Annan Athletic 4 Montrose 3Montrose Football Club ended their highly disappointing season 2014/15 with a defeat to Annan Athletic in a seven goal thriller on Saturday.
After going two goals behind Montrose fought back to level the match at 3 – 3 only to lose to a late headed goal. It was a soft goal to concede and is basically the story of the season.
With Brora Rangers winning the first ever Pyramid Playoff semi final at home to Edinburgh City on penalties all roads lead North next Saturday as Montrose head to Dudgeon Park looking to protect their league status in one of the, if not the biggest match in the club’s history. The second leg coming the following weekend at Links Park.
After the defeat to Clyde, Paul Hegarty made three changes to his line up out went Masson, the ill Jonathan Crawford and injured Jordan Allan. Into the side came Greg Cameron, Paul Watson and Declan Milne making his full debut.
Montrse lined up with McKenzie in goal with Cameron and Steeves in full back roles. Paul Watson teamed up with Moyes in central defence. Johnston and Campbell were the wide midfielders with McCord and Webster in the middle. Wood partnered youngster Milne in attack.
On the bench for Montrose were Masson, Banjo, C. Johnston, O’Neil, McIntosh, Graham and McCafferty.
It hardly felt like an end of season clash in May as Annan Athletic got the match underway at a rain lashed Galabank.
The home side had the first opportunity when Josh Todd gathered a cross from Andrew Mitchell only to fire his effort wide of goal.
In the next minute Moyes didn’t clear the ball properly and Ogan hooked the ball straight into the arms of McKenzie.
Annan where using the elements in their favour and in the 8th minute Weatherston gathered a corner from Mitchell and his shot on the turn was saved by McKenzie.
In the 12th minute Annan Athletic won a free kick in a dangerous position when Moyes fouled Todd. Thankfully for Montrose the free kick from Peter Weatherston hit the wall before being cleared.
Three minutes later Montrose almost opened the scoring. Scott Johnston floated over a near post corner which was met by the head of Graham Webster but his effort was cleared off the line. From the second corner Webster again attacked the ball but this time his low effort flew past the near post.
Montrose were made to made to pay for this miss as Annan Athletic opened the scoring two minutes later. PETER WEATHERSTON gathered a delightful through ball by Todd and was able to lash the ball past McKenzie from what looked like an offside position.
Montrose tried to hit back and in the 20th minute Garry Wood collected a pass from McCord and his 20 yard effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Michel in spectacular style.
Johnston again took the corner kick and this time Campbell got in a header but his effort was held by Mitchell.
Montrose found themselves two goals down in the 22nd minute. Johnston failed to clear his lines and Tosh pounced and slipped the ball through to PETER WEATHERSTON who fired in his second of the afternoon and 22nd goal of a prolific season.
Ewan Moyes then got on the end of another Scott Johnston corner kick and headed the ball on for Wood who fouled the goalkeeper in his efforts to make contact with the ball.
The Gable Endies were looking to get back into the match and in the 32nd minute Johnston feed McCord near the corner flag and the midfielder slipped a pass to Webster who’s first time shot was again tipped over the bar by Alex Mitchell.
From Johnston’s corner kick, Webster headed on only for Campbell to hook over the crossbar.
With ten minutes of the half left a great turn from Webster confused Black who could only bring him down. It was in Paul Watson territory but he could only hit the wall from 20 yards out.
Two minutes later as Montrose looked to hit back Garry Wood fired in an effort which was deflected wide for another fruitless corner kick for Montrose.
In the 43rd minute Webster laid the ball off to Ross McCord who ran into the home box only to see his low shot be tipped wide for a corner.
It was Annan who the first chance of the second half with dangerman Peter Weatherson volleying wide from close range.
Three minutes later Annan Athletic came close again when Montrose’s Greg Cameron came close to heading into his own net as he cleared a free kick from Steven Sloan.
Montrose made a change in the 51st minute when Ewan Moyes had to come off due to a calf injury and Ross Graham came on in his place. Graham went to left back with Steeves moving to central defence.
Three minutes later Ross McCord tried his luck from the edge of the box but his lob cleared Mitchell’s crossbar.
Declan Milne then played a great pass up the wing to Campbell he found Wood but he was flagged offside.
Montrose got themselves back into the match in the 60th minute when they pulled a goal back. Graham Webster got himself free on the right and his deep cross was knocked back across goal by Campbell to GARRY WOOD who rifled home his 12th goal of the season from close range.
The Gable Endies had the bit between their teeth and forced a corner in the following minute. Johnston’s corner found Watson whose shot was deflected wide for a corner kick. Johnston took the kick again and this time Steeves found Wood with a header but this time his effort was blocked.
In the 62nd minute Montrose made another change with Leighton McIntosh coming on in place of Scott Johnston.
Annan Athletic scored again in the 65th minute with a goal out of nothing. Keeper Mitchell launched a clearance up the wing which Weatherson chased and he cut the ball back into the path of JUNIOR OGEN who sent a low effort into the bottom corner with Graham unable to cut out the danger.
It could have been worse two minutes later but thankfully for Montrose Mitchell hooked wide at the back post.
Montrose almost pulled another goal back in the 70th minute. McCord’s corner kick was headed back across goal by Campbell and in the goalmouth scramble Declan Milne just couldn’t force the ball home from close range.
Montrose then brought on Terry Masson in the centre of midfield to replace Ross McCord in the 72nd minute.
Two minutes later in the action packed match McIntosh got on the end of a Campbell cross but could only head at the goalkeeper.
In the 80th minute Montrose scored their second goal of the match. Another Webster cross caused danger and the ball hit off a defender and looped up into the air and McIntosh got in a header as he challenged keeper Mitchell and it hit off ROSS CAMPBELL and went into the net.
Two minutes later Montrose equalised. Again the danger came down the right. A Cameron throw in was gathered by McIntosh and his near post cross found Wood who tied the ball up for ROSS CAMPBELL to send a great right footed volley into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Annan Athletic tried to hit back and Josh Todd curled an effort just wide of the far post with McKenzie beaten.
With five minutes of the game remaining Annan Athletic scored the winning goal in the seven goal thriller. Andrew Mitchell crossed deep to the back post and with McKenzie failing to come for the ball and it was left for MARTIN McNIFF to out jump Cameron and head in the winner.
With time running out Annan Athletic brought on Matty Flynn and Rabin Omar for McNiff and Sloan.
Montrose had a wonderful opportunity to grab a share of the spoils in the second minute of stoppage time. McKenzie launched a massive kick up field. Wood controlled the ball and picked out the unmarked McIntosh but with only keeper Mitchell to beat his effort was brilliantly pushed aside by the Annan number one and with it chance of a point. Webster’s corner was too deep and with it went referee Graham’s final whistle on a pulsating ninety minutes of football.