Montrose Football Club’s poor run of form continued on Saturday, as they went down tamely to East Stirlingshire in a match they really needed to win.
After the good performance at Gayfield the previous week, it was a totally different side which turned up to play this week and they can have little complaint with the result.
George Shields’ side failed to create clear-cut chances and a defensive error again cost them, as they were punished by a goal from former Gable Endies’ loan-signing David Greenhill, which consigned them to their third home defeat in a row. It is now one win in 16 matches for a side who are really struggling to regain their early season form.
Montrose suffered two blows during the week, and were without Paul Watson (broken arm) and Stephen Day, who broke his ankle in training two days before the match. With both having been ruled out for six to 10 weeks, their places were taken by Terry Masson and Graham Webster.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal and Crawford and Graham in full-back roles. Marvin Andrews made his home debut alongside Adam Harwood. Masson and McCord were in the middle with Johnstone and Webster offering width. Harkins sat behind captain Garry Wood in attack.
On the bench were Campbell, O’Neil, Deasley, Cavanagh, Sturrock and McGovern
Conditions were wild and wintery as East Stirlingshire got the match got under way.
In three minutes they created ant opening, when Greenhill passed wide to the trialist striker, whose shot appeared to take a deflection on its way past but no corner was given.
Seconds later, a goal-kick from McKenzie found Wood and he did well to win a corner kick. McCord’s corner found Andrews but he only managed to head wide of the post.
East Stirlingshire had another good chance in 11 minutes, when a Greenhill corner found Andrews who headed clear. The rebound fell to Neil McCabe, but his effort was cleared by Marvin Andrews.
In 15 minutes, Chris Townsley was booked for holding onto Garry Wood. Unfortunately, Ross McCord chipped his free kick into the arms of goalkeeper Richard Barnard.
East Stirlingshire were forced into a change in the 26 minutes, when their number six trialist was replaced by Ross Gilmour.
Montrose had hardly been seen in the visitors’ penalty area, but had a good chance in 36 minutes when Masson played the ball wide to Johnston who in turn found Crawford whose cross was blocked for a corner kick. Unfortunately, Montrose once again wasted the corner kick, taken by Ross McCord.
East Stirlingshire should have scored two minutes later, when a mistake by Adam Harwood put David McKenna through owith only Stuart McKenzie to beat, but the former Brechin City player screwed his shot wide of the far post.
In stoppage time, Ross McCord carved out an opportunity. He did the hard work when breaking into the box but only succeeded in chipping his final effort over the crossbar.
Half-time: Montrose 0, East Stirlingshire 0.
East Stirlingshire kept up the pressure in the second half and in 49 minutes a good run from Neil McCabe saw him win a corner kick which was taken by Greenhill. McGregor’s first shot was blocked by the home defence and when the ball fell to David McKenna he could only fire over the crossbar.
Webster won Montrose a corner, which was wasted by Ross McCord who over-hit.
Two minutes later a fine pass from Shire’s trialist striker found Greenhill, whose shot was blocked for a corner kick. Greenhill took the corner himself but McKenzie got up well to hold onto the ball.
In 57 minutes, East Stirlingshire centre-half David Bates was booked for a foul on Harkins. Harkins took the free kick himself, only for the ball to curl well wide of the goal.
It was no real surprise when East Stirlingshire opened the scoring in 59 minutes. A mistake on the half-way line by Harwood let in Ross Gilmour, who squared the ball across to the impressive DAVID GREENHILL who fired the ball low into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was no more than the visitors deserved.
The Gable Endies tried to hit back quickly and Paul Harkins went on a great run inside the area, showing some great footwork, only to see his shot blocked at the last minute. The ball fell to Johnston, who played it back into the path of Terry Masson who blasted the ball over the bar.
The Shire could have had a second goal in 70 minutes. The trialist got free down the right and his near-post cross was flicked towards goal by McKenna but McKenzie pulled off a good save.
Neil McCabe became the third visitor to be booked, for a centre-circle foul on Harkins.
Marvin Andrews, on his home debut, then headed on a goal kick from McKenzie but Scott Johnston just couldn’t force the ball home.
In 73 minutes, Montrose made their first change of the afternoon, when Bryan Deasley came on to replace Graham Webster.
Montrose immediately won a corner kick, which was taken by Paul Harkins. His in-swinger was met by the head of Marvin Andrews and the ball went just past the far post.
Two minutes later, East Stirlingshire brought on Michael Bolochoweckji to replace Chris Townsley, who had been injured in a challenge by Andrews inside the area.
Montrose’s best chance of the afternoon and their first real chance of the match arrived with six minutes left. A Graham shot was blocked for a corner taken by McCord. The ball was headed down by Andrews to Harwood, whose shot was blocked at point-blank range by Barnard in the away goal. From Harkins corner, Andrews saw his header held by Barnard.
The final piece of action came in stoppage time, as East Stirlingshire wasted some time by bringing on William Vidler for David McKenna.
Montrose: McKenzie, Crawford, Graham, Harwood, Andrews, Masson, Johnston, McCord, Wood, Harkins, Webster (Deasley) Substitutes not used: Campbell, O’Neil, Cavanagh, Sturrock and McGovern.