Montrose Football Club gave themselves and their fans a massive boost when they defeated derby rivals Arbroath at Links Park on Saturday – and it was no more than they deserved.
The Gable Endies were up for it from the start and took the match to their great rivals. They were defensively solid, well-organised and played the match at a great tempo, which the Arbroath defence just couldn’t cope with. Arbroath had a few chances of their own which they couldn’t convert and, once Montrose had grabbed a three goal lead, early in the second half, there was only ever going to be one winner.
The victory didn’t move Montrose off the bottom, but it certainly gives them hope for the remaining eight fixtures of what has been a difficult season.
Manager Paul Hegarty again changed his line-up, for the sixth derby of the season. Out went Ross Graham, the injured Alan Campbell, Paul Watson and Jordan Allan. Into the side came Andrew Steeves, the 20 year-old left-sided defender, having been signed on loan from Forfar Athletic on an emergency transfer prior to the game. Also back in the line-up came Graham Webster, who had been recalled from a loan spell with Carnoustie Panmure. While both Marvin Andrews and Jonathan Crawford also returned to the side.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal with Masson and Steeves in the full-back roles. Andrews and Crawford teamed up in central defence for the first time. Webster was on the right wing, with Scott Johnston moving over onto the left. Cameron and McCord were in the middle of the park. Wood and Campbell returned as a strike pairing.
On the bench for Montrose were Watson, O’Neil, Banjo, Harkins, Allan, Graham and McCafferty.
Arbroath, one time runaway leaders, got the sixth derby match of the season underway at a blustery Links Park, looking to record their first win of 2015.
Montrose shooting with the wind had a chance inside the first minute when Garry Wood sent an overhead kick, from a McCord cross, over McCallum’s crossbar.
Montrose thought they had opened the scoring in the two minutes. Webster won a corner-kick which McCord took quickly to Cameron, the midfielder’s cross was rattled home via the crossbar by Marvin Andrews, only for play to be called back by the referee for the ball moving before it was kicked. From the second attempt, Andrews this time headed McCord’s corner over the bar.
In the six minutes, Montrose created another opening. McCord took a pass from Wood and played in Campbell, but McCallum managed to gather the ball at his feet.
With 13 minutes gone, Arbroath won a corner when Andrews blocked a cross from Linn. Carreiro’s corner was headed down by Stewart to McManus but this time it was Masson who stopped the striker in his tracks.
Seconds later, the visitors won a free-kick when Campbell fouled Hunter, 30 yards from goal. Linn lined up the free-kick but sent his effort narrowly wide of goal.
Bobby Linn of the visitors was booked by referee Steven in 17 minutes, when he clearly dived in the box, trying to win a penalty kick.
Two minutes later, Webster was fouled giving Montrose a free-kick. McCord fired it in, but his low effort went wide of goal.
Montrose were starting to get a foothold in the match and Cameron and Webster linked up to put Ross Campbell in with a half-chance, and from the edge of the box he fired over the bar.
Linn collected a pass from Stewart and twisted and turned inside the area, only to see McKenzie pull off a great stop at the near post. Linn’s corner found McManus at the far post but he couldn’t connect with the ball and it went harmlessly wide.
Terry Masson became the first Montrose player to see yellow, when he was booked for a challenge which at first went unpunished.
With 28 minutes gone, Links Park erupted when Montrose opened the scoring with a great move. New boy Steeves found Campbell with a great pass, he unselfishly slipped the ball wide to GRAHAM WEBSTER inside the box and the midfielder took a touch before blasting the ball into the top corner, before celebrating in front of the away support.
Four minutes later, the visitors should have equalised when Carreiro ran into the box and found the unmarked McManus who somehow managed to side-foot the ball wide, when it appeared easier to score.
Seconds later, Montrose almost made it two. Webster, who was having a great match, cut into the box and found McCord and the midfielder drilled an effort just wide of the far post.
Stewart was warned after a tackle on Webster on the touchline. McCord’s free-kick found Wood but he could only bullet a header over the bar.
Stuart McKenzie kept Montrose in the match on the stroke of half-time, when he tipped an effort from Stewart around the post.
Half-time: Montrose 1, Arbroath 0.
Montrose won an early second half free-kick when play was brought back, after Wood was fouled and no advantage gained. McCord played his free-kick back to Steeves, whose cross was cleared.
The Gable Endies took a two-goal lead in 48 minutes. Wood opened up the away defence and found McCord, whose neat pass put ROSS CAMPBELL through on goal and the striker lashed a low effort into the bottom corner.
Arbroath tried to hit back and Linn turned his man inside the box, only for McKenzie to again block his effort at the near post. Carreiro’s corner was too strong and went out for a corner at the far side.
It was all Montrose now and it was no surprise when they scored a third goal, in 51 minutes. Webster again found his way into the box and his cross was headed down at the back post by Scott Johnston and ROSS CAMPBELL nipped in, between two defenders, to knock home his second goal of the afternoon before celebrating with the Montrose fans behind the goal.
Dangerman Linn was a one-man Arbroath attack and he raced into the box before crossing, where Andrews, in clearing, sliced over his own crossbar. Linn’s corner found McBride and McKenzie did well to tip his header over the bar.
Montrose missed a good chance on 56 minutes. McCord whipped over a free-kick which was just missed at the far post by Campbell and Wood.
Arbroath, in an effort to get back into the match, brought on top scorer Simon Murray, for Jack Smith in 57 minutes.
Three minutes later they made a further change when Kevin Buchan replaced Paul McManus.
The Arbroath defence was all over the place and Montrose should have made them pay. Webster’s cross picked out an unmarked Wood and he flicked the ball to McCord and from six yards out his shot seemed net-bound, only for an away defender to put in a great defending block.
Montrose almost had that fourth goal in 62 minutes, Steeves found Wood and this time the captain’s back heeler crashed off the near post with McCallum beaten.
Cameron then picked up a booking for Montrose when he fouled Carreiro. Thankfully for Montrose, McKenzie came to his side’s rescue when he tipped over McBride’s free-kick.
With 67 minutes gone, Jonathan Crawford picked up a booking when he stopped Linn in his stride, to take a booking for the team. Hunter this time took the free-kick only to send the ball over the bar.
Allan Moore made his final change, bringing on Ryan McGeevar for Liam Gordon.
The visitors almost snatched a goal back in 72nd minutes. Murray dummied a cross from Whatley and Kevin Buchan saw his shot from the edge of the box crash off the bar.
Montrose then made their first substitution, when David Banjo came on to replace Graham Webster, who had had a great match.
Ross McCord then picked up a booking for kicking the ball away after a free-kick had been given against him. Linn took the free-kick, only for McKenzie again to save well.
Stuart McKenzie picked up a fifth Montrose booking in 77 minutes, when he kicked the ball into the crowd after a shot had gone past him.
With three minutes left, Montrose made a second change, when two-goal Ross Campbell was replaced by Jordan Allan.
Banjo almost slipped in McCord for a fourth goal but he was taken out of play by Kevin Nicoll, who was promptly booked. McCord took the free-kick himself but only managed to hit the wall.
Arbroath were forced to see out of remainder of the match with only ten men after Hunter was forced to go off injured for a tackle on Crawford.
Montrose: McKenzie, Masson, Steeves, Cameron, Andrews, Crawford, Webster (Banjo), McCord, Wood, R. Campbell (Allan), S. Johnston. Substitutes not used: Watson, O’Neil, Harkins, Graham and McCafferty.