The Gable Endies’ search for an away victory continued on Saturday as they missed out on a chance to take over at the top of League Two for the first time this season after losing to Stirling Albion at Forthbank.
The match, which Montrose controlled for the entire first half without scoring, turned on a 48th minute penalty miss from Ross McCord that gave the 10 man home team the desire to go on and take all three points after Paul Hegarty’s side just couldn’t find a way past the home defence.
Stirling Albion were nothing special which makes Montrose’s fifth away defeat of the season all the more disappointing.
Montrose must now look to get back on track this Saturday when they meet East Stirlingshire then East Fife the following Saturday in another home double header as they look to continue their impressive home form.
The visitors were unchanged from the side that had defeated Elgin City the previous Saturday.
The only changes came on the bench where the unavailable Adam McWilliam was replaced by Kyle McLeod, and with Sandy Wood unavailable ex-Arbroath goalkeeper Scott Morrison took his place as back up goalkeeper.
Montrose created a good opening in the third minute when McCord sent Fraser clear down the right, the striker raced into the box before curling the ball back to Campbell who got the ball tangled up in his feet.
The Gable Endies had a good chance to open the scoring in the 14th minute.
McCord won the ball in the middle of the park and played a first time ball through to Gary Fraser, he rounded a defender only to see his chip shot clear the goalkeeper but also the crossbar.
McCord then sent Graham Webster racing down the right wing in acres of space but he just couldn’t get his cross over and another chance had gone.
With half an hour gone Montrose won a free kick in the centre circle when Ross Smith pushed Fraser.
Matty Allan took the free kick, Ross Campbell headed the ball down to Fraser who set up Webster some 20 yards out but he could only side foot the ball over the crossbar.
Six minutes later Montrose had another great chance to open the scoring in what was a one sided first half.
Again it was Ross McCord with a reverse pass who sent Gary Fraser racing clear of a static home back four, he lined up a shot which looked net bound only for Smith to pull off a great save at the near post.
Pascazio got into difficulty clearing the ball and Steven Doris got in between him and the Montrose goal only for Ross Salmon to pull off a great stop at his near post.
Montrose had their best opportunity to open the scoring on the stroke of half time.
Again it was the McCord and Fraser combination that opened up the Stirling Albion defence down the right hand side of the park.
Montrose’s top scorer found himself through on goal with only keeper Smith to beat but he chose to find an unmarked Campbell inside the box only for his strike partner to mess up the opportunity and another opportunity went begging.
The visitors created the first chance of the second half when Steeves played the ball into Fraser; he flicked the ball on to Campbell who volleyed the ball over the crossbar.
Three minutes into the second half Montrose were given a great opportunity to take the lead when they were awarded their fourth penalty kick of the season.
A ball over the top put Fraser through on goal with only keeper Smith to beat and he was taken out of the game by full back Ross McGeachie as he was on the point of shooting.
Referee Gavin Ross immediately pointed to the spot and sent off McGeachie.
McCord stepped up to take the kick and although it was a good strike Smith was equal to the task and got down well to save.
It was the second penalty Montrose have missed this season and it turned out to be crucial to the match.
Stirling Albion started to come more into the game after this and Gavin Malin put in a great saving tackle inside the area to stop ex-Gable Endie Doris from getting clear.
Montrose then tried with a move down the right; McCord showed some great feet before playing the ball back to Webster whose first time cross was well defended under the crossbar from a home defender.
Home midfielder Comrie then tested Salmon, who had been a virtual spectator, with a low effort but it went straight into the arms of the Montrose goalkeeper.
Stirling Albion were coming more into the match despite playing with only 10 men and Doris was next to go close with a lob from just outside the box which went just over the crossbar.
Three minutes later Montrose came close again.
Ferguson broke forward and found Campbell on the overlap and his first time cross found Webster, who bulleted a header just wide of the post.
Despite having all the play Montrose were hit by a Stirling Albion sucker punch with 70 minutes on the clock when they opened the scoring.
Ross Forsyth send a free kick deep into the Montrose penalty area and Ross McMillan made contact at the far post to send the ball looping over Salmon and into the back of the net.
Steeves then sent Fraser clear down the right but he was taken completely out of the game by Forsyth.
In the 80th minute Montrose gave a debut to summer signing from St James Amateurs Ryan Kenneth who came on in place of Malin.
Three minutes later Stirling Albion substitute Lander was booked for kicking the ball into the net after the whistle had gone.