For the second Saturday in a row Montrose lost by the odd goal in three as they went down to Annan Athletic at Galabank.
With only a league cup victory over neighbours Arbroath to show for their efforts in their first four matches, the Gable Endies have once again made a slow start to their season.
And now they must look to take something from this weekend’s home fixture against Berwick Rangers.
Montrose and Annan Athletic were fairly equally matched on Saturday with both sides being on top for a half each.
The home side managed to grind out a couple of goals whereas Mo’ could only muster a late penalty from Garry Wood to show for their efforts after the lengthy journey.
Manager Stuart Garden was able to welcome back both Garry Wood and Paul Watson after suspension and they took the place of Kieran Sturrock and the suspended Ricky McIntosh in the only two changes from the Stirling Albion clash.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal with McNally and Watson in the full back roles, Wilson and Campbell were in central defence. Webster and Johnston were on the flanks with Masson and McCord in central defence. Wood and Bonar were in attack.
The Gable Endies listed six substitutes in a senior fixture for the first time in Young, Sturrock, Gray, Crawford, Bell and goalkeeper Dean Easton.
It was the home side who got the match underway with the strong wind and rain behind them on the artificial surface at Galabank.
They created an early opportunity when Steven Sloan let fly but the ball went straight into the arms of McKenzie.
Montrose had their first opportunity in the 10th minute when McCord linked up with Johnston before the former set up Lewis Bonar whose low effort went wide of the far post.
Alan Campbell then did well to block a dangerous cross from Hopkirk after the striker had been set up by Kenny MacKay.
In the 12th minute David Hopkirk did well to turn some 25 yards out but his effort went straight into the arms of McKenzie.
Three minutes later Montrose won a free kick after Wood was held back by Watson. Paul Watson curled over the free kick to the back post and Bonar headed back across goal to McNally but he couldn’t force the ball home from close range.
Montrose almost opened the scoring in the 22nd minute using the elements to their favour. A great pass up the flank put in Graham Webster, he cut inside his man before curling in a left footed effort which beat Arthur but the ball smacked off the crossbar and was cleared by the Annan defence.
The first booking of the game arrived in the 25th minute when Steven Sloan was cautioned for a late tackle on Bonar.
The following minute Annan Athletic had a great chance when Ally Love found himself through on goal and with only McKenzie to beat, but the Montrose ‘keeper stood firm and with the ball running away from the midfielder he lost control and put it well wide of goal.
On the half hour mark a free kick was given against Ross McCord when he appeared to be fouled. Peter Weatherston lined up to take the kick but he blasted the ball off McCord and chance was gone.
With 10 minutes off the half remaining Ross McCord tried a cheeky lob from the edge of the box but the ball went wide of Kenny Arthur’s goal.
Masson then went on a great run and found Wood. He in turn played the ball wide to Webster whose low effort was well held by Arthur.
Five minutes before interval Terry Masson latched onto a through ball from Webster but could only blast the ball over the crossbar from a tight angle.
On the stroke of half time Annan Athletic almost opened the scoring when Ally Love found himself on the edge of the box but his effort smashed off the crossbar with Stuart McKenzie beaten.
Conditions had eased at the start of the second half but there was still a strong wind although Montrose had the elements in their favour.
Annan forced an early corner kick which was taken by Ally Love, the in swinger was dangerous but Paul Watson managed to head the ball clear.
Watson was quickly in action at the other end but his 25 yard shot was wind assisted and ended up in the roof of the Annan Athletic net.
In the 50th minute Masson was fouled giving the Gable Endies a free kick in a good position. Watson swung over his kick to the back post but the inrushing Lewis Bonar couldn’t quite connect with the ball.
In the 52nd minute Bonar became the first Montrose player to be booked for a late tackle on Hopkirk as he tried to win back the ball in the middle of the park.
As the rain started to pour down Weatherson took the free kick but could only blast the ball over the crossbar.
A McCord corner kick caused danger in the home box and when Arthur punched the ball clear it fell to Johnston whose effort was blocked and then the follow up from Webster as Montrose looked for the breakthrough.
On the hour mark the Gable Endies were hit by the sucker punch when Annan Athletic opened the scoring slightly against the run of play. Wood lost possession on the edge of the Annan box and one pass from Bradley split open the Montrose defence and KENNY MacKAY outpaced Campbell to slot the ball past McKenzie.
Montrose immediately made a change bringing on Lloyd Young for Lewis Bonar. Young took up a left wing position with Johnston moving up front alongside Garry Wood.
Hopkirk then almost gave Annan Athletic a two goal lead but his long range effort was turned wide by McKenzie.
In the 65th minute a long range effort from Ally Love was then saved by the legs of McKenzie as Annan Athletic turned up the pressure.
In the 72nd minute Colin Wilson picked up Montrose’s second booking of the afternoon for a crunching tackle on Matty Flynn.
Stuart Garden then made his second switch of the game with David Gray coming on in place of Graham Webster on the right wing.
The following minute Ally Love had another effort at goal for Annan but McKenzie was again equal to the task and tipped the ball around the post.
With 15 minutes remaining the home side made the match safe when they scored a second goal when STEVEN BLACK found himself unmarked to head home the corner kick taken by Love.
With 10 minutes remaining Young went on a good run for Montrose and passed to Johnston he in turn found Garry Wood but his low effort went straight at ‘keeper Arthur.
In the next minute Montrose made their change when they brought on Kieran Sturrock for Terry Masson.
Soon after Ross McCord was booked for dissent towards the referee.
Montrose kept trying to find away into the match and Paul Watson saw another long range effort blocked by Kenny Arthur.
David Gray was next to trouble Arthur with a low effort from the edge of the area which the ex Partick Thistle ‘keeper did well to push out.
In the 86th minute Montrose got a chance to get back into the match when they were awarded a penalty kick when Wood was pushed by Bradley as he got up to get on the end of a cross by Watson. GARRY WOOD himself took the responsibility of the penalty kick and the captain blasted home his first goal of the season.
Annan Athletic then made their first change bringing on Scott Davidson for Kenny MacKay.
Montrose then had the chance for the equaliser in the final minute of the match. David Gray ran down the right wing and burst into the box to send over an inch perfect cross for fellow substitute Lloyd Young.
He powered in a great diving header only for Arthur to pull off a great save to deny Montrose a point.
There was still time for Annan to make another substitution late into the game with Kieran Brannon replacing David Hopkirk.
MONTROSE: McKenzie, McNally, Watson, Wilson, Campbell, McCord, Webster (Gray), Masson (Sturrock), G. Wood, Bonar (Young), Johnston Subs not used – Crawford, Bell, Easton