Sad end to season that promised much

SCOTT JOHNSTON: Scott Johnston signed for Montrose from East Stirlingshire in the summer of 2011. He has made 32+5 appearances so far.
SCOTT JOHNSTON: Scott Johnston signed for Montrose from East Stirlingshire in the summer of 2011. He has made 32+5 appearances so far.

ANNAN ATHLETIC 1MONTROSE 1

Montrose Football Club brought season 2013/14 to an end at Galabank on Saturday, fighting out a draw with Annan Athletic.

In the end Stuart Garden’s side missed out on the play-offs by two points, with Berwick Rangers taking the final space despite going down to Rangers at Ibrox.

It was the Gable Endies’ form in the final quarter of the season that lead to their failure to secure a spot, having been in the top four since around November.

After the 2–1 home defeat by Queen’s Park Montrose made two changes. Out went suspended Paul Watson, and Terry Masson who had to call off with a sickness bug on the morning of the match.

In came Craig McLeish for his first start since February, and Scott Johnston now free from suspension.

With Gibson, Leighton McIntosh and Jamie Winter also injured and David Gray suspended, Montrose were short on numbers so the Gable Endies lined up with Wood in goal, McNally and Ricky McIntosh in the full back positions with Campbell and Lunan in central defence. Young, McLeish, McCord and Johnston were in midfield with Boyle and Garry Wood in attack.

Montrose could only field four substitutes in Scott Morton, Jonathan Crawford, ‘keeper Dean Easton and 16-year-old Kieran Sturrock in his first outing in the first team squad. The Under-19 striker recently scored two hat-tricks in two matches.

Annan Athletic got the final match of the season under way at Galabank with the windy elements in their favour.

The home side created the first opportunity when Martin McNiff headed a corner from Steven Sloan over the crossbar.

In the 11th minute Ross McCord played a great pass through to Martin Boyle who raced clear, but Swinglehurst managed to get back to put the ball out for a corner kick.

Eight minutes later a Jardine free kick was headed behind by McLeish for an Annan corner. Sloan’s kick was again dealt with by the defence.

With 22 minutes gone Montrose opened the scoring with their first real attack of the match. McNally played a free kick short to Young. He ran across the face of the box and slipped the ball to McCord. The midfielder touched the ball back to SCOTT JOHNSTON who skipped past his marker and from the edge of the area curled home a tremendous strike from the edge of the area for his sixth goal of the season.

Annan applied pressure and Jardine was fouled by McNally, but this time Alan Campbell was on hand to clear the danger.

In the 34th minute Montrose captain Paul Lunan picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a foul on Michael Daly.

Half-time: Annan 0, Montrose 1.

With four minutes of the second half gone Annan Athletic’s Martin McNiff was booked for a late tackle.

Montrose almost doubled their tally in the 52nd minute when Martin Boyle raced into the box, and turned one way then another before curling in a netbound effort which Alex Mitchell managed to tip over the crossbar.

Annan went close in the 54th minute when a mix-up between Campbell and Lunan allowed Lewis Hawke in on goal. He was brought down by Sandy Wood outside the area. Wood was booked for his efforts before making a great save from the resultant free kick from McGowan.

Montrose failed to take notice of the warning and DALY found himself through on goal with only Wood to beat three minutes later, and slotted the ball home for the Annan Athletic equaliser.

Two minutes later Boyle won the ball over by the corner flag and raced clear along the touchline to find Ross McCord, but the midfielder couldn’t quite get a shot in.

On the hour Montrose won a free kick when Garry Wood was flattened on the edge of the area. Stephen McNally’s netbound effort was tipped around the post by Mitchell.

McCord’s subsequent corner found Paul Lunan but he committed a foul in his effort to get in a header. He was injured making the challenge but was able to continue after treatment.

Iain Chisholm was the next player to be booked, for a foul on Martin Boyle.

Montrose made a change in the 66th minute sending on Scott Morton for Lloyd Young and going three up front. Morton was quickly into action and made a great turn before curling a shot just over the crossbar.

In the 74th minute Montrose had a viable chance to regain the lead. McLeish put in Morton with a great pass and he slipped the ball to Garry Wood who skipped past two defenders and left himself with only the ‘keeper to beat, but he somehow failed to make contact with the ball.

Scott Morton was causing Annan problems down the left and two minutes later he collected a pass from McIntosh, turned and raced up the wing before firing in an effort from 20 yards which again went just wide.

Annan made a change, bringing on David Murray for Michael Daly.

In the 78th minute Montrose made their second change when they gave a debut to Kieran Sturrock who replaced Martin Boyle.

Four minutes later Sturrock had a chance when he got on the end of a Johnston cross but he couldn’t make full contact at the far post.

The home side made another change when they replaced Martin McNiff with Ally Love.

Montrose had a last chance to end their season on a high when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area when McCord’s shot was handled. Stephen McNally again took the free kick but this time he blasted the ball over the crossbar.

Montrose: S. Wood, McNally, R. McIntosh, Campbell, Lunan, McCord, Young (Morton), McLeish, Boyle (Sturrock), G. Wood, Johnston. Substitutes not used: Crawford and Easton.