Johnshaven travelled up to Aberdeen, able to name a full squad again for the second game in a row, to face fellow relegation battlers Lads Club at Hazelhead.
With three regular first choice centre-halves unavailable, the away side named a makeshift defence, with Ross Blease dropping back from his more attacking role of late, partnering Smith who also predominately plays in attack. Together with Dalgarno and Calder, and with Scott Spink between the sticks, they put on a marvellous defensive display, to ensure their first league clean sheet of the season.
Couineaux-Rice and Cammy Spink were both given their first starts for a few games and both caused the home team all sorts of problems, in the first half. Couineaux-Rice’s pace let him get in behind the defender numerous times in the first half, but the young winger just couldn’t find a final ball when needed to create that golden opportunity.
Good work from both Bailey and Forbes up top won a handful of corners for the away team and it was quite unbelievable how they never converted from any of them, after some terrific deliveries from Spink.
‘Keeper Scott Spink had his first save of the match on 40 minutes. When a home attacker found himself in space, his effort looked to be sailing into the far corner but the Johnner shot-stopper managed to push the ball wide for a corner. A home player rose to head the ball from the corner but was narrowly beaten, to the relief of the away team.
Half-time: Lads Club 0, Johnshaven 0.
Right-back Dalgarno was having a superb game and was nearly rewarded with a goal, when he chased in a Cammy Spink cross, but could only stab the ball over the bar after pressure from the ‘keeper.
Johnner made their first change on 65 minutes, when trialist Daniel Mallie replaced Couineaux-Rice, who had taken one too many knocks throughout the game.
The attacking midfielder was immediately involved, as he first played a great through-ball to Forbes, who was thwarted by the ‘keeper when in on goal, and then had a great effort himself from 25 yards, tipped past the post by the home ‘keeper.
Johnshaven won a penalty, admittedly soft, when a Lads Club player was adjudged to have fouled Keogh, as a corner was played into the area. Ross Blease stepped up and blasted it home to give the away team a much-deserved lead.
Johnshaven made three further changes when Stuart Beedie, Sword and Craig replaced the exhausted trio of Cammy Spink, Bailey and Forbes.
The away team held on for a nervy finish with Blease and Smith throwing their bodies in front of everything that came their way. On top of a great display in the middle, from Keogh and Beedie, it really was a great performance from the whole team. The win edges them further away from the drop but they still have a lot to do between now and the season’s end.
Man of the Match: Scott Beedie
Team: Scott Spink, Jack Dalgarno, Dale Calder, Matthew Keogh, Ross Blease, Steven Smith, Yan Couineaux-Rice, (Daniel Mallie), Scott Beedie, Darren Forbes (Lachlan Craig), Liam Bailey (Logan Sword) & Cameron Spink (Stuart Beedie)
Training Wednesday night in Johnshaven 6.30 p.m. Montrose boys meet at the Horse at 6.10.