Ten man Montrose FC recovered from the loss of early goals in both halves of the match to come away with what was a deserved point against early league pacesetters East Stirlingshire at Ochilview Park on Saturday (December 28).
Some 48 hours after the disappointment of the home Annan Athletic fixture, the Gable Endies put in a spirited display in a match that was a far better spectacle than the dull Boxing Day clash. Manager Stuart Garden put the same 11 back onto the park looking for an improved display.
In the opening minute, Shire left winger Max Wright was warned by the referee or a foul on Masson. Watson swung over the free kick but the home defence cleared.
It was East Stirlingshire who opened the scoring, Wright crossed from the right and despite the attention of three Montrose defenders, Calum GALLAGHER was on hand to bullet home a header from six yards out. The following minute, Campbell fouled Gallagher giving the home side a free kick. Wright kick was punched behind by McKenzie for a Shire corner. Glasgow’s corner was headed behind by Bell for another this time fruitless Shire corner kick.
Montrose equalised when they were awarded another free kick after Bolochoweckyj fouled Wood. Terry Masson curled over the free kick over, Campbell hooked the ball onto Garry WOOD who turned on the edge of the area to fire into the bottom corner for his third goal of the season.
Graham Webster took hold of the ball some 25 yards out, took a couple of strides forward before smacking his shot off the crossbar with keeper Hay beaten. The rebound fell into the path of Deasley but he didn’t catch the ball properly and fired straight into the arms of Hay.
Montrose won their first corner on the 41st minute, but Jamie Reid’s cross was easily cleared by the home defence straight to Masson who was fouled by Maxwell. Watson free kick was headed behind for corner kick but Reid’s kick came over only for the Montrose attack to be penalised for pushing.
With two minutes of the half remaining, a lobbed pass forward by Masson was headed on by Deasley into the path of Wood but he couldn’t connect with the ball. In the final minute of the half, Scott Maxwell of East Stirlingshire was booked for a late tackle on Scott Johnston.
Half time: Montrose 1, East Stirlingshire 1.
Shire made a substitution bringing on club captain Kevin Turner for Jordan McKechnie.
East Stirlingshire were awarded another free kick when Campbell fouled Gallagher. Michael Herd took the free kick but hit the Montrose wall.
McKenzie dropped the corner but managed to clear the ball out wide where it was crossed back into the area and Iain THOMSON was on hand to side foot home from six yards out.
Montrose won a free kick when Thomson fouled Webster. Watson took the kick from 35 yards out but smacked the ball into the Shire wall. Stuart McKenzie saved Montrose once again with a great stop to tip wide a shot from Max Wright. Two minutes later, Kevin Turner saw his shot deflected wide for another Shire corner kick. Wright took the kick but Thomson headed wide.
A Reid corner kick fell to Scott Johnston on the edge of the Shire area and his first time effort went just over the crossbar.
Garry Wood went on a strong run through the middle of the park and slipped the ball wide to Graham WEBSTER who took a couple of touches forward before firing a great 25 yard strike into the bottom corner. Montrose thought they had scored a third two minutes later when Reid knocked home a Deasley cross, but the whistle had already gone for a tight call on the Montrose striker.
In the 62nd minute Terry Masson became the first Montrose player to be booked for a trip on Wright. When the free kick came into the box Bolochoweckyj headed over. Montrose made a change seconds later, bringing on Jonathan Crawford for Luke Johnston who had been carrying an injury from Thursday. Four minutes later, David Gray came on to replace Jamie Reid on the left flank.
In the 70th minute Montrose had a let off when a looping header from substitute Kevin Turner rebounded off the underside of the bar. The following minute, Shire made a double switch with Glasgow and O’Donoghue being replaced by MacGregor and Greenhill.
The game exploded into life in the 74th minute when Montrose were denied what looked a clear penalty after Wood appeared to be tripped by Bolochoweckyj. Max Wright raced clear up the flank only to be flattened by a crunching tackle by Terry Masson. Both benches were in uproar and once the dust had settled, Masson was correctly shown a red card and Stuart Garden was sent to the stand by referee Graham for dissent.
Montrose then had a let off when a shot from Kevin Turner was cleared off the line by Gray, but thankfully into the arms of McKenzie.
In the 85th minute, Michael Bolochoweckyj was finally yellow carded for yet another foul on Garry Wood.
Montrose then made a change taking off goalscorer Webster and replacing him with Ricky McIntosh.
In the final minute of the match, a mistake by McIntosh gave Herd the ball and he found Wright inside the area but McKenzie pulled off another great save to keep the ball out. In stoppage time, the home side won a further three corner kicks as they tried to find away past McKenzie but the Montrose defence held firm to gain a deserved away point.
Montrose: McKenzie, Masson, Bell, Campbell, L. Johnston (Crawford), Webster (McIntosh), Johnston, Watson, G. Wood, Deasley, Reid (Gary) Subs (not used): Bonar, Sturrock and S. Wood