A Paul Watson brace was enough to earn Montrose a 2-1 win over Highland Leaguers Buckie Thistle in their second pre-season game.
Despite the visitors’ having most of the chances throughout much of the first half, the Gable Endies responded well in the second 45.
Six minutes into the game, Buckie Thistle forced Montrose ‘keeper Stuart McKenzie into action but he caught the ball well.
Moments later, Watson responded, but fired high over the bar from 18 yards.
Just past the quarter-hour mark, the second of two chances for Montrose came and went after a Ross McCord corner was headed wide by Alan Campbell.
A minute later, an opportunistic punt by Shaun Caroll deep into the half went wide for Buckie.
In the 20th minute, Lewis McKinnon’s shirt pulling at Garry Wood saw the home side awarded a free kick, which was taken by Watson and cleared with a header by the visiting defence.
However, as the Highland League outfit continued to push forward, it was clear they would be finding the net sooner rather than later.
And in the 26th minute, a well-taken shot by Chris ANGUS fired them into the lead.
Taking confidence, it looked like the visitors might squeeze in another before the half was out.
Just after the 30-minute mark, a good run by Liam Baxter up the middle of the park saw his clear shot from 18 yards whistle just past the left hand side of the post.
A minute later, Watson almost levelled for Montrose, but visiting ‘keeper Kevin Main was quick to catch well.
Montrose continued to push, but with just over five minutes of the first half to go, a chance for Masson was blocked.
The visitors looked dangerous after a corner in the 43rd minute, but Watson headed the ball to safety.
A minute later, it looked like Montrose would be on level footing when Darren Wood came close to heading into his own net, but it was parried away by Main.
Half-time: Montrose 0, Buckie Thistle 1.
Apart from the two goals, much of the second half action was taken up by the frequent substitutions that characterise pre-season games.
Montrose boss George Shields made two changes at the break, with Colin Wilson and Kyle McLeod replacing Scott Webster and Ross McCord.
Buckie Thistle made one change as Bob Duncan replaced Darren Wood.
Two minutes into the second half, McLeod was making an impact with a good shot, only to see it just miss the right side of the post.
A few minutes later, Scott Johnston also came close for the visitors, but he fired right into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Moments later, it was clear Montrose’s blood was up as they looked to level the scores ,but another Watson attempt was parried clear by Main.
However, his efforts were rewarded less than a minute later when WATSON fired into the net at close range to make it 1-1.
In the 56th minute, Buckie Thistle replaced Shaun Carrol with Jay Cheyne while Montrose replaced Stephen Day and Terry Masson with Kieran Sturrock and Graeme Webster.
More substitutions came in the following minutes, with Buckie Thistle replacing Stephen Gaul with Greg Alexander and Drew Copland coming on for Craig Macmillan.
Meanwhile, Montrose replaced Craig Bell with Colin Wilson, and Erik Thomson took the place of Scott Johnston.
With just over 20 minutes to go, a well-taken free kick by McLeod was palmed away by Main.
Garry Wood was then subbed off to be replaced by Jamie Hamilton for Montrose; and shortly afterwards Jonny Crawford was replaced by Ryan Scanlan in the last home substitution of the game.
A Watson free kick with just under 15 minutes left looked like it might reap rewards, but it was sent straight into the ‘keeper’s arms.
But on the 80 minute mark, a Hamilton free kick was met by WATSON, who fired in to take the Gable Endies into the lead 2-1.
With Montrose starting to look brighter in the closing stages of the game, a Sturrock header was nodded straight to Main in the last clear chance of the clash.
Montrose: Stuart McKenzie, Scott Webster, Craig Bell, Jonathan Crawford, Alan Campbell, Ross McCord, Terry Masson, Paul Watson, Garry Wood, Scott Johnston, Stephen Day. Substitutes: John McCafferty, Kieran Sturrock, Erik Thomson, Colin Wilson, Jamie Hamilton, Graham Webster, Ryan Scanlan, Kyle McLeod, GK Stephen O’Neill.
Buckie Thistle: Kevin Main, Ben Stewart, Darren Wood, Donnie Munro, Lewis McKinnon, Neil Davidson, Chris Angus, Shaun Carrol, Craig Macmillan, Liam Baxter, Stephen Gaul. Substitutes: Jay Cheyne, Drew Copland, Greg Alexander, Bob Duncan, GK Daniel Bell.