45 minutes to remember - and 45 more to forget

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Elgin City 2

Montrose 0

Montrose FC got the 2013/14 season off to a disappointing start at Borough Briggs on Saturday when they crashed out of the Ramsdens Cup.

Despite dominating the opening half with some great passing and movement, Montrose failed to take their chances, including a penalty.

They were made to pay by the home side that capitalised on two second-half errors in defence to grab two goals and a place in the second round.

Stuart Garden’s side, playing in their impressive new all royal blue home strip, gave a second debut to Stuart McKenzie in goal some five years after he left the club, while there were competitive debuts for Colin Wilson in defence and Graham Webster in midfield. Ricky McIntosh and Ross McCord who joined in the summer after loan spells were also named.

Stephen McNally is still out with a back injury, Lloyd Young is injured and new signing Lewis Bonar was awaiting international clearance after his arrival from Australian football.

The Gable Endies lined up with McKenzie in goal, Masson and McIntosh as full backs and Wilson and Campbell in central defence. Webster took up a wide right position with Watson on the left. McCord and Winter were partnered in central midfield, with Wood and Johnston in attack.

On the bench were David Gray, Jonathan Crawford, young Kieran Sturrock, not yet 17, new signing from Dundee United Craig Bell and back-up ‘keeper Dean Easton.

The Elgin City side contained ex-Montrose favourite Sean Crighton and summer signings Raymond Jellema and Shane Sutherland.

Montrose were captained for the first time by Wood, and created a chance in the opening minute after Masson was fouled by McMullan. Watson sent over a perfect inswinging free kick which found Johnston in a good position but his header was well blocked by ‘keeper Jellema. The ball came back out to Wood and his perfect cross found Campbell in the six-yard area, but when it seemed easier to score he could only direct his effort over the bar.

The home team had their first effort at goal in the fifth minute but Harkins directed his shot into the arms of McKenzie.

Montrose went straight up the park to create another opportunity. Winter’s cross was headed down by Wood to his strike partner Johnston but his drive from 20 yards was saved.

Tempers became strained in the 15th minute when Niven appeared to go over the top in a 50/50 tackle with Masson who won the ball cleanly, only for referee Cook to award the free kick to Elgin City. Manager Stuart Garden and Elgin boss Ross Jack exchanged words and Masson received treatment before play restarted with the free kick that Montrose easily cleared.

The Gable Endies almost opened the scoring the following minute with another great move down the right. Wood played the ball low into the path of debutant Graham Webster inside the area. He cut inside his marker and curled in an effort which was heading for the top corner until Jellema somehow got his fingers to it to push it over.

In the 20th minute a scramble inside the area almost led to Ross McCord forcing home a Johnston cross.

In a rare home attack three minutes later Elgin City won a corner kick. Crighton got his head to Harkins’ corner but Winter blasted clear.

Webster, who was causing Elgin problems up the right flank, won a corner in the 25th minute which McCord again took. The ball fell to Webster at the far post but he volleyed wide.

On the half-hour mark Elgin striker Gunn cut inside McIntosh but shot straight at McKenzie.

In the 34th minute McCord, who was having an excellent match as the Montrose play marker, was booked for diving inside the box.

In the 44th minute Montrose were awarded a penalty. McIntosh played the ball to the feet of Johnston who was bundled over from behind by Crighton. McCord who had made such a great job of his spot kick against Brechin City the previous week took the kick but this time his effort was brilliantly saved by the diving Jellema.

Half-time: Elgin 0, Montrose 0.

Elgin City won an early free kick in the second half when McIntosh pushed Gunn. Harkins took the kick but Winter cleared.

In the 48th minute Beveridge got clear on the left for Elgin but his cross was headed well wide by Gunn.

Two minutes later Montrose won a free kick in a good position some 30 yards out when Niven pushed Johnston. McCord played the ball short to Winter whose low effort was well blocked.

In the 55th minute, against the run of play, Elgin opened the scoring. Watson won Montrose a free kick which McCord took. Jellema punched the ball and Ceiran McLean hooked it clear. Masson failed to deal with it and this allowed GUNN to race through and slot home.

Campbell became the second Montrose player to be booked for a tackle on Sutherland.

Montrose made their first substitution in the 71st minute bringing on Bell in place of Watson on the left side. Five minutes later Sturrock entered the fray for the first time as a professional when he replaced Johnston.

In the 82nd minute Bell had a rare second half opportunity for the Gable Endies when he caught a clearance but he volleyed into Jellema’s arms.

Elgin put the tie safe in the 85th minute when another Montrose mistake allowed Cameron to get clear. McKenzie dealt with his first effort but there was nothing he could do about the rebound which fell to SUTHERLAND who found the bottom corner.

With three minutes remaining Montrose brought on Gray for Winter and Elgin City their new signing McKenzie for Harkins.

Montrose’s final chance came when Bell won another corner kick which McCord took, only for the home defence to clear.

Montrose must look to build on the first half performance when they travel to Gayfield on Saturday to face Arbroath in the first round of the League Cup.

Montrose: McKenzie, Masson, McIntosh, Wilson, Campbell, Winter (Gray), Webster, McCord, G. Wood, Johnston (Sturrock), Watson (Bell) Substitutes not used: Crawford and Easton.