An injury time penalty kick from club captain Garry Wood gave Montrose a share of the points at Forthbank Stadium on Saturday.
The point kept Montrose tucked in behind Stirling Albion three points off a play off place with six matches to play. It could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for the late equaliser.
The first half of the match was a poor affair with little to warm up the crowd on a cold March afternoon but after the break things livened up with the sides sharing four goals between them.
Stirling Albion can feel a little hard done by but you couldn’t fault the never say die attitude of Stuart Garden’s men, as they lived to fight another day with Elgin City visiting Montrose on Saturday in another important match.
Montrose made one change to the side that had beaten East Stirlingshire the previous Saturday with Scott Johnston missing his first match of the season due to concussion received the previous week. Garry Wood returned in his place with Wood taking up a striker’s position.
Montrose lined up in a 4–2–3–1 formation with McKenzie in goal and Crawford and McIntosh in the full back roles. Wilson retained his place in central defence alongside Campbell. Watson and Masson were in front of the back four with Webster, Gray and Deasley in behind Wood.
Montrose listed a substitutes bench of Sturrock, McCord, Duguid, Bonar, Bell and back up keeper McCafferty.
The home side were awarded a free kick for a foul on Cunningham by Crawford. David Crawford launched a kick up the park but Chris Smith couldn’t connect and the ball and it went straight into the arms of McKenzie.
The early play on a difficult bumpy pitch was scrappy and this was best summed up when Stuart McKenzie slipped clearing a pass back and only succeeded to firing the ball into the face of the inrushing Sandy Cunningham. The Stirling Albion striker was knocked clean to the ground by the force of the kick and was replaced by David Weatherston.
Montrose won a free kick when Deasley’s cross was headed out for a corner by Phil Johnston. Deasley’s kick found Campbell, who played the ball back to the Montrose number 11 only for Deasley to waste the second opportunity.
Five minutes later, substitute Weatherston had a chance to grab the opening goal in the when he latched onto a through ball and rounded McKenzie only for Alan Campbell to head the ball off the line before McKenzie flung himself at the ball and knocked it clear.
Montrose had the last opportunity of a lacklustre first half when a good pass from Crawford saw Garry Wood win a corner kick. But again Deasley’s corner kick was wasteful and another good chance went a begging.
Half time: Montrose 0, Stirling Albion 0.
Montrose restarted the second half and immediately put the ball out of play but they soon created their first real shot of the match seconds later. Gray played a pass to Wood inside the box but he could only hit a low effort straight at ex-Gable Endie keeper David Crawford.
The game sprung into life in the 50th minute when a Stirling Albion corner kick by Comrie caused panic inside the Montrose penalty area and when the ball fell to Jordan White at the back post his effort was cleared off the line.
Sixty seconds later Stirling Albion opened the scoring. Montrose couldn’t deal with a cross from Johnston and the ball was missed by White but it landed kindly for CRAIG COMRIE who steered the ball home from six yards out.
On the hour mark midfielder played in a pass for Stirling Albion substitute David Weatherston but he could only shoot straight into the arms of McKenzie.
Stirling Albion were continuing to put Montrose under pressure and seconds later Weatherston had the ball in the net after Comrie’s shot had rebounded from the post but the flag was already up for offside against the substitute.
The home side had their tails up and should have added a second goal in the 62nd minute Phil Johnston broke clear down the right and with Jordan White totally unmarked outside the box and with an open goal to aim at he took the wrong option and fired past the near post.
Colin Wilson became the first booking of the afternoon for a foul on Weatherston on the half way line.
Three minutes later, Montrose made their first change of the afternoon and it was a positive one with Lewis Bonar coming on for Graham Webster. Bonar moved up front alongside Wood with Deasley taking up a position on the flank.
Montrose had a good chance to equalise three minutes later a McKenzie kick out found the head of Bonar, who found Deasley on the left his low cross was met by Wood, but he could only flick the ball wide of goal when it seemed easier to score.
Paul Watson was lucky to remain on the park after he caught O’Bryne with a late sliding tackle but luckily the referee took into account that the Montrose man had slipped and only issued a yellow card.
Montrose equalised in the 79th minute with a goal that their pressure had deserved. McKenzie launched the ball up the park and Wood headed the ball on for Bonar, who turned inside his man before being tripped on the edge of the box. O’Bryne was booked for the challenge and PAUL WATSON stepped up to curl a great effort around the wall and into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. Watson was delighted with the strike and he celebrated with his team-mates and the travelling support.
In the 83rd minute Stirling Albion struck again to regain the lead. Johnston broke down the right and with Montrose backing off he was able to find the totally unmarked DAVID McCLUNE in loads of space on the edge of the area and he was able to steady himself before blasting the ball home via the post.
But Montrose weren’t done yet in the first minute of stoppage time they were awarded a penalty kick. Bonar played a pass through to Wood but he missed his kick only to be tripped by O’Bryne who was trying to clear the ball six yards out.
It was a stroke of luck for Montrose and captain GARRY WOOD stepped up himself to fire home the equaliser from the spot. It was the Gable Endies’ first penalty kick since early August.
Gray then won a corner kick but there wasn’t to be a last gasp winner as Deasley’s corner kick was cleared before referee Duncan blew for full time.
MONTROSE: McKenzie, Crawford, McIntosh, Wilson, Campbell, Masson, Webster (Bonar), Watson, Wood, Gray, Deasley Subs not used – Sturrock, McCord, Duguid, Bell and McCafferty