MONTROSE Football Club halted a run of four successive defeats with a deserved victory over Clyde at Broadwood Stadium on Saturday.
It was the Gable Endies’ first victory since defeating Clyde 4-0 on January 14 at Links Park - their first win at Cumbernauld for 16 years.
Ray Farningham’s injury and suspension hit side battled well in difficult wet and windy conditions to move within one point of Clyde near the bottom of the table.
With East Stirlingshire thumping Peterhead 6-3 at Ochilview the result was a very important one for Montrose as it kept them five points clear of the ‘Shire going into the final quarter of the season.
Montrose made three changes to their line-up from Tuesday. Out went the suspended Jamie Winter and Paul Lunan as well as centre-half Alan Campbell who had broken his hand against The Spiders. This saw Sean Crighton, Jonathan Smart and Jonathan Crawford return to the starting 11.
The Gable Endies lined up 4-4-2 with Andrews in goal, McNally and Cameron in full-back roles with Crighton and Smart in central defence. The midfield consisted of Young and Johnston in wide areas with Masson and Crawford in the middle. Boyle was once again partnered by Garry Wood in attack.
With Kevin Brown a late call-off due to illness, Montrose had only four players on the bench, David McGowan being joined by youngsters Sean Kelly and Scott Gordon. Sandy Wood was the back-up goalkeeper.
Clyde won an early corner when Kane played the ball off Crighton. Sweeney took the in swinging kick but Jonathan Smart was on hand to clear.
Montrose won a free kick in the eighth minute when Wood was held by Hay. Cameron used the conditions to send in an in swinger but on loan Celtic keeper Nick Feely gathered the ball.
A McNally through ball nearly played in Boyle. It was cleared back to Johnston by a Clyde defender and his cross this time found Boyle who turned and fired in a shot that Feely held.
In the 14th minute a cross from Clyde right-back Gavin Brown caught in the wind and Andrews was forced to tip the ball over the crossbar. Sweeney again took the resultant corner but Lloyd Young was on hand to clear the ball and set up a Montrose attack. Martin Boyle raced on to the clearance, beat three home defenders and found Johnston but the counter-attack was finished when his pass to Cameron was intercepted.
Mason fired in a low cross from the right and the ball found Young 10 yards out, but he hooked his effort over the bar.
Clyde had a good opening in the 26th minute when on-loan Dumbarton striker Kieran Brannen turned Smart inside the area, but he shot tamely into the arms of Andrews.
A flare-up inside the penalty area saw three players being booked. Masson got in a solid tackle on Brown inside the box to clear the ball. The Clyde player clearly didn’t like the tackle and squared up to the Montrose midfielder. There followed a melee involving a number of players from each side.
Once referee Dallas had calmed things down he booked Masson and Brown before calling over Sean Crighton and booking him for his part in the flare-up.
Brown was certainly lucky to remain on the pitch for his part.
Half-time: Clyde 0, Montrose 0.
The sides came out for the second period with the strong wind continuing to play havoc and rain lashing down in Cumbernauld.
Montrose opened the scoring in the 50th minute with their first attack of the half. McNally launched a huge clearance up the park that reached Wood but he was then flattened from behind by Hay. Captain CAMERON stepped up to take the free kick from the edge of the box and he curled it over the wall and into the roof of the net with the aid of a deflection off Declan Gallagher.
Clyde equalised in the 54th minute. Montrose failed to deal with a corner kick and when the ball came over from Pollock, CRIGHTON had the misfortune to direct his header past Andrews into his own net while trying to clear.
Montrose went in search of another goal and when Masson played the ball wide to Stephen McNally he raced up the right and into the box. He turned back to fire in a shot which was blocked for a corner kick.
The visitors took the lead for the second time in the 64th minute. Cameron played a clearance up the left which caught out the home defence but BOYLE was on to it in a flash. The youngster outpaced the home defence and from a tight angle he did enough to stab the ball past Feely and into the corner of the net for his 13th goal of the season.
Clyde made their first change of the match in the 72nd minute bringing on Pat Scullion for fullback Lee Sharp. This saw a switch in positions with Scullion going up front.
Two minutes later centre half Gallagher went on a great run up the left wing and got over a cross which found Scullion. His shot was blocked and from the corner kick Andrews held comfortably.
Garry Wood then did well to head on a McNally throw-in but McQueen nodded the ball out for a corner kick. Cameron sent over a great inswinger but ‘keeper Feely did well to hold the ball in the wet conditions.
In the 77th minute Clyde made a second switch with Kris Irvine replacing Ryan Kane.
With six minutes of the match remaining Michael Andrews produced a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a header from Pat Scullion that was heading for the top corner.
A minute later the Bully Wee made their final substitution with Stephen McDonald replacing Paul Hay as they went all-out for an equaliser.
Jonathan Crawford took the pressure off his team-mates with a surging run from his own penalty area which saw him flattened on the edge of the Clyde area by Iain Gray who was booked by referee Andrew Dallas.
Lloyd Young took the free kick but he wasn’t as accurate as his captain and the ball flew over.
Broadwood substitute Kris Irvine, who had only been on the field for a couple of minutes, was then forced off with what looked like a nasty ankle injury after collapsing with no one near him. This forced Clyde to play out the match with only 10 men.
In stoppage time Montrose had a great chance to score a third goal when they broke clear. Wood found himself on the right hand side of the penalty area and he found the unmarked Young who looked set to score but Martin Boyle got in the way and blocked his team-mate’s shot and the chance was gone.
Montrose: Andrews, McNally, Cameron, Crighton, Smart, Masson, Young, Crawford, Boyle, Johnston, G. Wood. Substitutes not used: McGowan, Kelly, Gordon and S. Wood.