Montrose 4 Elgin City 1
Montrose Football Club moved back into the top four with a comprehensive beating of nearest rivals Elgin City at Links Park on Saturday.
Once the Gable Endies had grabbed an early goal through on-form striker Garry Wood there was only going to be one winner as the home side racked up their biggest home win of the season to get revenge for the early season heavy defeat at Borough Briggs.
Montrose were just too good on the day for Elgin City with their crisp passing and movement, with the visitors having no real answer to wave after wave of Montrose attacks.
It was the perfect response to last weekend’s poor display against Stirling Albion at Forthbank.
Manager Stuart Garden made one change to the side that had lost to Stirling, with Paul Watson coming in to replace Scott Johnston.
Montrose lined up with Gibson in goal and McNally and Watson in the full back positions. Crawford and Campbell were in central defence. The was a new look to the midfield with Masson and Ricky McIntosh on the flanks and Gray and Winter paired up in the middle of the park.
Martin Boyle and Garry Wood were in attack.
The bench saw the welcome return of Lloyd Young and he was joined by Leighton McIntosh, Scott Johnston, Ross McCord and Sandy Wood.
After a slight delay to allow the Elgin City goalkeeper Joe Malin to change the tape around his socks to black the match got under way in good conditions in front of a good crowd at Links Park.
Montrose had the ball in the net in the second minute when Paul Watson found the bottom corner from some 25 yards out but the assistant referee signalled for offside against Garry Wood in the middle of the six-yard area.
Two minutes later a McNally pass up the right-hand side of the park was flicked on by Wood and this nearly put Boyle through on goal, but an Elgin defender came across to clear.
Montrose kept up the early pressure on the visiting rear guard and won a free kick some 35 yards out when Harkins fouled Garry Wood. Jamie Winter stepped up to take the free kick and his low effort was tipped around the post by Malin.
The Gable Endies opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Stephen McNally played the ball up the park and GARRY WOOD outmuscled Elgin City’s Nicholson, rounded goalkeeper Malin and knocked the ball into the empty net for his eighth goal of the season.
Elgin created their first chance of the match in the following minute when Paul Harkins let fly from the edge of the area but John Gibson was equal to the task and he tipped the ball over the crossbar.
Montrose were playing some good stuff and in the 12th minute they almost scored again. Boyle played the ball wide to Masson on the right and he took it on before sending over a cracking first time cross which was headed over at point blank range by Garry Wood with Ricky McIntosh positioned just beside him in what appeared to be a better position.
Martin Boyle broke clear on a Winter pass but Nicholson managed to get back in time to block his effort and the ball went into the arms of ‘keeper Malin.
Garry Wood was then again fouled by McMullan in the 17th minute and it was from the consequences that Montrose grabbed a second goal. Paul Watson flighted in an excellent free kick that caused panic in the Elgin City penalty area. Terry Masson headed off the post from point-blank range and it fell kindly to STEPHEN McNALLY who lashed home the loose ball for his second goal in two matches.
Sixty seconds later McNally’s name was in the book for a deliberate trip on Daniel Moore. Moore took the free kick himself but Campbell was on hand to clear.
Mark Nicholson became the first Elgin City player to be booked, for a foul on Martin Boyle outside the box. Jamie Winter’s free kick was set for the top corner but ‘keeper Malin flew across the goal to pull off a great save. Montrose could make nothing of the subsequent two corners taken by Gray.
The bookings continued and Elgin’s McMullan was next to be carded for a late tackle on Terry Masson. McNally’s free kick was headed on by Campbell into the path of Boyle but he couldn’t get in a shot.
Montrose were finding holes in the Elgin City defence and Boyle played the ball into the path of the onrushing Masson whose 25-yard shot went flying over the crossbar.
Seconds later, Elgin City created a rare chance when Craig Gunn got on the end of a punt up the park but he could only find the roof of the net.
On the half-hour mark of an action-packed match Boyle got on the end of a Masson cross but he could only volley wide of the post.
