Montrose remain fourth in the SPFL League Two despite a 5-1 disaster against Arbroath at Links Park on Saturday.
Tough conditions saw the sides on an equal footing for much of the first half despite Montrose going into the break 0-1 down. But a goal from visiting ‘keeper David Crawford was the catalyst for the game to unravel for Montrose.
Montrose boss George Shields made four changes to his side with Adam Harwood making his Montrose debut after signing on loan from Dundee United and Alan Campbell and Ross McCord back in the starting line-up. They replaced Stephen O’Neil, Terry Masson and Leighton McIntosh who all started from the bench. Mr Shields was without first choice ‘keeper Stuart McKenzie once again after he was sent off after two minutes against Queen’s Park the previous Saturday.
Canadian Lucas Birnstingl stepped up between the posts and was called into action in the first minute following an attempt on goal by Arbroath loanee Dylan Carreiro.
Some decent efforts followed for either side in the opening stages with the conditions not causing as many problems as has been feared at first.
Ten minutes in, the visiting ‘keeper was called into action for the first time following a Paul Watson drive but it was caught well.
Arbroath took the lead just after the 15-minute mark when Simon MURRAY scored from close range.
With Arbroath starting to dominate, Montrose began to look less effective and there was little more opportunity for them to score until a Garry Wood shot that failed to hit the target.
Murray came close to finding the net again in the 35th minute but his attempt was saved well by Birnstingl. The last clear opportunity of the half again came from Arbroath but Birnstingl was quick to deny Paul McManus.
Half-time: Montrose 0, Arbroath 1.
Hard-working Bryan Deasley came out for the second half looking determined to find Montrose’s equaliser. But a 46th minute effort failed to find the net.
CARREIRO, looking dangerous, called Birnstingl into action moments later and was denied once only to score three minutes later from close range.
Birnstingl did well a minute later to block a Bobby Linn shot.
Just before the hour mark Scott Johnston picked up a penalty for Montrose after being fouled by Kevin Nicoll in the box. Skipper WOOD stepped up and fired the ball past Crawford.
Mr Shields made his first change of the game, replacing Bryan Deasley with Leighton McIntosh. Arbroath boss Allan Moore then swapped goal scorer Simon Murray with Kevin Buchan.
Arbroath were looking like they were getting the better of the home side with numerous efforts at goal over the next ten minutes. Watson called Crawford into action once again but was unlucky to see his effort thwarted once again.
With just under 20 minutes to go Alan Campbell picked up the first booking of the game when he saw yellow for unsporting behaviour.
In the 77th minute came the first episode of the farcical closing stages. Arbroath ‘keeper CRAWFORD’s free kick of a moving ball carried in the wind, bouncing once and straight through Birnstingl’s arms into the Montrose net to give him his first career goal.
Five minutes later the Montrose ‘keeper was sent off following a straight red for a bad foul leaving the side currently without a ‘keeper to face Clyde on November 8.
Wood stepped into goal with his first action being to pick the ball out of the net following McMANUS’s penalty.
Arbroath made their final substitution when Jonathan Lindsay replaced Scott McBride.
Almost two minutes into added time Arbroath added insult to injury when McMANUS’s right-footed shot crashed into the bottom left corner following an assist from Kevin Buchan.
Stephen Day picked up a booking for Montrose for dissent just before the final whistle.
Montrose: Birnstingl, Crawford, Graham, Campbell (Day), Harwood, McCord (Masson), Webster, Watson, Wood, Deasley (McIntosh), Johnston. Subs not used: O’Neil, Cavanagh, Harkins and McCafferty.