Montrose Football Club stretched their unbeaten run to six matches on Saturday when they became the first side this season to beat Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park.
In the only game to beat the frosty conditions, Montrose did it the hard way by coming from behind to beat the Borderers and move to third spot in the table, equal on points with Elgin City who remained second on goal difference from manager Stuart Garden’s side.
This was a tough encounter on a difficult pitch with the match swinging from end to end in the first half, before Montrose took control in the second period, sealing all three points with two late encounters.
After the 2–0 home victory over Peterhead the previous week Montrose were unchanged, right down to the substitutes with captain Paul Lunan still ruled out with an ankle injury.
Berwick Rangers got the match under way at a frosty but perfectly playable Shielfield Park, and forced an early corner kick which was taken by Currie but cleared by the Montrose defence.
Montrose won a corner in the sixth minute through R. McIntosh. Masson took the kick but it was too long and, after Young fired the ball back across goal, Berwick Rangers cleared.
The home side opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Gielty won the ball off Young and he played a pass through to top scorer LAVERY who raced into the box and managed to slip the ball past S. Wood to net.
Montrose didn’t have to wait to long for the equaliser which came two minutes later. A G. Wood cross was headed out for a corner kick by Currie. Masson’s corner found Watson inside the box and he headed the ball down to L. McIntosh who knocked the ball into the net from close range for his fifth counter of the season,
G. Wood then raced through the Berwick Rangers side before finding Winter with a cutback, but the captain wasted the chance by blazing over the crossbar.
Berwick Rangers thought they had regained the lead in the 15th minute when a shot from Currie hit the bar and Ferguson was on hand to head the ball home, but the terrace side assistant Gavin Thomson flagged for offside.
The end-to-end nature of the match continued and Montrose on a free kick some 35 yards out after Leighton L. McIntosh was fouled by Brydon. Watson took the free kick but ‘keeper McCaldon punched clear.
J. Crawford picked up a booking for a tackle on the far side after Berwick Rangers threatened to break clear of the Gable Endies’ defence.
In the 19th minute Currie tested S. Wood again with a great strike from 20 yards but the visitors’ ‘keeper saved well.
In the 22nd minute Montrose took the lead with a superb goal. Masson won the ball in midfield with a great tackle. He played it to G Wood who continued forward and sprayed a pass wide to Young on the right wing. He played the ball into the path of WINTER who found the corner of the net from 25 yards with a great low effort. It was the captain’s third goal of the season.
Montrose forced three corners in succession in the 26th minute but each time they could not find a way past the McCaldon and the home defence.
Two minutes later a pass inside from Winter found L. McIntosh but from 20 yards the striker fired into the arms of McCaldon.
On the half-hour mark L. McIntosh returned the favour and won a free kick which was taken by Winter but the ball went out of play.
With ten minutes of the half remaining Ricky McIntosh found G. Wood inside and he set up Winter who sent a shot fizzing over the Berwick Rangers crossbar.
In the 38th minute Montrose passed up a great chance to make it three. A great Watson cross was missed by the home defence and put the ball on a plate for Masson but he somehow missed from point blank range. The ball fell to Young, unmarked at the far post. From a yard out he fired wide when it seemed easier to score.
Berwick could have equalised in the 40th minute. A free kick from Currie caused an almighty scramble in the Montrose box and Sandy Wood somehow managed to hook away a shot from Gielty on the goal line. From McDonald’s corner kick Townsley powerfully headed over the crossbar.
Young became the second Montrose player to be booked in the 42nd minute when he made sure Gielty wouldn’t go any further as he broke clear from the half-way line. Currie’s free kick was brilliantly touched around the post by S. Wood.
Half-time: Berwick 1, Montrose 2
Montrose had an early chance in the second half. L. McIntosh found McNally whose cross was headed over the crossbar by G. Wood from 10 yards out.
In the 53rd minute L. McIntosh picked up a booking for a late tackle in the centre circle
Four minutes later Berwick opened up the Montrose defence when Gielty found Lavery but he was in an offside position.
Berwick were still looking for an equaliser and after Lavery turned Watson he raced clear only to fire well wide of the near post.
The-end-to-end nature of the game continued and this time it was the turn of L. McIntosh to set up his strike partner G. Wood, but he had no composure and blasted well over the bar.
Montrose made their first change of the afternoon in the 70th minute when Johnston came on to replace L. McIntosh.
Four minutes later Berwick Rangers made a double switch with Morris and Addison coming on to replace Janczyk and Ferguson.
With 15 minutes left, Johnston won Montrose a free kick when he was tripped. Watson curled in the free kick and McCaldon did well to move to his left to tip the ball around the post.
In the 80th minute Montrose won another free kick in a similar position when Gielty was booked for a foul on Winter. Watson again took the free kick, this time McCaldon couldn’t hold onto the ball and JOHNSTON was on hand to head into an unguarded net.
The Montrose players were screaming for a penalty kick two minutes later when G. Wood was clearly tripped inside the box after he played a one two with Johnston, but referee Aitken waved play on.
The Gable Endies players need not have worried as they sealed a great away victory with goal number four in the 84th minute. YOUNG broke clear on the right inside the box and after his first effort was blocked he picked up the rebound and blasted a low effort into the corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
There was still time for the home side to make one more change as O’Brien came on for Gielty.
Nothing could take the gloss off a fine away performance in difficult conditions.
Montrose: S. Wood, McNally, Watson, J. Crawford, Campbell, Winter, Young, Masson, L. McIntosh (Johnston), G. Wood, R. McIntosh. Substitutes not used – McLeish, Gray, Morton and D. Crawford.