The 2011/12 season has not been the best for Montrose Football Club, writes Sarah McLean.
Despite a strong pre-season and much positivity back in July last year, the results have rarely gone the way of the Gable Endies.
Manager Ray Farningham made a lot of changes to the side he inherited from Steven Tweed back in April 2011.
By the time the season was under way Michael Andrews, David Dimilta, Scott Johnston, Paul Lunan, David McGowan, Steven McPhee and Jonathan Smart had all joined the Links Park set up.
With the addition of Martin Boyle to regular first team football, both the club and fans alike were hoping that the side would be serious contenders for a play-off position.
During early pre-season Montrose proved their ability with wins against Second Division side Stenhousemuir, First Division side Raith Rovers and SPL side Dundee United.
However, this was followed by poor results against Arbroath, East Fife and Raith Rovers, the latter clearly out to redeem themselves after the previous result.
The run continued into the first game of the season, unfortunately, as Montrose were defeated 0-1 at East Stirlingshire.
The following week Montrose travelled to Elgin where they won 3-0 with goals from Martin Boyle and Jon Crawford. With hopes that the first game of the season had just been a blip, the result gave a boost to the club.
The elation was shortlived, however, as a run of three defeats was to follow. The first league meeting against Clyde went against Montrose 1-0, while their first clash with Stranraer ended in a 6-0 defeat - the worst of the season.
A friendly against Stenhousemuir which ended 2-1 in the home side’s favour did nothing to improve the mood.
In the run up to November Montrose had an equal number of wins and loses, including a 3-1 defeat to Queen’s Park at Hampden. They redeemed themselves a week later with a win at Clyde - a club which have never has much luck against Montrose.
On November 5, in their first meeting since the opening day of the season, Montrose defeated East Stirlingshire 2-1 but this was unfortunately swiftly followed by defeat at Elgin.
The pattern of a win one week and defeat the next proved to sum up the whole season for the club much to the frustration of Farningham. Many of the players themselves admitted that consistency was proving to be a problem.
Earlier in the season Alan Campbell said: “Consistency is letting us down.
“We’re winning some then losing some and I’m not really sure why to be honest.”
On November 12, Montrose had the greatest comeback of the season when, 4-0 down at Stranraer they came back to draw 4-4. with two goals apiece from Sean Pierce and Jamie Winter.
Immediately after that amazing result, Montrose went on to face Ayr United in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Scott Johnston summed up both matches of their third round tie, he said: “Our performances against Ayr showed that we can match playing at a much higher level.” Unfortunately on the night of the replay, November 22, Montrose were unlucky to lose out in a 2-1 defeat.
From then, a shaken Montrose had another run of bad luck and their next win didn’t come until Boxing Day when they won 3-2 at Peterhead. It was shortlived however, with a draw and another defeat in the following weeks before they got their best result of the season so far with a 4-0 win against Clyde at Links Park on January 14.
This was to be the last good news for awhile as it was not until Saturday, March 3, that they got another win - once again against Clyde.
With all hopes of reaching the play-offs gone by this point the aim was to keep away from the bottom of the table.
With nine games to go until the end of the season, Montrose were determined to get as high up the table as possible.
One of the high points of the season was undoubtedly the “curse” being broken as Gable Endies defeated Queen’s Park 3-1 on April 14. With a run of bad luck against the Hampden side stretching back to 2005 it was not before time.
The Queen’s Park game also proved to be the first of Montrose’s only back-to-back wins of the season as they went on to defeat East Stirlingshire the next weekend.
Unfortunately they couldn’t quite make it three in a row as they lost 2-1 away to Elgin the weekend after.
As the last game of the season approached Montrose were sitting on equal points with Clyde and the fight was on for eighth place.
Determined to end the season on a high they won 5-0 with goals from Terry Masson, Alan Campbell and Martin Boyle who got his first ever senior hat-trick.