Montrose 1 Stranraer 3
MONTROSE Football Club went down at the hands of Stranraer at Links Park on Saturday, with the south-west side moving back to the top of the table.
After the 2–2 draw with Berwick Rangers at Shielfield on Monday afternoon manager Ray Farningham was forced into one change. Alan Campbell suffered a recurrence of his groin injury in training and into the side came Jonathan Crawford.
Montrose lined up in their normal 4-3-3 formation. Wood was in goal, with Crawford and captain Cameron full-backs. Crighton was in central defence with Jonathan Smart. Lloyd Young, playing his last match before returning to East Fife, was in midfield with Winter and Masson. Johnston was central in a three-man attack with Boyle and McGowan. Scott Gordon, the under-19 left-back, was in the first team for the first time on the bench.
Barely three minutes were played before Montrose opened the scoring. Jamie Winter won the ball with a solid challenge and slipped a pass to top goalscorer BOYLE, who sprinted into the penalty area and fired past Marshall and into the corner of the net for his 10th of the season.
Stranraer had their first real chance in the 16th minute. Noble was free down the left and his low cross fell to McColm at the far post, but he could only guide his shot into the side netting.
Stranraer came close in the 22nd minute when McColm shot from 20 yards, only for Sandy Wood to turn his effort around the post.
Montrose won a free kick when Scott Johnston was fouled by McKeown. Jamie Winter’s free kick was low and on target. ‘Keeper Marshall spilled his effort but grabbed the rebound.
Despite having the majority of play Montrose gave away an equalising goal in the 37th minute. There appeared to be no danger when Malcolm found Sean WINTER at the back post. His half-hit shot finished in the corner of the net.
In first half stoppage time picky referee Cook booked Johnston for persistent fouling.
Half-time: Montrose 1 Stranraer 1.
The first chance of the second half came in the 50th minute. A good cross from Malcolm was punched off the head of Grehan by Wood but the ball rebounded wide.
Montrose almost regained the lead in the 52nd minute when Jamie Winter let fly from 35 yards. His shot beat Marshall but hit off the post and ran along the goal line before the ‘keeper gathered.
Seconds later referee Cook was at it again, booking Montrose’s Masson and the visitors’ Kane after a flare-up in the middle of the park.
Another Montrose counter-attack brought another opportunity when Johnston played in Boyle but the ‘keeper got to the ball first and gathered.
In 57 minutes Stirling was in the Montrose box after evading a couple of challenges but Wood saved his shot.
The Gable Endies missed a great opportunity in the 62nd minute. McGowan broke free of his marker and raced into the box. His shot was brilliantly saved by Marshall but came back to the unmarked Boyle who looked certain to score but he somehow managed to hit the far post.
Montrose were raging eight minutes later when Johnston held off the challenge of McKeown who then slipped to send the ball into the net with a low effort. Amazingly referee Cook, in keeping with his afternoon display, chalked off the goal for what he saw as pushing by the Montrose striker.
Stranraer brought on Moore for McColm.
The Blues took the lead in the 73rd minute. Grehan played in a pass to MALCOLM and he curled an excellent effort around Wood and into the far corner of the net.
With 10 minutes remaining Stranraer’s Gallagher was lucky to remain on the park for a body check on Masson with no effort made to play the ball. Referee Cook just saw fit to book the visitors’ right back.
Stranraer sealed victory in the 83rd minute. Montrose failed to clear a corner kick and when the ball landed at the feet of Sean WINTER he fired a low effort into the net with the aid of a deflection off Cameron.
Stranraer made changes, replacing Grehan with Shepherd, then Kane came off for Cochrane.
In stoppage time Jamie Winter became the third Montrose booking for a soft challenge on Winter.
Montrose: Wood, Crawford, Cameron, Crighton, Smart, Masson, Young, Winter, Boyle, Johnston, McGowan. Substitutes - Pierce, McPhee, Dimilta, Gordon and Andrews.