Montrose Football Club came from behind to grab a valuable point in an end-to-end Angus derby at Gayfield Park on Saturday.
It was the first point George Shields’ side had taken off the league leaders this season and it was one that they certainly deserved.
Once Arbroath took a two-goal lead, at the start of the second half, Montrose looked dead and buried but showed great character to grab two goals in three minutes to turn the match around. It was fast and furious football for the last twenty minutes but neither side could find the winning goal, with Arbroath even missing a penalty kick late in the match.
Montrose must now look to continue this form on Saturday against East Stirlingshire at Links Park and stop giving the opposition two goal leads.
There was a pre-match surprise, with ex-Rangers defender Marvin Andrews listed in the Gable Endies’ starting 11 as a trialist, one of five changes from the side defeated by Andrews’ previous club Elgin City the previous week. Out went Campbell, Travis, Deasley, McIntosh and Masson. In with Andrews came Harwood, Johnston, Harkins and Day.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal and Crawford and Graham in their usual full back positions. Harwood and Andrews linked up in central defence. Johnston and Day were the wide midfielders with McCord and Watson in the middle of the park. Harkins supported Wood in attack.
Arbroath got the match under way on a heavy-looking Gayfield in front of a healthy crowd of nearly 1,400.
In 12 minutes Arbroath won a free-kick after Lindsay was fouled. Linn played a short kick to Simon Murray but he shot weakly into the arms of Stuart McKenzie.
Play raged from end to end and Day cut inside and found Ross McCord but he could only lob well over.
In 16 minutes, Arbroath’s Jordan Lowdon was injured after an aerial challenge with Marvin Andrews. On-loan St Johnstone winger Dylan Easton came on in his place.
In 37 minutes, Ross McCord won a corner which he took himself. The ball reached Marvin Andrews at the back post but he could only head straight at McCallum.
Montrose fell behind to an Arbroath goal with three minutes of the half to go. The Gable Endies failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell kindly to ADAM HUNTER, who drilled it into the bottom corner, with McKenzie unable to reach.
Half-time: Arbroath 1, Montrose 0.
In 50 minutes, Andrews missed his first header of the match for Montrose and Bobby Linn managed to run onto the ball but his shot was blocked for a fruitless corner-kick.
Four minutes later, Arbroath scored a second. The ball was cleared out of defence and SIMON MURRAY out-paced Adam Harwood to go round ‘keeper Stuart McKenzie to fire into the net from an acute angle.
Shortly thereafter, Wood won Montrose a corner-kick, taken by Ross McCord once again, but Marvin Andrews headed well wide.
Montrose got back into the match in 70 minutes, when a great chipped pass put Paul Harkins clear inside the area and his drilled cross was turned into his own net by Arbroath centre half SCOTT McBRIDE.
George Shields immediately brought Terry Masson on to replace Harkins. Paul McManus was the second home player to be booked for a trip on McCord.
Montrose equalised out of nothing in the 73rd minute. Ross McCord floated over a corner which Andrews headed down and STEPHEN DAY blasted the ball home from six yards, before celebrating with the away support, which saw him booked by whistler Northcroft.
Montrose raced up field and should have gone ahead. Wood found Day inside the box and he cut back to the unmarked Masson who looked set to score but from 10 yards out his effort rebounded off a home player.
An up-and-under from Jonathan Crawford caught out the home defence but Day could only fire wide.
Arbroath were given a wonderful opportunity to regain the lead when they won a penalty-kick after Harwood fouled Easton inside the box. Referee Northcroft booked Harwood before Paul McManus stuttered with his kick and blasted the ball over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Marvin Andrews got his head on the end of a McCord corner only to see McCallum block his effort for another corner-kick.
Garry Wood was lucky only to see yellow after he crudely took Easton out after the winger threatened to get clear in an Arbroath breakaway. Linn wasted the home free-kick.
Play raged from end to end and Montrose had another chance from a free-kick which Watson took. The ball was headed back across goal by Andrews but Adam Harwood could only send his header into the arms of McCallum.
As play continued, Paul Watson became the fourth Montrose player to be booked, for another late tackle on Linn.
In 88 minutes, Adam Hunter let fly from the edge of the area but his shot was deflected. Easton then had another shot deflected wide as the league leaders kept up the pressure.
From another Hunter corner the ball fell to Arbroath captain Nicoll at the far post but he could only blast over.
Terry Masson became the fifth Montrose player to be booked for a challenge on Easton in the first minute of stoppage time.
Montrose had the final two efforts of the match, with Wood setting up Johnston who just couldn’t find the net. Then, from a Montrose corner, the ball fell to Masson who had his shot blocked close to the line by team-mate Scott Johnston, as the points were shared in a rip-roaring Angus derby.
Montrose: McKenzie, Crawford, Graham, Harwood, Andrews, McCord, Johnston, Watson, Wood, Harkins (Masson), Day. Subs not used – O’Neil, Deasley, Webster, Campbell, Cavanagh, McGovern.