Roselea finally got their 2014 under way with a home game against Kirrie Thistle after the two previous away games at Violet and Pumpherston were postponed.
An overnight frost did put the game in doubt but it was just playable at kick-off time.
Ronnie Massie again deputised for Ross McLeod, while Roselea were without Arron Thomson and Danny Ross due to injury, Craig Anderson through suspension and Stewart Fletcher, Scott Riach and Jordan Rausch were working. Carlos Silva returned from the festive break in Venezuela and made his home debut.
In addition to a slightly slippy surface, the low winter sun was also a factor, especially for the goalkeepers.
Kirrie Thistle kicked off into the low sun and Lunan had a shot from distance, which didn’t trouble Massie, then Jo Reoch received treatment for a late tackle which left him grounded.
Roselea took the lead when Dale REID followed up his first effort to volley home from six yards out. He had crossed to Silva at the far post and he slipped the ball to Collier who lobbed the ball over the last defender and after Reid’s powerful volley was well saved by Stewart, he made no mistake with a cool finish from the rebound.
Reid almost made it a second when Watson’s flick sent him away down the left and his pace made him favourite to prod the ball past Stewart but even though the ball looked goalbound, a slight deflection took it behind for a corner.
Kirrie were starting to come into things and knocked a few passes around before Russell whipped in a great cross for Lunan to head wide, however he was also given offside.
Ronnie Massie was called into action in the 20th minute when Millar picked up a loose Rae pass and then curled a great shot towards the top corner but the big keeper held at full stretch.
Roselea had another great chance to increase their lead again through Reid in 24 minutes. Kirrie were caught at the back and when keeper Stewart raced to clear from 30 yards out, he found Reid, who snatched at his chance too quickly with the open goal gaping.
In 26 minutes another hashed clearance from Kirrie fell to Rae and he played Watson down the right wing before his cross had to be intercepted by Russell with Reid waiting to pounce. Cruickshank sent the corner in and Collier’s header had to be tipped over the bar by Stewart.
On the half hour mark, Kirrie had another half effort from a Russell cross with this time Farquharson got his head to it but was well off target.
Roselea had a half hearted appeal for a penalty when Rae shot in the box and the ball struck Russell’s hand, however with his back to the ball the referee adjudged it to be accidental.
Half time: Montrose Roselea, 1 Kirrie Thistle 0.
Kirrie Thistle started the second half looking lively and a different side from the first half. It took them only four minutes to equalise. Roselea were caught out by a short corner scam when Smith carried the ball 15 yards unchallenged after it had been tapped to him without Roselea catching on, he then crossed to the far post and when the ball came back in Paul Taylor blocked on the line but Ross LUNAN was on hand to knock home from two yards.
The lively David Millar had a shot from 25 yards out but Massie once again held well. A couple of minutes later, Archibald got his head to another Smith corner but headed just over.
Disaster struck for Roselea and Calum Watson in the 57th minute. What looked like a 50-50 block tackle on Stewart Russell resulted in the home player being shown a red card. It seemed like a harsh decision and although Russell required treatment Watson appeared to make full contact with the ball and not his opponent.
It was to get far worse for the home side just a minute later when Kirrie took the lead. MILLAR played a cross field pass to James Russell and continued into the box to meet the cross ball perfectly to head home from seven yards out.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Roselea and it was going to be a big ask to come back from that double knock.
Roselea made a change with Stuart Richardson replacing Carlos Silva in 65 minutes.
In 73 minutes Kirrie made it 3-1 when James Russell got to the bye line and cut back right to the edge of the box where Robert SMITH had a great side footed finish from 20 yards into the corner of the net.
Roselea made their second change in 71 minutes with Connor Gammie going on for Paul Taylor, as Roselea tried to claw their way back into things.
Whyte went close with a header for Roselea in 74 minutes, but Kirrie were defending well and not giving much in the way of chances away.
Ryan Taylor missed his clearance letting James Russell in but his clever chip from 25 yards at an angle went just wide when it looked to be in all the way.
Roselea made their final change with Brand going on for James Collier in 85 minutes.
Kirrie Thistle made their superiority show when James Russell made his way to the byeline and his low front post cross was finished from point blank range by namesake Stewart RUSSELL.
On a cold and frustrating day, referee Leslie brought a halt to proceedings for a very deflated home side.
After a very positive first half from Roselea, when they should have made more of the missed chances, it was an impressive Kirrie side who deservedly took the points. The sending off had some impact, however the signs were already there that the visitors were starting to take command. This is Roselea’s biggest League defeat of the season and the first time they have conceded more than three goals in a match. The players will need to keep positive but as each game comes the gap between them at second bottom and the safety pack above seems to widen. Wins will be required shortly to give optimism that they can keep their Premier League place.
This week Roselea will travel to Holm Park, Clydebank, to face Yoker Athletic in the forth round of the Scottish Cup. This will be an emotional return for Carlos Silva to his former club and a close match is expected. The club bus will leave the Golf Inn at 9 a.m. and the bus is now full.
Roselea: Massie, P Taylor, R Taylor, Reoch, Whyte, Rae, Collier, Silva, Cruickshank, Watson & Reid. Subs: Gammie, Richardson, Brand & Kerrigan.