Montrose FC’s play-off chances are hanging by a thread after they crashed to a one-nil defeat against Clyde at Broadwood Stadium on Saturday.
The Gable Endies now find themselves three points behind fourth-placed Berwick with two games remaining after a poor run of form just when it really mattered.
The Borderers have two matches left, at home to Annan Athletic and away to Rangers while Montrose must look for six points from their final two games of the season, at home to Queen’s Park and away to Annan Athletic.
It is all the more galling considering they were nine points clear of fifth place after beating Queen’s Park on March 2.
The Gable Endies were the better side at Cumbernauld but didn’t take their chances and in the end were made to pay.
After the defeat by Elgin City Stuart Garden made two changes due to injury. John Gibson was ruled out with a shoulder ailment and Jamie Winter with a hip problem. In came Sandy Wood in goal and Ross McCord in central midfield.
On the bench were David Gray, Ricky McIntosh returning from injury, Jonathan Crawford, Scott Morton and under-19 goalkeeper Dean Easton.
Montrose started with the wind in their favour in the first half but before any real play could get under way Clyde’s Fitzpatrick was injured in a clash of heads with Lloyd Young. Thankfully he was able to continue after treatment.
In the fifth minute Clyde created an opening when a cross from Hay was headed wide by John Sweeney.
Three minute later the home side was awarded a free kick when Fitzpatrick was fouled. Keiran McDonald took the kick but the ball took a deflection and spun into the arms of Sandy Wood.
Boyle set up Garry Wood with the Links Park men’s first chance but he shot well over.
In the tenth minute Masson won Montrose a corner which was taken by McCord whose kick found Lloyd Young but his header was saved.
In the following minute a great ball from Johnston put Martin Boyle clear but he lost his footing at a crucial moment. This resulted in a corner, taken by McCord who won a further Montrose corner which he also took.
McCord was fouled, giving the Gable Endies a free kick in a good position. This time McCord found the head of Paul Watson but his header was again held by Barclay.
Next to have a go with 20 minutes gone was Terry Masson, who strode forward before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box that just went wide.
Two minutes later the same player collected the ball on the edge of the box but this time he sent it wide.
It was all Montrose and in the following minute some great play from Garry Wood allowed him to set up McCord but the midfielder shot wide.
With 28 minutes gone Martin Boyle won Montrose a corner off Callum Fordyce. McCord’s swinging kick found Paul Lunan but he could only head straight to Barclay.
On the half-hour mark Montrose won a free kick in a dangerous position 35 yards out when McCord was fouled. Watson took the kick but the wind took his effort and it sailed over the crossbar.
The visitors should have opened the scoring in the next minute Ross McCord went on a solo run and fired in a shot which Barclay saved but only pushed the ball straight to Wood who fired wide of the far post.
Johnston won Montrose a free kick when he was held back. McCord’s free found Young who headed it down to Watson at the back post but he could only volley straight into the arms of Barclay.
Clyde went close to opening the scoring in the 43rd minute. Left back Keiran McDonald broke free and fired in an effort which seemed netbound all the way but it smacked off the crossbar and over with Sandy Wood beaten.
On the stroke of half-time Clyde won a free kick just outside the box when Lunan fouled Fitzpatrick. Sandy Wood lined his wall up well and John Sweeney could only fire the ball into his arms.
Half-time: Clyde 0, Montrose 0.
Clyde had an early chance at the start of the second half when Sweeney met a Fitzharris cross, only to head the ball over the crossbar.
Montrose won a free kick in a dangerous position after Young was fouled by Sweeney. Watson fired in the kick but again it was straight at Barclay.
Clyde made the first switch of the afternoon with Pat Scullion in place of Daniel Fitzpatrick. Four minutes later they were forced to bring on Stefan McCluskey when Fitzharris appeared to pull a hamstring while running for the ball.
A great run from Lloyd Young took him past a couple of home players to find Garry Wood on the edge of the area. He made space for a shot but again fired straight at Barclay.
Despite having all of the play Montrose were hit by the sucker punch in the 63rd minute when Clyde opened the scoring. Terry Masson picked up his 14th booking of the campaign when he fouled McCluskey. McDonald’s free kick rattled off the underside of the crossbar and fell kindly to Pat SCULLION who, despite the attention of two Montrose players, headed the ball into the empty net.
Montrose immediately brought on Scott Morton for Scott Johnstone and going three up front.
At the same time Clyde made their final change with Kieran McGachie replacing Marc McCusker.
Montrose tried to find an equaliser and Martin Boyle collected a Young cross but he didn’t really test the ‘keeper.
In the 73rd minute Lloyd Young won a free kick when he was tripped by McDonald. Before Montrose could take the free kick Clyde’s Iain Gray was booked for dissent. Watson played the free kick to Ross McCord whose shot was saved once again.
Sandy Wood made a rare contribution in the 77th minute when a long-range effort from John Sweeney deflected off him for a corner.
In the 81st minute Paul Watson was booked for a foul on Keiran McDonald. Montrose sent on Ricky McIntosh for Watson.
The Gable Endies had a great chance to equalise when Masson found Scott Morton inside the box with an excellent pass, but the substitute’s effort crashed off the bar and away.
With six minutes left manager Stuart Garden made his final change, bringing on David Gray in place of Lloyd Young.
Mo’ had one final chance to grab a fully deserved equaliser in stoppage time when Terry Masson found himself with a shooting opportunity, but with only ‘keeper Barclay to beat at the angle he blasted the ball over the crossbar.
Montrose: S. Wood, McNally, Watson (R. McIntosh), Campbell, Lunan, McCord, Young (Gray), Masson, G. Wood, Boyle, Johnston (Morton). Substitutes not used: Crawford and Easton.