Mo squad on show in first pre-season friendly

Montrose 1

Inverurie Loco Works 0

Montrose FC started their build up to the new season with their first pre-season friendly against Highland League Inverurie Loco Works.

In the sweltering heat of Links Park the hosts came out on top thanks to an early goal from Paul Watson.

It could have been more in the first half but Montrose didn’t take their chances and in the end had to settle for just the one goal.

The match became more of a fitness exercise with Montrose and Inverurie giving a run-out to all players available to them on the day.

With players injured and on holiday, manager Stuart Garden gave places in his line-up to four trialists who had spent the pre-season training with his side. There was also a start for 16-year-old striker Kieran Sturrock.

The Inverurie line up contained a couple of former Montrose players in goalkeeper Andy Reid and centre half Kieran Adams.

The match was barely two minutes old when Montrose opened the scoring with a wonder strike. PAUL WATSON picked up the ball on the left flank and with everyone, including goalkeeper Andy Reid, expecting a cross to Johnston in the middle, he let fly from 35 yards out almost on the touchline and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

In the fifth minute a great turn from Young on the right allowed him to get in a cross but Watson could only head over from point blank range.

Youngster Sturrock then played in Johnston for a shooting opportunity but he sliced his shot wide and another chance was gone.

In the 13th minute Sturrock battled for possession and found the Number 8 trialist but he fired an effort from 30 yards over the visitors’ crossbar.

Four minutes later Montrose had a let-off when a slack kick out by Sandy Wood found Greg Mitchell. The home defence got back and his shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide for a corner kick.

Montrose won a penalty in the 31st minute. Sturrock outpaced Adams and when the striker tried to knock the ball over the defender he handled. On the advice of his assistant, referee Mike Roncone pointed to the spot.

Kieran Sturrock took the penalty but he didn’t strike the ball hard enough and Andy Reid got down to save at the post.

Montrose were keeping up the pressure and Young this time found Johnston onside. He squared to Watson but this time he shot well over.

Sturrock was having a fine 45 minutes and his time he twisted and turned inside the area to get in a good strike which was blocked by an Inverurie Locos player.

Half-time: Montrose 1, Inverurie 0.

Montrose made their first change at the start of the second half, replacing goalscorer Paul Watson with Ricky McIntosh, now a fully signed up Gable Endie.

In the 52nd minute Inverurie made a double switch, with Ryan Keir and a trialist replacing Andy Low and Neil McLean.

On the hour-mark Montrose made more changes, bringing on David Gray, Jamie Winter, Garry Wood and new goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie with trialist No. 6, Kieran Sturrock, Scott Johnston and Sandy Wood going off.

Winter was quickly into action and his hanging cross found the head of Ricky McIntosh but he could only direct his effort wide of the post.

The visitors had a rare opportunity when Dean Donaldson got in a header but his effort went over the crossbar.

A mix up in the home defence almost gave the visitors an equaliser but last season’s top scorer Neil Gauld saw his shot go past the post after McKenzie had missed the ball.

Montrose trialist left back almost got on the scoresheet with 20 minutes remaining but Andy Reid did well to get down and block his effort.

In the 73rd minute Montrose made a double substitution, bringing on Under-19 player Ryan Winter, and David Beedie, newly called up into the first team squad. They came on to replace trialists number 3 and 8.

With 15 minutes remaining Ricky McIntosh went on a mazy run down the left flank and fired in a great shot which Reid was again equal to.

Montrose were trying hard to grab a second goal as the heat began to take its toll. Garry Wood out-muscled two defenders on the edge of the area before he chipped the ball onto the roof of the net.

There was one final chance for Montrose to score a second. David Beedie linked up with Gray and the youngster, playing at full back, broke into the box and curled in a great effort which Reid again did well to push around the post.

Montrose – S. Wood (McKenzie), Crawford, trialist (Beedie), Campbell, trialist, trialist (Gray), Young, trialist (R. Winter), Sturrock (J. Winter), Johnston (G. Wood) and Watson (McIntosh).