Montrose Football Club returned to winning ways on Saturday (December 7) when they defeated bottom of the table Queen’s Park in what was one of their poorest performances of the season.
At the end of the day it was the three points that was required and some resolute defending and a great second half strike from substitute Scott Johnston meant that this was achieved.
The victory moved Montrose up to fifth spot in the table, some four points behind joint leaders Clyde who they meet on Saturday in their final match before Christmas.
After the defeat by Peterhead, manager Stuart Garden made three changes to his line up.
Out went Scott Johnston, Graham Webster and Jonathan Crawford and into the side came Alan Campbell returning after a three month absence due to injury, Colin Wilson and new signing Jamie Reid who joined the club on a month’s emergency loan from Dundee on the Wednesday.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal; McNally and McIntosh were in the full back positions with Campbell and Wilson teaming up in central defence. Masson was in a wide left position with Jamie Reid playing out on the left.
McCord and Watson were the central midfield pairing. After playing in central defence against Peterhead, Garry Wood returned upfront alongside Deasley.
On the bench for Montrose was Johnston, Webster, Gray, Bell, Sturrock, Crawford and under 19 goalkeeper Cameron Johnstone, making his first appearance in the first team squad.
It was the home side who got the match underway at their new surroundings of the Excelsior Stadium, at Airdrie, in damp and dark conditions looking for only their second victory of the season.
In the sixth minute Montrose captain Garry Wood was injured, after he took an elbow into his ribcage following a solid challenge from James Brough. He was able to resume after treatment.
Two minutes later Montrose won a free kick, when Brough again fouled Wood but McIntosh’s kick was easily cleared.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action and in the 14th minute Ross McCord had Montrose’s first real effort at goal when he collected a loose pass but he could only send his drive wide of the far post from the edge of the area.
The game exploded into life in the following minute when David Anderson was yellow carded for a reckless challenge on Ricky McIntosh after his side had already been awarded a free kick for handball.
Before the free kick could be taken, Montrose substitute David Gray was yellow carded for dissent on the advice of the stand side assistant.
This then saw the strange site of referee Barry Cook bizarrely trying to look for a number on the back of the Montrose substitutes sub jacket.
When the free kick was finally taken, Stuart McKenzie firmly punched the ball clear to the edge of his box before the ball was cleared.
Garry Wood then had to leave the field with a bleeding nose and had to replace his jersey with a number 19 shirt.
In the 19th minute McIntosh fouled Queen’s Park’s Blair Spittal, but when the free kick came over McIntosh himself was able to clear the danger.
Queen’s Park had their first real chance of the match in the 25th minute when Spittal went on a dangerous run down the left but when his cross came over Conor McVey could only head well wide from inside the six yard box.
After Deasley collected a pass from Watson he won Montrose a corner kick but McCord’s corner kick was wasted by the visiting team.
Montrose had a let off on the half hour mark when a stray pass from Paul Watson put Spittal in but thankfully for Montrose the highly rated youngster could only curl an effort well over the crossbar.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining Montrose were forced into making a change when Garry Wood had to come off still suffering from the effects of his earlier injury and was replaced in attack by Scott Johnston.
In the 40th minute a run from Jamie Reid was halted by a challenge from Ross Fisher who was rightly booked by referee Cook.
In first half stoppage time Terry Mason became the fourth booking of the match for a crunching tackle on Spittal on the half way line.
Half time score: MONTROSE 0, QUEEN’S PARK
The second half got underway in driving rain. Montrose were immediately on the attack after Johnston latched onto a pass from Watson who won his team a corner kick. McCord took the corner but it caught in the wind a flew out for a bye kick.
Queen’s Park were awarded a free kick when McIntosh fouled Burns.
It seemed a soft award but justice was done when the same player fired his effort wide of goal.
Montrose made the break through with their first shot on target in the 52nd minute. McKenzie launched a kick up the park and SCOTT JOHNSTON raced past James Brough to fire low into the corner of the net from the edge of the area for his third goal of the season.
The Gable Endies then had a great chance to score a second in the following minute when Ross McCord beat a couple of challenges on the edge of the area and his 25 yard effort went inches wide of the post.
Montrose kept the pressure up and Johnston was fouled after he gathered a pass from McNally. Watson curled in the free kick but it went all the way through to Lochhead in the Queen’s goal.
On the hour mark, Queen’s Park’s Ricki Lamie became his side’s third booking of the afternoon when he held back Johnston. McCord took the free kick but Lochhead held on to the ball.
Montrose were forced to make another change in the 63rd minute when Colin Wilson was injured at a corner kick and Jonathan Crawford came on in his place.
Queen’s Park then made a double switch bringing on Joao Vitoria and Lee Davison in place of Conor McVey and Tony Quinn.
Bryan Deasley then did some magic on the right wing when he curled over a great cross, which only required a touch, but there was nobody on hand to knock the ball home.
Queen’s Park made a final change in the 78th minute when Liam Gormley came on in place of Michael Keenan.
Two minutes later, Queen’s Anderson passed inside to Spittal but the youngster could only turn and fire over the crossbar.
With two minutes of the match remaining Bryan Deasley gave away a free kick when he fouled Burns. Burns played the free kick to Spittal on the edge of the area and he was then brought down by McNally.
This time it was in a very dangerous position, but Stuart McKenzie saved Montrose when he tipped the free kick from Spittal around the post and out for a corner kick.
In an effort to waste some more time and to tighten up things manager Stuart Garden made his final change with Craig Bell taking the place of Ross McCord and slotting into a wide left position.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Watson gave Queen’s another opportunity when he fouled Gormley on the centre circle but Montrose held out and all three points were safely on their way back to Links Park.
Montrose: McKenzie, McNally, McIntosh, Campbell, Wilson (Crawford), McCord (Bell), Masson, Watson, G. Wood (Johnston), Deasley, Reid Subs – Webster, Gray, Sturrock, Johnstone