Montrose Football Club moved up to third in the League Two table on Saturday with a hard-fought single-goal victory over Elgin City at Borough Briggs.
After the defeat to Albion Rovers the previous week Montrose made one change with trialist goalkeeper Lucas Birnstingl taking the place of the suspended Stuart McKenzie. Birnstingl had been with Airdrieonians at the start of the season and had spent last season with Queen’s Park.
Montrose lined up with Birnstingl in goal with Masson and Robb the fullbacks. Crawford and Campbell were in central defence with Watson and McCord in the middle of the park. Deasley and Day were on the flanks. Wood and Harkins were in attack.
Subs for Montrose were new signing Leighton McIntosh who had rejoined the club from Dundee on Thursday; Webster, O’Neil, Cavanagh, Bell, Johnston and ‘keeper John McCafferty.
Montrose were straight into the attack and created a chance inside the first minute. Steven Robb survived a couple of challenges and slipped a pass to Garry Wood who burst into the box before dragging his shot wide of the far post.
Elgin City went close in the fifth minute when a cross from Moore was gathered by Brian Cameron inside the box, but he could only drag his shot wide of the far post with Birnstingl beaten.
It was end to end action and next to have a go was Steven Robb who played a one-two with Wood before volleying the ball straight into the arms of Fraser from 20 yards.
A great pass from Masson sent Day on his way down the left wing but he was brought down by Finlayson on the edge of the area. McCord whipped the free kick into the box but ‘keeper Fraser punched clear.
Paul Harkins became the first booking of the afternoon against his former club for a tackle on Mark Nicholson. Moore took the free kick but Marvin Andrews found himself in an offside position.
A slack kick out from Birnstingl put his team-mates in trouble and presented Sutherland with a shooting opportunity but he fired well wide.
Steven Robb was the second Montrose player to be booked in the 28th minute for another late challenge, this time on Matthew Cooper.
Elgin dangerman Craig Gunn ran along the face of the Montrose box before his shot was saved by Birnstingl.
In 38 minutes Paul Harkins won the ball on the far side and fired low across the goalmouth, It arrived at the feet of Deasley but it was on his right foot and he blasted wide.
On the stroke of half-time Montrose won a corner through Day but McCord’s kick was punched clear by Michael Andrews.
Half-time: Elgin 0, Montrose 0.
Montrose had a good chance to open the scoring two minutes into the second half. Ross McCord got the break of the ball at the edge of the area and slipped it wide to the unmarked Stephen Day but he snatched at it and fired wide.
In the 49th minute Montrose wasted a free kick and this allowed the home side to break up the park at speed. Sutherland squared to the normally deadly Craig Gunn but he shot wide.
Two minutes later Deasley fired over a low cross to Wood and his shot was beaten away only as far as the unmarked Paul Harkins who hooked an acrobatic effort over the crossbar from 10 yards.
With 52 minutes gone Elgin’s Archie McPhee was booked for a late tackle on Ross McCord.
McPhee fouled McCord again but referee Euan Anderson decided to take no action and the Elgin City player remained on the park.
Yellow cards were starting to mount up and in the 61st minute Elgin City captain Mark Nicolson was booked for dissent. And three minutes later Elgin full back Gordon Finlayson was booked for another foul on Stephen Day.
Montrose broke the deadlock in the 71st minute with a goal that had a large slice of luck about it. PAUL WATSON picked up the ball some 25 yards from goal. His strike appeared to being going past but it hit off Elgin City defender Matthew Cooper and spun the other way past the scrambling Michael Fraser and into the net for the midfielder’s second goal of the season.
Montrose immediately brought on Leighton McIntosh for Paul Harkins. Three minutes later Elgin made their first change with Graham Bayne replacing Archie McPhee.
Seconds later Montrose should have made it two. Wood knocked the ball through to Leighton McIntosh who outpaced Marvin Andrews but shot inches wide.
George Shields made a second substitute with Scott Johnston replacing Stephen Day.
Four minutes later and the substitutions for the afternoon were complete with Elgin making a double switch with Beveridge and Wyness coming on for full backs Finlayson and McHardy. Montrose brought on Stephen O’Neil for Ross McCord.
In the 80th minute trialist goalkeeper Lucas Birnstingl pulled off a tremendous stop after Shane Sutherland latched onto a pass with only the ‘keeper to beat but somehow he blocked the shot at the expense of a corner.
In the 83rd minute Scott Johnston slipped a pass through to McIntosh but this time his low shot went wide of the far post with Fraser beaten. Bryan Deasley became the third Montrose player to be yellow carded for a trip on Cameron with five minutes left.
On the stroke of full time Elgin assistant boss Graham Bayne was booked for dissent.
Montrose thought they had put the match to bed in stoppage time. A McIntosh shot was brilliantly saved by Fraser. The ball fell to Wood whose effort was also blocked but found Deasley at the back post who netted only for the offside flag to go up.
The final two bookings, in the fourth minute of injury time happened when Stephen O’Neil tried to stop home ‘keeper Fraser reaching the ball. Fraser reacted badly and pushed O’Neil to the ground. Referee Euan Anderson rightly booked them both before blowing for full time.
MONTROSE: Birnstingl, Masson, Robb, Crawford, Campbell, McCord (O’Neil), Deasley, Watson, Wood, Harkins (McIntosh), Day (Johnston) Subs not used : Webster, Cavanagh, Bell, McCafferty