Queen's Park - Montrose -
Ten man Montrose Football Club came away from Hampden Park on Saturday with an extremely hard fought point as they battled against a tough Queen’s Park side and the wintery conditions which last the entire match. Glasgow was engulfed in snow from the kick off and didn’t let up for the duration of the match.
Queen’s Park had all the chances and all the possession but they just couldn’t break down a resilient Gable Endies side, who even with the loss of Terry Masson due to an unfortunate red card grabbed a point which made it four from their two visits to Hampden this season.
With trialist Scot Buist choosing to sign for his home town side Stirling Albion and Graham Webster suspended Montrose made two changes to their line up with Andrew Steeves making a welcome return to the side after nearly three months out with a knee injured and top scorer Gary Fraser returning from suspension.
This saw Montrose line up with Millar in goal with Pascazio and Kenneth the full backs. Allan and Steeves were in central defence. Mallagaray moved to the right wing with Ferguson on the left. Comrie and Masson were in the middle. Campbell and Fraser were in attack.
On the bench for Montrose were Harwood, Milne, McLeod, Reid, McWilliam, trialist Ally Smith and goalkeeper Sandy Wood.
It was the home side who got the match underway at a wintery National Stadium with the snow falling heavily on top of what was a playable but slightly slippery surface.
The returning Steeves saw his first piece of action inside the first sixty seconds when he deflected a Galt cross out for a corner kick. Galt’s corner was cleared by Campbell but only as far as Carter who hooked an effort over the crossbar.
In the third minute Galt was allowed to run at the Montrose defence but fired wide of the post.
Montrose had a let off in the fourth minute when a cross from the left found David Galt inside the box and his header crashed off Millar’s bar with the keeper beaten.
Sixty seconds later Masson was fouled giving Montrose a free kick which Mallagaray took from the right but Campbell could only head on and out of play.
In the 19th minute Terry Masson picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a late tackle on Jamie McKernon. Bryan Wharton took the resultant free kick but he fired a low effort which was well held by Jordan Millar.
Five minutes later Queen’s Park were awarded a penalty kick when Andrew Steeves was adjudged to have held back Galt inside the area as both fought for possession. It was a soft award and at the same time difficult to know if the foul had been committed inside the area due to the lines disappearing under the blizzard.
Just however justice was done when Jordan Millar dived to his left to keep out Paul Woods penalty kick with John Carter somehow screwing the rebound wide from point blank range.
It was all Queen’s Park as they kept up pressure on the Montrose backline next to try his luck was Woods who twisted and turned before firing in a low effort that Millar got down well to save.
With ten minutes of the half remaining Queen’s Park carved out Montrose once again this time McKernon put Carter through on goal but again Jordan Millar was equal to the task as he kept out the forwards low effort.
Sixty seconds later Montrose breathed again when a cross from the impressive McKernon sailed over the Montrose back line and it was met by Galt who looped an effort over Millar only for the ball to smack off the crossbar once again.
Despite having all the play in difficult snowy conditions it was Montrose who grabbed the opener with three minutes of the first half left to play. Hand ball was given on the right hand side of the park and Mallagaray fired the free kick into the box the ball found its way to GARY FRASER who took a touch and turned to fire a low effort which was deflected as it found its way into the net for the strikers 12th goal of the season.
The home side thought they had grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half time but the flag had already been raised for offside.
Frantic efforts where made at half time to keep the pitch playable with the lines being cleared and one goalmouth being cleared by snow blowers! After a twenty minute half time referee Kevin Graham and the players emerged for the second half.
Two minutes into the second half Mallagaray won Montrose an early corner kick which was cleared only as far as Comrie who played in Ross Campbell whose shot was saved by Muir.
Five minutes into the second half Queen’s Park grabbed what on the balance of play was a deserved equaliser. Kenneth allowed his marker to square along the face of goal and JOHN CARTER was able to knock home from six yards out.
Montrose’s task became even more difficult in the 55th minute when Terry Masson picked up a second yellow card followed by a red for what can only be described a mistimed tackle in the difficult conditions. It seemed a soft award by referee Kevin Graham but Masson walked and Montrose had it all to do.
On the hour mark Queen’s Park made their first change of the afternoon with Joe Bradley replacing ex Montrose player Craig McLeish.
With 68 minutes gone David Galt broke past two challenges from Mallagaray and Steeves and got a sight of goal but Jordan Millar was on hand again to gather the ball in the snow.
Two minutes later Greg Pascazio was booked for a late challenge on Bradley.
Montrose made their first change of the afternoon when Declan Milne came onto replace a tiring Mallagaray on the right hand side of the midfield.
In the 77th minute Queen’s made their second substitution of the afternoon with Ryan Haynes replacing Vinnie Berry.
Seconds later Jordan Millar was at his best once again when he dived full length to keep out another low effort from Galt.
With five minutes remaining a corner kick from Queen’s Park’s full back Sean Burns caused panic inside the Montrose box and a shot from Carter was blocked on the goal-line and Montrose breathed again.
The home side still kept up the pressure in search of a winning goal and in the next minute they hit the Montrose crossbar for a third time. Again it was Burns corner kick that caused the problems and this time it was a header from Scott Gibson that hit the woodwork before being cleared.
With two minutes of the match remaining Scott Gibson became the first Queen’s Park player to be yellow carded for a solid challenge on Ross Campbell.
Montrose made a second switch with Kyle McLeod coming on to replace Fraser who had worked himself into the ground in the difficult conditions.
There was still time for Queen’s Park to grab a winner and Hynes tried his luck from the edge of the box but his effort went wide of goal.
They made their final change in stoppage time with Grant Brennan coming on for Galt.
The final action of the match say Kyle McLeod win a free kick which Kenneth took and to waste some time fired the ball out of play and Montrose against all the odds had secured the valuable away point.