Montrose 0, Stranraer 6
MONTROSE suffered an unexpectedly heavy home defeat at the hands of Stranraer with the visitors hitting them for six in a one-sided second half that saw the hosts reduced to 10 men.
Although they had been the stronger side throughout the first half, Montrose inexplicably found themselves two goals down at the break.
Worse was to follow in the second half, with the Stair Park side extending their lead within two minutes of the restart.
They added a further three goals after Jonathan Smart’s straight red card for a brutal foul on Nathan Shepherd on the hour mark.
Montrose manager Ray Farningham stuck with Michael Andrews in goal, behind centre backs Alan Campbell and Jonathan Smart, with Sean Crighton at right back and Dougie Cameron at left back.
Terry Masson lined up alongside Stephen McNally in central midfield with Steven McPhee wide right and David McGowan on the left. Jonathan Crawford and Martin Boyle were selected in attack.
It was Crawford who had the first genuine chance to open the scoring, stepping up to take a sixth minute penalty after visiting goalkeeper David Mitchell upended Boyle in the box.
Crawford’s penalty was very poor though, flying two yards wide of the post.
He almost made instant amends for the mistake, connecting with a long Smart throw only for Mitchell to tip the header over the crossbar. From the corner that followed, Smart headed Cameron’s cross wide of the post.
Stranraer also came close in the early exchanges, with Frank McKeown heading wide from a corner.
The visitors then should have taken the lead in the 27th minute when Stuart McColm chested the ball down, burst into the box and slammed a shot against the outside of the post from just 10 yards out.
Sean Crighton’s aerial threat almost paid dividends 10 minutes before the break, his header from a Cameron corner was well held by Mitchell.
Just seconds later, Martin Boyle’s pace took him to the edge of the box, where he steadied himself before shooting wide of the goal.
That let-off proved crucial, and it took Stranraer only two more minutes to edge ahead.
Campbell hesitated in the middle of his own half, allowing McCOLM to rob him. The striker pushed to the goal line before cutting inside and curling the ball across Andrews and inside the far post.
Montrose appeared shellshocked and it took McCOLM only three minutes to double his and Stranraer’s tally.
Smart was caught in possession in his own half, allowing the striker to race through on goal, where he had the simple task of slipping the ball low past Andrews.
Crighton could have halved the deficit on the stroke of half time, but sent his free header into Mitchell’s arms after good work from McPhee.
Half-time: Montrose 0, Stranraer 2.
The match ended as a contest just two minutes after the break. Craig Malcolm took the ball to the goal line before cutting back to Chris AITKEN.
The midfielder slammed his shot against the underside of the crossbar and referee Greg Aitken awarded the goal after consulting with his assistant.
The Gable Endies best move of the second half came five minutes later when Cameron, McPhee and McGowan’s neat one-touch passing released Boyle in the box.
The young striker did well to get a shot in, but the ball rolled across goal and out for a goal kick.
Jonathan Smart added insult to injury on the hour mark with his sending off, collecting his third red card since joining Montrose in the summer.
Trailing by three goals and reduced to 10 men, Montrose collapsed in the remaining half hour.
Substitute Michael MOORE scored the fourth, poking the ball into the net from a Steven Noble cutback.
MALCOLM added the fifth, collecting Aitken’s knockdown and shooting past Andrews.
MOORE then added his second and Stranraer’s sixth to complete the rout, flicking home from a Shepherd corner.
Montrose: Andrews, Crighton, Cameron, Campbell, Smart, Masson, McPhee, McNally, Boyle, Crawford, McGowan (Pierce 62). Unused substitutes: Dimilta, Johnston and Wood.
Booked: Masson 21. Sent off: Smart 59
Stranraer: David Mitchell, Kane, Trialist (Noble 46), Durnan, McKeown, Aitken, Gallagher (Winter 65), Danny Mitchell, Malcolm, McColm (Moore 56), Shepherd. Unused substitutes: Murphy and Marshall.
Booked: Gallagher 64 and Danny Mitchell 70.