Montrose Football Club continue to look for their first away win of the season after they were crushed by Elgin City at Borough Briggs on Saturday in a match re-arranged from Boxing Day.
This was a truly shocking result from the Gable Endies who started the match knowing that victory would have moved them above Elgin City and into a play-off place.
However, once the home side took an early lead there was going to be only one winner as they totally outplayed Montrose from start to finish, handing out the visitors’ heaviest defeat at Borough Briggs since the Highland League side joined the league.
After last week’s home victory over East Stirlingshire, manager Stuart Garden named an unchanged line-up right down to the substitutes. New signing from Airdrie United Scott Morton was listed as a signed player for the first time after two appearances as a trialist.
Ricky McIntosh picked up a booking in the opening minute for Montrose after he gave away a free kick on the edge of the box, straight from Elgin City’s centre.
In the fifth minute Gunn got in a shot for the home side but Gray blocked the danger.
Two minutes later Montrose were forced into an early change, taking off the injured Lunan, replacing him with McGuire in the centre of defence.
In the eighth minute David Niven went close for Elgin with a close range effort which went over the crossbar.
Montrose had their first opening of the match in the tenth minute when Leighton McIntosh fired in a shot which Niven blocked.
The Gable Endies forced a couple of corner kicks which were taken by Gray but on each occasion the home defence cleared the danger.
In the 16th minute Mason produced a left-footed effort at goal which went just over the crossbar.
Ex-Montrose player Crighton gave away a free kick for a foul on Leighton McIntosh. McLeish took the free kick but fired his effort over the crossbar.
McIntosh had another opportunity as Montrose pressed forward but he just missed the far corner of the net.
Despite the pressure it was Elgin City who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when LESLIE gave them the advantage after just 22 minutes with a left-footed strike from six yards which wrong-footed Crawford as the ball sailed into the bottom corner. Sixty seconds later Masson became the second Montrose player to be booked.
In the 25th minute Leslie went close for Elgin City again with a header from inside the box. Montrose tried to hit back and Masson had another shot saved by Gibson.
Four minutes later an effort by Mark Nicholson came close for the home side but his effort flew past David Crawford’s far post.
A corner from Daniel Moore caused the Montrose defence problems but McGuire was on hand to clear the danger.
Young gathered a corner from McLeish but his shot was easily saved by Gibson in the Elgin City goal.
Elgin City doubled their lead in the 35th minute when MOORE scored direct from a corner kick which was totally misjudged by Crawford as it ended up in the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season, leaving Montrose with it all to do.
If Montrose thought that was bad it got worse in first half stoppage time when LESLIE turned home a Cameron cross from inside the area for his second goal of the afternoon and Elgin’s third.
Half-time: Elgin 3, Montrose 0.
Montrose came out fighting at the start of the second half. Gray let fly from 25 yards in the 47th minute and his shot just cleared the crossbar.
Seconds later McLeish took an inswinging corner kick but Leighton McIntosh fouled ‘keeper Gibson as he attempted to gather the ball.
In the 50th minute Crighton almost scored against his former club but from six yards out the ball went wide.
The Gable Endies thought they had pulled a goal back when McGuire headed home an inswinging corner kick from Gray but referee Northcroft disallowed it for an incident only he could see.
Montrose did get a lifeline back into the game in the 58th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick for the second match in a row. Referee Northcroft adjudged that Crighton had hand balled and GRAY scored his third goal of the season from the penalty spot with an impressive strike.
The home side tried to hit straight back but Ricky McIntosh did well to clear from a shot from Duff.
On the hour-mark Elgin City found the net for a fourth time when NICOLSON hit the top corner from 25 yards out with David Crawford well beaten after the midfielder had made space for the curling effort.
Montrose made a change with Morton coming on to replace McLeish as the Gable Endies tried to get back into the game.
In the space of a minute David Crawford pulled off a couple of good stops from both Cameron and Gunn.
Leslie had a goal disallowed for offside.
With 20 minutes to go the embarrassment continued for the Gable Endies as Elgin City scored goal number five. Moore provided the cross from the left and LESLIE was on hand to complete his hat-trick with a close range header.
In the 76th minute Elgin City brought on Millar for hat-trick hero Leslie and at the same time MacLeod replaced Cameron. Two minutes later Elgin City made a final change with McLean replacing Niven.
Within a minute substitute McLEAN scored Elgin City’s sixth goal of the afternoon side footing home from close range.
Montrose: D. Crawford, McNally, R. McIntosh, J. Crawford, Lunan (McGuire), Masson, Gray, McLeish (Morton), L. McIntosh, G. Wood, Young. Substitutes not used – Johnston, Winter and S. Wood.