The better team loses as Gable Endies open season

THE NEW campaign for Montrose FC got off to a poor start on Saturday when they lost to East Stirlingshire.

This was a match that the Gable Endies should have won at a canter. They created more than enough opportunities to win two matches, and that was just in the opening period!

But failure to put away their chances cost them dearly as the home side stole all three points with a late second half penalty.

The first half was all Montrose and they must be wondering how they managed to lose this game against a poor side.

After a good pre-season the Gable Endies have opened their competitive campaign with three poor results, and must look to put things right when Elgin City come visiting on Saturday.

Having their shooting boots on might give them a chance!

Manager Ray Farningham made two changes to his side after the defeat by Raith Rovers. Out went the suspended Stephen McNally and David Dimilta. In to the line-up came Jonathan Crawford and Scott Johnston playing against his former club. Montrose lined up with Andrews in goal and a back four of Sean Crighton, Jonathan Smart, Alan Campbell and Douglas Cameron.

The midfield three was Terry Masson, Jamie Winter and Crawford, while Farningham went with a front three of Martin Boyle, Johnston and David McGowan. On the bench for Montrose were Paul Lunan, Dimilta, Sean Pierce, Steven McPhee and Sandy Wood.

There was a more than healthy contingent of Montrose fans at the match as their side got the new season under way at Ochilview Park.

They created the first opening in the third minute when a long throw-in from Crighton found Johnston, who fired a low cross across the face of the goal but it found no takers.

Michael Andrews was called into action against his former club in the sixth minute when he tipped a low free kick from Joe Dingwall around the near post.

With 10 minutes gone Johnston hooked over a cross which found the inrushing Martin Boyle, who powered a header over the crossbar.

Five minutes later Martin Boyle outpaced two ‘Shire defenders and won his side a free kick in a dangerous position some 25 yards out. Douglas Cameron took the kick and he curled his effort inches wide of Calum Antell’s far post.

Montrose should have opened the scoring in the 18th minute when a great through-ball from Crawford put David McGowan through with only the ‘keeper to beat. A lob seemed the obvious choice but the striker hesitated and the ‘keeper managed to block his shot and the chance went begging.

Over-fussy new referee Barry Cook then warned Boyle for kicking the ball away after the Gable Endies wasted a free kick.

Montrose kept up the pressure and in the 28th minute a great ball up the flank from Cameron put Johnston through. He tried to beat two home players inside the area but the ball was blocked and came straight back to Cameron whose first time volley clipped a player and went out for a corner kick.

The left back took the kick himself. Sean Crighton got his head to the ball but he could only send his head-flick wide of goal.

The Gable Endies kept up the pressure and in the 28th minute Jamie Winter sent over a cross which was met on the volley by Cameron but he sent a dipping volley over the crossbar.

There was a bizarre moment on the half-hour mark when goalkeeper Calum Antell launched a goal kick up the park only to blast the ball off Terry Masson who was facing away from goal. Referee Cook, who was looking the other way also, then turned around and booked Masson, having clearly thought he was trying to stop the ‘keeper’s kick-out.

It was all Montrose, and with 37 minutes gone Martin Boyle skipped up the right flank and beat three players before setting up Jamie Winter but the midfielder sent his shot straight into the arms of Antell.

With three minutes of the half remaining Crawford lobbed a cross over from the right wing; Masson headed the ball on to Boyle lurking at the back post. But instead of steadying himself for a shot, the youngster lashed at the ball and sent and effort rising over the crossbar.

Montrose goalkeeper Michael Andrews was next to have a go when his free kick from inside his own half caught out his opposite number who stumbled backwards and just stopped the ball going into his own net.

In the 43rd minute East Stirlingshire had a rare effort at goal when a shot from Michael Hunter went well over the crossbar.

Four minutes into the second half Montrose created their first opportunity when Masson rolled the ball into the path of Jamie Winter but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked by a home defender.

David McGowan became the second Montrose player to be booked for a late tackle on Michael Hunter in the 53rd minute.

Three minutes later Crighton and Crawford linked up down the right hand side of the park, before Crighton’s through-ball saw Johnston win Montrose a corner. Cameron’s corner caused danger in the box before the home side cleared.

In the next minute the dangerous Ally Love broke into the box but he fired straight into the arms of Andrews.

Just past the hour the ‘Shire won a corner kick but Andrews gathered the ball safely and the chance was gone.

In the 63rd minute Montrose made a change, bringing on Steven McPhee for David McGowan.

Two minutes later Martin Boyle sent over a cross and won Montrose a corner kick which Cameron took. Jonathan Smart got up well but he could only head wide of the goal.

Boyle was a danger all afternoon down the right, and this time his cross found substitute McPhee ghosting in at the far post, but the youngster could only loop his header wide of the goal.

Montrose won a free kick in a great position when Johnston was fouled by Beveridge on the edge of the area. McPhee and Cameron stood over the free kick, but it was the youngster who took the kick, only to hit the wall.

Both sides made changes in the 75th minute the home side bringing on Jordyn Sheerin for Kevin Turner. While Montrose brought on Sean Pierce for Scott Johnston.

Disaster struck the visitors in the 77th minute when they gave away a penalty kick. Pierce lost the ball in the middle of the park and Ally Love was allowed to break into the box. After a couple of attempts to stop him Jonathan Smart flattened him side the area as he was about to shoot.

There were other Montrose defenders around the winger but referee Cook chose to show the red card to Smart. His second ordering off in successive matches left the Links Park side down to 10 men. Midfielder STEVEN JACKSON stepped up to blast the ball home into the bottom corner and give the home side a very surprising lead.

Montrose should have equalised in the 83rd minute when a slide-rule pass from Winter put Boyle clean through. The youngster did everything right as he broke into the box but ‘keeper Antell did brilliantly to block his effort from 10 yards out.

Jackson became the third booking of the afternoon for a late tackle on Winter.

In the 84th minute Montrose brought on Paul Lunan for Terry Masson. Three minutes later East Stirlingshire sent on Fraser Team for Ally Love.

Montrose’s afternoon was summed up in the fourth minute of stoppage time. McPhee lobbed the ball through to Martin Boyle and the youngster was clean through with only the ‘keeper to beat, but again Antell was equal to the task and brought of a match-winning save that ended the afternoon for Montrose.

Montrose: Andrews, Crighton, Cameron, Campbell, Smart, Masson (Lunan), Johnston (Pierce), Crawford, Boyle, Winter, McGowan (McPhee) Substitutes: Dimilta and Wood.