Montrose Football Club crashed to their heaviest home defeat of the season when they lost to second bottom of the table Elgin City at Links Park on Saturday.
The Gable Endies will look back on this match and wonder how they lost it as they totally dominated the fixture and played some of their best football of the season only to be hit on the sucker punch to go six points behind fourth placed Clyde with five fixtures remaining.
The result looks almost certainly have ended the Gable Endies play off aspirations for another season.
Time and time again Montrose attacked the visitors goal but just couldn’t find away past John Gibson and once Terry Masson had missed an early second half chance, so too did Montrose’s best opportunity of scoring.
After the 2 – 2 draw with Stirling Albion, Montrose made one change to their line up with Scott Johnston replacing Garry Wood in attack.
The Gable Endies lined up with McKenzie in goal with Crawford and McIntosh his full backs with Campbell and Wilson in central defence. Masson and Watson were in front of the back four with Webster, Gray and Deasley supporting Johnston.
On the bench were Bonar, Duguid, Bell, McCord, Sturrock and goalkeeper McCafferty.
Montrose were first to show their intensions in the second minute when midfielder Watson picked the ball up only to see his 20 yard effort tipped around the post by John Gibson.
Deasley’s corner kick was knocked back to the striker and his cross was headed past the post by Alan Campbell when it seemed easier to score from point blank range.
Montrose had another good opportunity to score when the ball was missed by everyone inside the area but fell to David Gray at the back post and he could only hook his effort over.
Two minutes later. Elgin City failed miserably to play Scott Johnston offside and the striker ran onto play the perfect cross for Deasley but he again blasted the ball over at the near post.
David Gray sent in a low 25 yard effort, which beat Gibson, the former on-loan Montrose ‘keeper, but fizzed past the far post.
Scott Johnston gathered a pass from Gray worked his way into the penalty area only to shoot straight at keeper Gibson.
Three minutes later Graeme Beveridge became the first booking of the afternoon for a studs up challenge on Ricky McIntosh.
He was followed into referee Northcroft’s book four minutes later by Paul Harkins, who brought Masson’s run to an end after he played a one–two with Webster with a trip.
Elgin City had a rare counter attack when Wyness won a corner off Wilson. Harkins took the corner kick and the ball landed at the feet of Crighton but his shot was blocked.
It was all Montrose as they kept up the pressure before half-time and with four minutes remaining Gray knocked the ball down to Terry Masson on the edge of the area and his low shot was tipped around the post by Gibson. Gray swung over the resultant corner kick only for Wilson to send a header over the crossbar.
With a minute of a very one-sided half remaining, Montrose were denied the goal their play deserved. It was Gray again who played in Scott Johnston and again it was the on-loan John Gibson who saved the visitors when he tipped the ball around the post once again.
Half time: Montrose 0, Elgin City 0.
Elgin City won an early free kick when Harkins was kicked in the head by Masson. Harkins took the kick himself but Montrose cleared the danger.
The Gable Endies had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 48th minute. It was Bryan Deasley who did all the hard work with a great run down the left flank as he outpaced McDonald. The number 11 got to the byeline and cut the ball back for the unmarked Terry Masson some six yards out, the midfielder seemed certain to score but after making great contact with the ball he somehow managed to shot wide. A miss Montrose were certainly made to regret later in the match.
After all the pressure it was Elgin City who opened the scoring in the 53rd minute. There appeared to be no danger as SHANE SUTHERLAND got the ball on the touchline but he managed to get by Crawford and squeeze in a shot, which deflected off Wilson and into the net for the sucker punch.
It seemed only a matter of time before the home side found the net and it almost came in the 62nd minute when Gray again played a pass into Paul Watson on the edge of the Elgin City penalty area but his swerving effort from 20 yards was saved. From Gray’s corner kick the ball found its way to Scott Johnston and his low cross appeared to be handled by the arm of a grounded Elgin City player, but with Montrose claiming a penalty referee Northcroft waved play on.
In the 65th minute Montrose made a change with Garry Wood coming on to replace Graham Webster. Johnston moved to the right with Wood going up top.
Three minutes later, the visitors brought on Adam McLeod for Graham Bayne.
Two minutes later, Stuart Garden went for broke when he brought on Lewis Bonar for Ricky McIntosh and going three at the back, unfortunately, it was a change that Elgin City were soon to exploit.
Deasley took a corner kick, which Bonar missed and from the quick break away substitute ADAM McLEOD raced clear down the right and with McKenzie stranded in no mans land, he calmly slotted the ball home for Elgin City’s second goal of the afternoon to the amazement of the home support.
Two minutes later, Elgin City made a further change with Ally MacKenzie replacing Beveridge.
In the 80th minute, Wilson strolled out of defence and found Wood whose cross from the right found Lewis Bonar but the striker could only head tamely wide.
Elgin City’s third booking of the afternoon arrived in the 82nd minute when Craig Gunn through the ball away when he gave away a free kick.
To rub salt into the already hurting wounds Elgin City added a third breakaway goal in the 86th minute. Sutherland broke down the left and played the ball through to substitute ADAM McLEOD who took a touch before again driving the ball home past the exposed McKenzie.
Montrose had one last chance when Deasley found Gray whose shot was held before Elgin City brought a disappointing afternoon to an end by bringing on Sam Urquhart for ex-Aberdeen striker Dennis Wyness.
Montrose: McKenzie, Crawford, McIntosh (Bonar), Wilson, Campbell, Masson, Webster (Wood), Watson, Johnston, Gray, Deasley Subs not used – Duguid, Bell, McCord, Sturrock, McCafferty