Let’s get the good bits out of the way first. Montrose didn’t get anybody sent off and only had two players booked. As for the game itself, it could be said Montrose were not even second in a two horse race. Maybe that’s being a bit cruel but when you consider that Berwick were far superior all over the park for the large part of the full 90 minutes it’s hard to draw any positives looking at it through Montrose tinted eyes.
Montrose fielded an unchanged side from that which played well in the second half last week in beating Albion Rovers. Most fans would probably accept that it was right not to change a winning team when consistency has been somewhat elusive. The line up was McKenzie in goal then Crawford, Campbell, Wood and McIntosh across the back. The central line of four were Webster, Watson, Masson and Gray with Deasley and Johnston up front. The only change on the bench was Craig Bell in for Jamie Reid.
Berwick started as they were to carry on for most of the game, by attacking in numbers and immediately pushing Montrose onto the back foot. The first attack ended with a weak shot at McKenzie, however and the big keeper then sent Gray away down the left wing but the ball bobbled and his cross was a poor one but there was nobody in the middle anyway.
Following another couple of Berwick attacks the home side grabbed the initiative with a goal in the sixth minute from DARREN LAVERY, who easily went past a couple of defenders in the centre of the Montrose area before rifling a right footer into the bottom left hand corner giving McKenzie no chance.
Then disaster struck again for Montrose on 25 minutes with an awful goal to give away. Ross Gray the Berwick right winger beat Ricky McIntosh, who had a game he will quickly want to forget. The ball was hit firmly low along the goal line and amazingly it went all the way along the line to the Montrose back post for a simple tap in by STEVEN NOTMAN, who will never score an easier goal.
At 2-0 Montrose had a mountain to climb. That mountain became even bigger a minute later when a cross from the left was nodded in unchallenged by LEE CURRIE to give the home side a comfortable afternoon.
Berwick took their foot off the gas and Montrose won two quick corners both of which came to nothing. Deasley however got on the end of one cross but his header failed to trouble Billy Bald the home keeper.
The pattern of play soon resumed again with Berwick swarming forward. Player Manager Colin Cameron’s midfield display was at the centre of everything, as he made the game look so easy. How Montrose could do with such a midfield general. Montrose were still sitting back and simply not getting bodies forward possibly in fear of conceding again but such tactics were not adventurous and even still in the first half it looked like damage limitation.
Just before half time Berwick won a free kick just outside the Montrose box but the resultant kick was straight at the well positioned McKenzie and the half time whistle sounded.
Half time: Berwick Rangers 3, Montrose 0.
At the start of the second half the sun came out but it was not to be so sunny from a Montrose point of view. Having said that, Montrose did have a spell of pressure and one sensed Berwick were maybe going to sit back on their lead.
Webster broke loose but his weak shot was easily dealt with. Cameron was not happy with his troops and urged more out of them – the advantage of a player manager out there on the park. His gestures to his players were heeded and normal service resumed – end of Montrose pressure.
Webster was in a heap on the ground at the other end of the ground and received lengthy attention. He continued but was soon replaced as manager Stuart Garden made changes to try to change the course of the game.
Before the substitutions were made however Berwick scored again. It was a very harsh penalty. McIntosh went up for a high ball near the edge of the area and the attacker went under him. McIntosh landed dangerously on his back and most times would have been given a free kick. Not this time with referee Somers however, who instead gave a penalty which was soundly dispatched by LEE CURRIE to make it 4-0.
Garry Wood was incensed by that penalty decision and shortly afterwards appeared to be fouled when trying to clear the ball but instead was himself penalised. His anger boiled over and the yellow card was shown.
At 4-0 Colin Cameron substituted himself having done his job well indeed.
For Montrose, Sturrock and McCord came on for Webster and Gray, both of whom struggled to make any impact on the game, though they were not alone. Shortly afterwards, Berwick made another substitution with Russell off and replaced by Scott Dalziel, who was later to make his mark on the game.
Masson was then booked for a rash challenge in midfield.
With the last kick of the game SCOTT DALZIEL turned on a sixpence in the centre of the box and hit an unstoppable shot high into the net to round off a thoroughly miserable afternoon for all connected to Montrose FC.
In such a poor performance there should be no man-of-the-match and although Wood deserves some credit the overall defending in the first half was poor so for effort alone Scott Johnston gets the nod.
MONTROSE – McKenzie, Crawford, McIntosh, Campbell, Wood, Masson, Webster (Sturrock), Watson, Johnston, Deasley, Gray (McCord). Subs (not used) – Wilson, Duguid, Bonar, Bell, McCafferty.