone, Leighton McIntosh won Montrose a free-kick after a good run up the right wing. O’Neil’s corner kick found Wood, who hooked the ball on for Watson, whose shot was well blocked by the home defence.

Montrose won a free kick of their own when Day was held back. O’Neil took the kick but blasted his right-footed effort against the home wall.

The home side opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Wright won a free-kick off Harwood. Montrose didn’t deal with Greenhill’s corner kick and DAVID McKENNA was on hand to scramble the ball home from close range.

Montrose almost grabbed an equaliser. Terry Masson played a one-two with Danny Cavanagh but only succeeded in driving his shot into the arms of ‘keeper Bernard.

In the 26 minutes, a cross from Greenhill found the head of Neil McCabe but he only managed to head over the crossbar from inside the box.

The Gable Endies afternoon got worse in the 28 minutes, when the home side grabbed a second goal. Montrose were slow to deal with a mishit shot from Wood and the ball found its way to LUKE DONNELLY who stuck out a foot to divert the ball over McGovern into the far corner of the net.

Montrose claimed offside but the whole Shire attack was being played on by Paul Watson, lying on the ground inside the six yard box.

With three minutes of the half remaining, referee Cook warned Shire’s Greenhill and Jonathan Crawford as tempers began to get the better of both players.

Half-time: East Stirlingshire 2, Montrose 0.

The home side went for Montrose straight from kick-off and Max Wright wasn’t too far off with a shot, after he cut inside from the left flank.

McGovern kept Montrose in the match when he tipped an effort from Wright over the bar from point-blank range.

Montrose went close to pulling a goal back in the 53 minutes, when Leighton McIntosh got on the end of a cross from Day but headed over the bar.

A mistake from Craig Bell almost cost Montrose dear, when he allowed Greenhill to race clear down the right. His cross was met by a diving header from Wright but, thankfully for Montrose, he bulleted his header over the crossbar.

East Stirlingshire didn’t have to wait long for a deserved third goal, when it arrived on the hour mark. A mistake by Montrose gifted possession to McKenna and he set up MAX WRIGHT who knocked home.

George Shields made a double switch in the 67 minutes, taking off Craig Bell and Stephen Day and bringing on Ross Graham and Paul Harkins.

Three minutes later the home side took off the impressive Max Wright and brought on Billy Vidler.

Vidler was immediately into action and was involved in a flare-up with Garry Wood, after the Montrose captain appeared to catch the substitute with an accidental arm, after the players tried to gather the ball. After some strong words to the referee, Shire’s Bolochoweckwj was booked along with both Vidler and Wood.

Seconds later, Montrose should have pulled a goal back when Watson set up the unmarked Cavanagh inside the box, but the Montrose striker curled his effort over the crossbar.

Cavanagh then set up Terry Masson at the edge of the box, but the midfielder could only blast the ball well over and another chance had gone.

Montrose had another opportunity in the 79 minutes, when Crawford was fouled. Harkins swung over a free-kick which found its way back to Stephen O’Neil, whose shot from the edge of the box was tipped wide by Barnard.

With eight minutes left, East Stirlingshire rubbed salt on the Montrose wounds with a fourth goal which was no more than they deserved. Harkins lost the ball on the edge of the box and it eventually found its way to DAVID McKENNA who skipped around McGovern and calmly knocked the ball home for his second goal of the afternoon.

In the 85th minute the Shire replaced Townsley with Jordan Tapping and three minutes later McKenna was replaced by Brennan.

The final action of the afternoon came in stoppage time, when Paul Watson was booked for a late tackle in the middle of the park.

Montrose: McGovern, Crawford, Bell (Graham), Wood, Harwood, O’Neil, Masson, Watson, McIntosh, Cavanagh, Day (Harkins) Subs – Deasley, McCord, Robb, Johnston, McKenzie