DESPITE taking a lead on the stroke of half-time Montrose made the long journey back from Stranraer on Saturday pointless for the first time in five visits.
Out went Crighton and Masson, and into the line-up came Campbell in central defence and Winter in midfield.
the Gable Endies created an opening when a long ball out of defence from Alan Campbell was latched on to by Boyle down the right flank. He raced into the penalty area and sent in a teasing cross which Taggart hooked over the crossbar.
Stranraer thought that they had opened the scoring in the 12th minute. A free kick wasn’t dealt with by Montrose and Borris fired the ball goalwards. It beat Andrews and was heading in but Malcolm on the line made sure from a yard out and the assistant flagged offside.
Soon after, Wood played the ball wide to Johnston on the left. He skipped into the area and crossed for Boyle but his header flew over.
The Blues came close when Michael Moore gathered a Borris cross with his back to goal and hooked the ball goalwards. It looked netbound until Andrews flew across goal to tip it round the post.
The Gable Endies had a great chance to take the lead in the 35th minute. Jamie Winter won the ball in the middle of the park and sent a great through ball wide to Martin Boyle. The youngster skipped into the box but with Wood unmarked at the far post he chose to shoot and sent his effort inches wide of the far post.
Five minutes later, as Montrose kept up the pressure, they had another good chance. This time Scott Johnston found Boyle in the box with a deep cross and he flicked the ball over Mitchell who did just enough to grab onto the ball.
Two minutes before the break a short headed pass back from Jonathan Smart put his team in danger and sent Malcolm through on goal but Andrews raced out to close down the angle and did well to block the strikers shot.
With the final action of the first half Montrose opened the scoring. Garry Wood lined up a shot which was off target but went through the legs of a Stranraer player and landed perfectly at the feet of top goalscorer BOYLE and the youngster did the rest from six yards and fired home his 15th goal of the season.
At the start of the second half a wayward kick out from Andrews landed at the feet of Ryan Borris but his long range effort was wide.
Stranraer equalised in the 58th minute. Aitken found MOORE and there appeared to be little danger until Andrews came racing from goal, allowing the experienced front man the space he required to roll the ball into the empty net.
Seven minutes later Stranraer went ahead thanks to another Montrose error. Wood tried to find a team-mate with a simple pass but it was Stirling who raced and slipped the ball to MALCOLM who eased it past Andrews.
There was a return to action for Steven McPhee when he replaced Scott Johnston.
With 10 minutes remaining Stranraer sub McColm swung over a cross from the left but Malcolm could only head over the crossbar.
With seven minutes remaining Jonathan Smart picked up what was to be a costly booking for a trip on Stirling as he broke clear.
In the 85th minute the home side brought on their final substitute when John Kane replaced Chris Aitken.
With two minutes remaining Montrose went close to grabbing an equaliser when Stephen McNally saw his netbound volley tipped around the post by Mitchell.
Then from a long throw in from McNally the ball bobbled around the box and in his efforts to stick the ball into the net Garry Wood caught goalkeeper Mitchell and was shown a yellow card.
Worse was to follow for Montrose in the first minute of stoppage time when Smart held back Stirling and was shown a second yellow card followed by his fourth red card of the season.
The final nail in Montrose’s coffin came in the two minutes into injury time when a Sean Winter shot went across the goalmouth and MALCOLM tapped home his second.
Montrose: Andrews, McNally, Cameron, Campbell, Smart, Crawford, Young, Winter (Masson), Boyle, Johnston, G. Wood. Substitutes: Crighton, McGowan, McPhee and S. Wood.