Nine-man Montrose sent spinning out of the cup

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Three first half goals and two red cards saw Montrose succumb to a comprehensive defeat in their first competitive match of the season.

Strikes from former Montrose man Andy Rodgers, Rory McAllister and James Stevenson had Peterhead in front at the break, while Montrose’s Graham Webster and Garry Wood were both shown straight red cards either side of half-time.

For their first match of the new season, the Links Park men gave competitive debuts to summer signings Steven Robb, Ross Graham and Stephen O’Neil with a further two Danny Cavanagh and Stephen Day on the bench.

There was also a place on the bench for ex-Elgin City Paul Harkins, who was listed as a trialist.

Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal, with Webster and Bell in full back positions. Campbell teamed up with Graham in central defence.

The Montrose midfield consisted of O’Neil on the right and Watson on the left, with Robb and McCord in the centre of midfield, with Wood and Johnston in attack.

The bench consisted of Masson.Cavanagh, Deasley, Day, Sturrock, Harkins and goalkeeper John McCafferty.

The Gable Endies had sought to take the match to their League One opponents early on, Ross McCord sending a free kick over the Peterhead wall and forcing visiting goalkeeper Graeme Smith to make a save.

But it took only five minutes for Peterhead to open the scoring, ANDY RODGERS sending a glancing header in at the far post, with Ross Graham unable to clear off the line.

Montrose forward Scott Johnston was given the chance to equalise 10 minutes later when he was sent clear down the right, but he made life difficult for himself with a heavy first touch and could only drag his shot wide of the target.

Peterhead capitalised on the let-off, with RORY McALLISTER being sent clear on goal and slipping a shot into Stuart McKenzie’s bottom corner with 17 minutes gone.

Despite having fallen two goals behind, the home side continued to create chances of their own, and could have reduced the deficit in the 20th minute had Stephen O’Neill had more composure when teed up by Webster’s square ball, instead of blasting his shot well over the crossbar.

The lay-off again proved dangerous, and again Peterhead took advantage, Andy Rodgers cutting the ball back for STEVENSON to sidefoot into the net with 27 minutes on the clock.

Montrose’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the 33rd minute when Graham Webster was shown a straight red card following a 50/50 challenge with Peterhead’s Jamie Redman, who went unpunished.

The Peterhead onslaught continued, McAllister coming close to adding his second goal with a low shot that was tipped wide and a curled shot from 20 yards out that bounced off the junction of the post and crossbar before dropping out for a goal kick.

Montrose had the final attack of the first half, with McCord having a header tipped wide from a Steven Robb free kick.

Half-time: Montrose 0

Peterhead 3.

The homesters’ slim hopes of taking something from the match were all but extinguished four minutes into the second half when captain Garry Wood was shown a straight red card for a professional foul, referee Colin Steven ruling that he had tripped McAllister when the Peterhead man was clear through on goal, although it looked as though there was minimal contact between the two.

Once Wood had been dismissed and Montrose assistant manager Lee Wilkie had been banished to the stand for protesting the red card, McAllister sent his free kick wide of the post from the edge of the box.

From that point onwards, Peterhead seemed content to retain possession without threatening too often, although they did occasionally attempt to extend their lead with long-range shots.

Stevenson had a shot held by McKenzie, while at the other end of the park, Paul Watson shot straight at Smith from the edge of the box.

Peterhead substitute – and another former Montrose player – David Cox sent a header wide of goal from Rodgers’ cross in the 56th minute, and Stevenson had a free kick well saved on the hour mark.

The match petered out in the final half hour, Stevenson coming closest to adding to the scoresheet with two long-range shots.

MONTROSE: McKenzie, Webster, Bell, Robb (Cavanagh), Graham, Campbell, O’Neill (Masson), McCord, Wood, Johnston (Deasley), Watson Subs not used - Day, Sturrock, Trialist, McCafferty.

PETERHEAD: G Smith, Sharp, Noble, R Smith, Ross (Brown), Donaldson (Cox), Rodgers (McCann), Redman, McAllister, Stevenson, Strachan Subs not used - Richardson, Gilfillan, Tait, Jarvie.

Montrose 1,

Dundee United U-20s 2

Montrose FC rounded off their pre-season build-up with a home defeat to a Dundee United under-20 side at Links Park last Tuesday.

After an even first half. it was United who took a two-goal lead. thanks to two defensive mistakes from Montrose. with the Gable Endies replying late in the match with a Paul Watson penalty.

Manager George Shields took the opportunity to field a number of fresh trialists .with ex Elgin City midfielder Paul Harkins gaining a place on the left hand side of midfield.

Meanwhile, there were a further nine players on the bench for the manager to chose from.

The home side had the first opportunity when Harkins was fouled outside the box, but Stephen O’Neil fired his free kick over the crossbar.

In the 18th minute, another trialist, Scott Mercer, broke from midfield and set up Harkins in a good position, but his effort was blocked by the United defence.

Five minutes later, Garry Wood picked up a pass from Mercer, but he blasted his shot wide of goal.

In the 23rd minute, Montrose went close again when Wood crashed a header off the bar from an inswinging Ross McCord corner kick.

Dundee United had a rare chance on the half hour mark when Ola Adeyemo latched onto a goal kick from McGovern, and as McKenzie hesitated, he shot wide of the far post.

In the 34th minute, Montrose were forced into a change when Crawford went off injured and was replaced by Scott Webster after appearing to turn his knee on the pitch.

Webster should have opened the scoring five minutes after coming on, but after breaking clear inside the box, he hesitated and his effort was blocked for a corner kick.

At the break Montrose made six changes – off went McCord, O’Neil, Mercer, Wood, Robb and Harkins, and on in their place came Day, Deasley, Johnston, Masson, Watson and Cavanagh.

In the 50th minute, substitute Deasley found Watson, but from 25 yards out he blasted the ball over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Masson broke into the box and set up Cavanagh but he could only shoot straight at keeper McGovern.

On the hour mark, it was Dundee United who opened the scoring. Masson gave the ball away and his allowed Adeyemo to cross for REGHAN TUMILTY, who headed into the net from close range.

Montrose almost had an equaliser four minutes later when a Deasley cross found Cavanagh, but his first time shot was blocked by McGovern.

In the 68th minute, Deasley sent Masson racing into the box, but the midfielder’s shot went inches wide of the far post.

The visitors doubled their lead a minute later when a Watson mistake was this time punished by MICHAEL GARDYNE, who calmly shot through the legs of McKenzie.

In the next minute, Montrose made another change when trialist Gilmore was replaced by Kieran Sturrock.

Five minutes later, and another substitute, former Queen’s Park midfielder Owen Ronald, came on to replace Craig Bell.

With a couple of minutes remaining Montrose pulled a goal back.

Johnston broke along the byeline only to be brought down by McLaughlin.

It was PAUL WATSON who stepped up to fire home his fourth goal of the pre season from the penalty spot.

MONTROSE: McKenzie, Gilmore (Sturrock), Bell (Ronald), Crawford (S. Webster), O’Kane, McCord (Masson), O’Neil (Cavanagh), Mercer (Day), Wood (Deasley), Robb (Watson), Harkins (Johnston).