DESPITE a worrying start Montrose fought back to secure a 4-2 win against Inverurie Locos in the first round of the Ramsdens Cup.
With a bumpy pre-season campaign behind them, the Gable Endies came out looking fresh and ready for a win. They started strongly against the Highland League side with a couple of chances within the first few minutes.
Then, 14 minutes in, Inverurie took the lead when Stuart McKAY fired a right-footed shot straight past Montrose ‘keeper Sandy Wood from 20 yards.
Montrose immediately responded with a low shot from Scott Johnston but it was held well by Stewart Gray.
In the 26th minute Montrose brought the score level when Paul WATSON curled a free kick in off the post from 25 yards out.
Then on the half-hour mark Montrose had a chance to take the lead but Terry Masson’s 25-yard shot was also benied by ‘keeper Gray.
Half-time: Montrose 1, Inverurie Locos 1.
With the score level at half-time, Montrose knew they had a fight on their hands to get through to the second round.
Two chances for the home side came in quick succession with Martin Boyle’s low shot tipped by Gray. swiftly followed by the same outcome for Paul Lunan’s header.
Inverurie, keen to regain their lead, looked like they might get another goal in the 59th minute but Steven Park’s shot hit the crossbar.
This was followed by a free kick by Simon Scott but his shot from the edge of the box sailed over the crossbar.
But it was on the hour mark that Montrose’s fortunes changed when BOYLE got the ball past Gray at close range.
Now in the lead with two goals to one, Montrose looked keen to get more.
And they didn’t have long to wait when Man of the Match Garry WOOD drilled the ball in past Gray just six minutes later.
Montrose got yet another goal with just 10 minutes to go before full time bringing the score to 4-1.
Boyle was fouled in the box by Kieran Adams but referee Kevin Graham waved play on. Then MASSON, with an assist from Garry Wood, fired the ball into the empty net.
Inverurie refused to back down without a fight and they took a late consolation goal when Mark SOUTAR beat Sandy Wood by just poking the ball through his legs and into the net.
Montrose could have made it 5-2 in the closing gasps of the game but trialist Brian Clark was denied by Gray three times in a row.
Full time: Montrose 4, Inverurie Locos 2
Montrose: Sandy Wood, Stephen McNally, Paul Watson, Paul Lunan, Alan Campbell, Terry Masson, Lloyd Young, Craig McLeish, Martin Boyle, Garry Wood, Scott Johnston. Subs: Jonathan Crawford, Brian Clark, David Gray, Scott Gordon, Dean Easton.
Inverurie: Stewart Gray, Steven Park, Simon Scott, Clark Bain, Kieran Adams, Ryan Broadhurst, Neil McLean, Graeme Stewart, Andy Bagshaw, Stuart MacKay, John Maitland. Subs: Scott Begg, Jack Strachan, Mark Soutar, Marc Young.
Montrose boss Stuart Garden said: “Obviously I’m happy with the win.
“I think we played okay but we can play better than that.
“It was a tricky one but I think we did well especially in the seoncond half but it was good to get a win.
“Defensively we were okay. Sandy made a mistake with the first goal and Alan Campbell slipped with the second one, if he hadn’t then he would have stopped it.”
Montrose are now looking ahead to next Saturday’s Scottish Communities League Cup where they will face first division side Cowdenbeath.
Garden said: “They are a decent side and have just been promoted to the first division but I think we are capable of winning it. It’s a step up in standard from last Saturday but I’m confident we can do well.”
Earlier this week Montrose were drawn against Raith Rovers in the second round of the Ramsdens Cup with the tie to take place at Stark’s Park on Tuesday, August 14 at 7.45pm.
Garden said: “This will be a tricky one too as they are a decent side.
“It’s a hard tie but I’m confident about it, we shouldn’t be overawed by it.”