Clyde 1 Montrose 2
An unfamiliar looking Montrose starting eleven began the game with Manager Stewart Petrie not even on the touchline either – he chose to watch most of the game from a lofty position high up in the grandstand. It was left to Ross Campbell, Jim Butter and Paul Watson to oversee from the touchline. At first sight of the teamsheet it looked a worryingly young Montrose line up against what is usually a big experienced Clyde side. For the Mo Millar was in goal with a back four of Ballantyne, Pascazio, Bolochoweckyj and Callaghan. In midfield were McWalter, Masson, Thomas, and Hay with Smith and Templeman up top. There was a strong looking bench with Fleming, Webster, Allan, McDonald, Ross Campbell, Ferguson and Fraser keeping it warm. It was a fairly unfamiliar looking Clyde side as well with Manager Barry Ferguson gone and Bob Malcolm taking over as caretaker Manager who either chose to drop some senior players or had several unavailable. Referee was Grant Irvine who had a good game except maybe for a petty booking of young Kerr Hay for kicking the ball away when it looked more like he tripped over it but right in front of the home fans whose team were 2-0 down.
Petrie’s game plan started to work well from the off as his young side looked to inject pace and controlled aggression through midfield. With a central spine of Millar, Bolo and Templeman holding things together the younger lads, and Masson, ran Clyde ragged in the first half and could easily have been three up by half time. As it was they were 2-0 up and it would have been three but for a great save by Gibson just before the break. Clyde had the first attack of the game but Montrose gobbled it up and swiftly broke down the right with a strong overlapping surge from Cammy Ballantyne who linked up well with McWalter. Ballantyne weaved his way to the by line and cut it across goal for Kerr Hay to drive it home from close range for his first Mo goal. Almost immediately Clyde had a fantastic chance to equalise. The ball was kept in play on the Montrose left hand side and a great cross should have been buried but instead the resultant header was put wide. That was to be the only goal threat Clyde could muster in the first half despite great huffing and puffing in midfield. Montrose were quicker and rattled Clyde with snappy movement both on and off the ball by more than once dispossessing Clyde players. A second Montrose goal looked on the cards and it came five minutes before half time. A free kick out wide on the right was taken by Liam Callaghan and from a ruck of players in the Clyde box Greg Pascazio rose above them all to head home with Gibson rooted to his line. Gibson atoned a minute later by tipping another goal bound header acrobatically over the bar. 2-0 to Montrose at half time.
For the second half Clyde made a double substitution with one of the players coming off being centre back Chris Smith who was given a torrid time first half by Templeman. It made little difference to the pattern of play however though Clyde missed another sitter which could have changed the game. At this point you wondered if Montrose’s young side might buckle under sustained Clyde pressure but the latter turned out to be no more than a blunt instrument and the Mo coped comfortably with what was thrown at them. Stewart Petrie came down from his lofty perch after an hour or so and changes were made to freshen things up. A bit of experience was introduced with Webster coming on for Hay who had done well but had been yellow carded. Pascazio had another header brilliantly tipped over by Gibson when a third Montrose goal would probably have cleared most of the small crowd from the stadium. Masson also had a header which went agonisingly wide. Midfield play was 50/50 mostly but the difference was that Montrose were using what ball they had much better and more quickly than Clyde. David Gormley who had come on for Clyde as a substitute then scorned a good scoring opportunity when taking too much time on the ball.
Fraser came on for Templeman after 70 minutes to inject more pace up front on a tiring and stretched Clyde defence. Big Temps had done his job well by that time. McKenzie was then substituted for Phil Johnston as Clyde went for more up front and it paid off in the 73rd minute as Peter McDonald pulled a goal back for Clyde as he hooked it high into the net from close range. A determined Clyde last 20 minutes looked likely but frankly came to nothing and Montrose saw the game out by bringing on another defender Callum McDonald in place of Dylan Thomas. The game ended with Montrose on the attack as referee Irvine thought enough was enough.
Stand out player for Montrose was Greg Pascazio whose no-nonsense defending was crucial to the cause. Get rid. Clear your lines. At this level messing about in your own box is unwise. Greg was assisted greatly by big Bolo revelling against his old club and Ballantyne as usual was impressive scurrying down the right-hand side. Liam Callaghan had his best game in a Mo shirt as he slotted in to the left back position in place of Andy Steeves who sat the game out to rest his hamstring after the Forfar game. In midfield all attained good pass marks for energy and commitment with Dylan Thomas also having his best game. Kerr Hay is small in stature but big in heart and ran his socks off as well as ran Clyde ragged by switching from left to right and back again making it hard for Clyde to mark him. Terry Masson and Kieran McWalter gave solid ‘they shall not pass’ performances and more than matched their opposite numbers whilst Chris Templeman had a field day against a lumbering Clyde defence and several times twinkled his way through. A last word for young Matty Smith up front. It’s not easy playing against big experienced centre backs but his energy and commitment could not be faulted.
Montrose will play much better sides than Clyde but on the evidence of this game they are more likely to be challenging at the right end of the table. Clyde worryingly for them, are not. MOTM was Greg Pascazio who, save for one early poor defensive header was immaculate throughout.