MONTROSE Football Club were beaten at Recreation Park on Saturday in the first league meeting with Alloa Athletic since 1997/98.
The Gable Endies only had themselves and some dubious refereeing decisions to blame for the defeat.
In a fast and furious 90 minutes of football, Montrose had two goals disallowed for offside against an Alloa side that attacked from the start with some nice crisp passing on the spacious all weather surface.
After the defeat from Annan Athletic manager Ray Farningham made one change to his line-up with Terry Masson coming back from suspension to replace trialist Steve Masterton.
The match was barely three minutes old when Alloa Athletic won a penalty kick. Douglas Cameron was rash with a challenge on Kevin Cawley who was going away from goal and referee Paul Robertson pointed to the spot. RYAN McCORD stepped up to plant the ball into the bottom corner despite Andrews guessing right.
Two minutes later Montrose created their first opportunity when Masson was brought down by Ryan McCord. Jamie Winter took the kick but Scott Bain held his effort.
In the 10th minute a fine passing move from Montrose saw Harding bring down Winter in a dangerous position. McNally’s free kick was blasted off the home wall and the home defence also blocked the follow up from Winter.
The visitors had a chance to equalise in the 15th minute. Ben Gordon allowed a long ball to bounce over his head and Martin Boyle was on to it like a flash and raced clear. He squared it across goal to Sean Pierce some 10 yards out but with only the ‘keeper to beat he chipped the ball over the bar and the chance was gone.
In the 22nd minute a pass up the line from Cameron put Boyle away down the wing. He appeared to turn his marker Gordon and get away but referee Robertson awarded Montrose a free kick. Winter whipped in the free kick but Bain managed to punch the ball clear.
The Gable Endies were coming more into the match and in the 26th minute they equalised. Winter played a pass down the channel to Pierce who won a corner kick off Harding. Cameron swung over the corner kick and Winter had a go at getting in a shot but only succeeded in finding ALAN CAMPBELL who, with his back to goal, turned some 10 yards out and fired into the postage stamp corner for his first goal of the season.
Sixty seconds later and Montrose had it all to do again as the home side regained the lead. Despite having three attempts to get the ball cleared from the edge of the area the Montrose defence failed to do so, and dangerman KEVIN CAWLEY was able to lash the ball home past Andrews from the edge of the box.
McNally became the first Montrose player to be booked after a push on James Doyle. Ex-Gable Endie Mark Docherty took the free kick but Crawford headed clear.
In the 37th minute Montrose equalised for a second time. McNally got clear again down the right wing and he sent over a cross which Jonathan Crawford connected with and his shot was only parried by ‘keeper Scott Bain into the path of MARTIN BOYLE. From a yard out the young striker fired home his fifth goal of the season.
In the 42nd minute Campbell became the second Montrose player to be booked, for a foul on Robbie Winter. McCord took the corner kick Gordon headed on but Cawley’s shot was put behind for a fruitless corner.
In the final minute of the first half Montrose thought they had the lead. In a break up the park Winter found himself clear on the right and he fired in a low cross which the in rushing Martin Boyle flicked past ‘keeper Bain from only a few yards out. It seemed a perfectly good goal as Boyle had come from behind the Alloa defender but far side assistant Ferguson raised his flag and the goal was chalked out for offside.
Half-time: Alloa 1, Montrose 1.
Montrose brought on David McGowan for Sean Crighton and went with a back four of McNally, Lunan, Campbell and Cameron. McGowan was pushed up in a front three with Boyle and Pierce.
In the 48th minute Winter played the ball wide to Boyle whose cross was blocked by Gordon. Cameron took the corner kick short to Masson but his cross was cleared by Harding.
Alloa Athletic regained the lead for a third time in the 52nd minute. A corner from McCord found centre-half BEN GORDON who bulleted home a header unchallenged from six yards out.
In the 57th minute Montrose made another change bringing on Steven McPhee in place of Jonathan Crawford.
There was further controversy in the 62nd minute. Winter was brought down by Darren Young near the touchline with the Alloa captain only warned. Winter took the free kick from the half-way line. The ball found its way to Boyle at the back post who took a touch before stabbing it home, only for the assistant on the other side Willie Conquer to flag for another strange offside decision.
As Alloa kept up the pressure, a Ross McCord volley was beaten away by Andrews in the Montrose goal. The home side made a change in the 73rd minute when they brought on Steven Howarth for Graeme Holmes.
Three minutes later Alloa had another chance when a Ross McCord corner kick was headed on by Harding to Robbie Winter but he just failed to connect with the ball at the far post.
In the 78th minute Alloa Athletic did score again. CAWLEY was allowed all the time he liked on the right hand side of the park and his shot from inside the box hit of the near post and curled into the net for his second of the afternoon.
Alloa Athletic made a double switch in the 82nd minute sending on Armand One and Craig Campbell for Winters and Cawley.
Montrose almost pulled a goal back when a pass from Mason found Boyle who raced into the area but his shot from an acute angle was tipped over by Bain.
In the dying seconds dangerman Boyle collected a through ball and rounded Bain outside the area, only to put the ball too far ahead of himself. His shot was cleared off the line by Harding. Another day, the youngster could have had four goals.
Alloa Athletic won with something to spare but with better defending and some luck Montrose could have taken something home.
Montrose: Andrews, McNally, Cameron, Lunan, Crighton (McGowan), Campbell, Crawford (McPhee), Masson, Boyle, Winter, Pierce. Substitutes: Johnston and Wood.