Montrose Roselea hosted newly promoted Haddington Athletic, who are many peoples’ tip for the title, in a thoroughly entertaining opening fixture of the season.
Manager Chris Simpson took his place in the dugout for the first time.
Players Whyte, Findlater, Mitchell, Taylor, Findlater and Rae were unavailable for the home team so Craig Anderson dropped back from midfield into right back.
Competitive debut starts were given to Craig Sturrock at left back, and Grant Mowatt started in centre midfield after an impressive second half showing there in a pre season friendly on Tuesday.
It didn’t take long before Roselea created their first chance of the match. Watson laid the ball off to Campbell and he curled his shot back off the crossbar.
Just a few minutes later Watson latched on to a poor back pass from an away defender. The striker’s shot was tame and well saved but Cruickshank gathered the rebound and crossed deep into Watson who atoned for his previous miss by volleying low into the far bottom corner to give the ‘Lea the perfect start.
Campbell was causing all sorts of problems down the left and after collecting a ball from Sturrock he drilled in a superb low cross which Greig was unfortunate not to get on the end of.
Haddington had made what will be their longest journey of the season and gave Roselea a reminder that they were looking to take as much as they could back down the road with them.
Daniel Noon looked to be in on goal after a slight bit of fortune when the ball broke, but keeper Mcleod was sharp off his line to thwart the attacker.
Scott Wright had another chance for Haddington when he found himself on the edge of the box. He skilfully beat a Roselea defender to create a chance to shoot but his shot was off target.
Both teams were struggling to keep hold of the ball for any significant time as could be expected in the opening fixture of the season but Roselea extended their lead with arguably the best move of the match after 38 minutes.
Manager Simpson had just switched Campbell to right wing in a tactical switch and it pulled off for him immediately. After a decent amount of ball possession from the home team, play was switched over to the right hand side.
Campbell beat the offside trap and his first touch was brilliant as he played himself in on goal. As the keeper came out he showed great composure to slot the ball into the corner of the net to give Roselea a two goal lead for half time.
Roselea were left to rue a missed opportunity to effectively kill off the game after 50 minutes. A pass back by centre half Noble was read by Watson who intercepted. The striker unselfishly squared the ball to Mowatt who was then dispossessed by a tackle deemed legal by the referee. Mowatt quickly got up and recovered the ball and laid it off to Greig but his shot was then blocked.
Haddington appeared to be tiring a little at this stage and reverted to a more direct approach. A long ball played from Inglis at the back caught out Thomson and Campbell and found Sinclair but he shot wide when in on goal.
Roselea did not heed the warning and a couple minutes later the long ball again caused the home team problems.
Devlin gathered the ball and laid it off to Paterson who ran in on goal and fired low into the near post.
Roselea were dealt a cruel blow after 72 minutes. Fairnie was clever in the box and drew a foul from a Roselea defender in the box and Devlin stepped up to take the penalty, making no mistake sending it into the bottom right hand corner.
Roselea will feel disappointed to only come away with a draw in the end, but a lot of positives must be taken from the performance.
Roselea are at home again on Wednesday, August 12 against Dundee Violet.