However, MARTIN BOYLE wasn’t to be denied and he scored a third goal for Montrose 60 seconds later. A slide-rule pass from Watson put the 19-year-old striker through on goal. As Malin came out the youngster calmly stroked the ball into the far corner of the net.
Four minutes later Paul Watson became the next booking for a foul on Gunn.
In another lightning Montrose move up the right they almost added what would have been a deserved fourth goal. McNally raced forward and played in Masson. His cross found Boyle at the far post but his header was well saved by Malin.
The yellow cards continued and Jamie Winter became the third Montrose booking with four minutes of the half remaining for a late challenge on Moore.
Elgin City won a corner kick with two minutes of the half remaining.
Moore played in the outswinger which found Ross O’Donoghue but he could only shoot straight into the arms of Gibson.
Half-time: Montrose 3, Elgin 0.
The cards continued to flow and within 30 seconds of the second half starting Paul Harkins was booked for a crunching touchline tackle on Paul Watson.
It was Elgin City who had the first opening of the half when a through ball from Moore played in top scorer Stuart Leslie, back from suspension, but his shot was blocked for a corner kick.
In the 52nd minute Elgin City’s top player Daniel Moore let fly from 30 yards out but his effort went wide of the far post.
Three minutes later and it was Martin Boyle’s turn to go in the referee’s book after he continued to play on after the whistle had already been blown for offside.
The visitors came so close to pulling a goal back in the 56th minute but John Gibson somehow managed to get his fingers to Craig Gunn’s shot and tip it around the post.
On the hour mark Elgin City made their first change, bringing on striker Paul Millar for left back Paul McMullan.
A great piece of skill from the on-form Garry Wood took him clear of two Elgin City defenders but keeper Malin pulled off a great save to deny him a second goal of the afternoon.
Montrose scored their fourth goal of the afternoon in the 63rd minute with another well worked goal. Winter slid a pass through to Boyle on the right and, with the visitors claiming offside, the striker drew out the ‘keeper and played the ball across goal into the path of RICKY McINTOSH who blasted home his first goal for Montrose from 10 yards out.
Two minutes later Montrose won another free kick when Wood was pushed by Crighton. Gray’s free kick bounced up in the air inside the box only for Campbell to hook the ball wide.
Jonathan Crawford became the fifth Montrose player to be booked in the 68th minute when he fouled Gunn right on the edge of the box. Brian Cameron took the free kick but he curled it into the arms of Gibson.
Elgin City were continuing to look for a consolation goal and it almost came in the next minute but Crawford cleared an effort from O’Donoghue off the line from 10 yards out.
In the 72nd minute Elgin City made a second switch bringing off O’Donoghue and replacing him with Cieran MacLean.
Three minutes later Montrose almost made it five when Wood set up Winter to let fly from 35 yards out but his effort went wide of the far post.
In the 78th minute Montrose were given the chance to make it five when they were awarded a penalty kick. Boyle got on the end of a through ball by Wood and was tripped up inside the box by ex-Montrose favourite Sean Crighton. The referee sent off Crighton and pointed to the spot. After a debate between Winter and David Gray the latter who had scored three out of three penalties this season stepped up to take it only for his weakly hit effort to be saved by Malin.
Sixty seconds later Elgin City had pulled a goal back when PAUL MILLAR exchanged passes with Leslie before finding the bottom corner of the net.
In the 83rd minute Montrose made a double switch bringing on Lloyd Young after his return from Australia and Ross McCord in place of Stephen McNally and Watson who were both on a booking. This switch saw Masson and Ricky McIntosh move into the full back positions.
Sixty seconds later Leighton McIntosh was on in place of Boyle.
With a minute of the game remaining Terry Masson picked up his 12th booking of the season for a soft foul on Moore.
In stoppage time Lloyd Young was nearly in for the fifth goal after a mishit from Harkins but Malin got out to gather just in time.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time in a great football match Moore rattled the ball off the post as the Montrose goal led a charmed life.
Montrose: Gibson, McNally (McCord), Watson (Young), J. Crawford, Campbell, Gray, Masson, Winter, Boyle (L. McIntosh), G. Wood, R. McIntosh Substitutes not used – Johnston and S. Wood.