Montrose FC pulled off an amazing comeback on Saturday to come from two goals down at half time to beat bottom side East Stirlingshire in an entertaining match at a wind and rain swept Links Park Stadium.
Paul Hegarty’s young side looked dead and buried at half time with the prospect of moving to the bottom of the league, but they staged a remarkable fightback to claim three points for the first time since Hallowe’en.
The goals Montrose conceded where avoidable and virtually the only shots the Shire had at goal during the match. In the second half Montrose came thundering back with goals from Webster, Pascazio and on loan defender Aaron Comrie to win and move into eighth spot just behind Arbroath.
Montrose were without top scorer Gary Fraser for the first time this season, with the departed Scott Johnston and Adam Harwood also out. In came Ryan Kenneth, Matty Allan and Ryan Ferguson.
Millar was in goal with Pascazio and Kenneth as full backs. Trialist Scot Buist and Matty Allan teamed up in central defence. Masson and Comrie took over in central midfield with Webster and Ferguson on the flanks. In the absence of Fraser, Mallagaray and Campbell were the front two.
Montrose won an early corner through a surging run from Ferguson; Barnard flapped at Mallagaray’s effort but kept the ball out of the net.
East Stirlingshire created their first opening in the 13th minute when Thomas Orr gathered the ball at the far post and drilled an effort across the goal and out for a bye.
Despite all the home pressure East Stirlingshire opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Ross Gilmour’s cross was cleverly flicked out by Orr towards KRIS FAULDS, who had the time and space to control the ball and fire an unstoppable volley into the top corner. Gilmour had to go off after being inured in the move and was replaced by Lloyd Kinnaird.
Five minutes later the Shire’s on loan striker Thomas Orr cut inside on the right and fired wide of the far post.
Montrose came close to an equaliser on the half hour when Mallagaray made space for a shot on the edge of the box and shot just wide of the post.
Things got worse for the Gable Endies as they fell two goals behind in the 35th minute with a goal out of nothing. Faulds played a beautiful chipped through-ball to the on loan THOMAS ORR who proceeded to calmly lob the ball over the oncoming keeper Jordan Millar.
On the stroke of half time only a great block from Chris Townsley stopped Mallagaray getting a goal back for Montrose after the Spaniard got on the end of a pass from Webster.
Half-time: Montrose 0, East Stirlingshire 2.
Montrose restarted with it all to do as the rain continued to lash down.
Three minutes into the half Montrose won a free kick when Kinnaird fouled Mallagaray. Ryan Kenneth swung over the set piece which found Greg Pascazio but he headed into the arms of Barnard.
In the 53rd minute Montrose pulled a goal back - their first of the year. A pass from Pascazio put Graham Webster into the box but the midfielder saw his shot blocked for a corner. Mallagaray’s first corner was headed behind by Cairnie but from the second, from the stand side, Montrose had better success. Pascazio headed on and GRAHAM WEBSTER ghosted in at the back post to knock home his ninth of the season.
Neil McCabe picked up the afternoon’s first booking for a late tackle on Ryan Ferguson.
In the 70th minute Montrose came close to equalising. Ferguson surged forward and found Mallagaray on the left. His pin point cross was almost knocked home at the far post by Webster.
With 15 minutes remaining Montrose got a deserved equaliser. Allan was fouled on the stand side by Orr. Mallagaray swung a great free kick into the box. It appeared to come off the head of an opponent and found its way to GREG PASCAZIO who had all the time in the world to head home his first goal for the club at point blank range.
The Gable Endies completed an amazing second half turn around when they scored the winner with six minutes left. Pascazio and Webster linked up on the right and the latter found AARON COMRIE racing forward into the box. The on-loan St Johnstone player looked up and from the edge of the box sent a left footer screaming into the top corner for this first goal for the club.
In the next minute East Stirlingshire made a change with Max Wright replacing Lynas.
Montrose played out time on a highly important three points by taking the ball into the corners, with a Graham Webster shot the nearest they came to adding a fourth goal.