Queen of the South - Montrose -
As was to be expected Manager Stewart Petrie made full use of his squad by making several changes to his starting line-up for this William Hill Scottish Cup third round replay at Palmerston Park, Dumfries. With important league games coming up in the following two games, both away from home, Craig Johnston, Connor McLaren, Liam Callaghan were replaced in the starting line up by Graham Webster, Kerr Hay and Gary Fraser. Jamie Redman was not in the squad and he was replaced by the nonstop efforts of Terry Masson in midfield. So the keeper, the two wing backs and the back three were as before to retain that solid looking unit. In midfield were Martyn Fotheringham along with Webster and Masson and up front were Fraser and Hay. Chris Templeman again started on the bench along with Callaghan, Ross Campbell, McLaren and Johnston. There was no substitute goalkeeper.
Referee for the night was the same as the Saturday game, John McKendrick who had his usual solid game and needed to be in the face of two very committed and determined teams who wasted no time in displaying their intentions.
Queens boss Gary Naismith also made changes but only two to the starting line-up. On to the bench surprisingly went James McFadden and Andrew Stirling to be replaced by Connor Murray and Lyndon Dykes no doubt also with a difficult league game coming up a few days later.
A crowd of 794 looked on as play got underway on a relatively mild night but with an unpredictable breeze. Montrose kicked off on what looked like a very well worn 3G pitch and Masson made his presence felt early on with a typical but fair Masson like tackle. The Doonhamers then perked up and a long shot whizzed past Allan Flemings left hand post but he had it covered, didn’t he? At the other end Mo had a throw in deep in the Queens half but it came to nothing when Fraser was a whisker offside from the knock through. Another long raking ball from Queens was cleared by Matty Allan but immediately returned to the Montrose end and scrambled away for a corner from which Fleming made a remarkable save down low to his right to push it away for another corner. This time Mo cleared it well and Webster was sent away in what was the best Montrose attack thus far after about 10 minutes. Fraser just failed to connect and force it home. Kerr Hay then went on a mazy solo run but was stopped unceremoniously in his tracks to the displeasure of referee McKendrick but the free kick sailed harmlessly over the top. That perked up the minibus load of Mo fans on the far side however – fair play to them for making such a journey on a Tuesday night at short notice.
Queens’ favoured tactic looked to be long raking balls into the Mo full back positions which they no doubt felt were the empty spaces vacated by the two attacking Mo wing backs Ballantyne and Steeves but the speed and strength of those two proved a match for anything Queens threw at them. Well almost, because in the 23rd minute Queens took the lead. The ball had been headed clear but fell to STEPHEN DOBBIE just inside the outer left-hand corner on the penalty box. He hit it first time on the volley and it scudded into the bottom corner giving Fleming no chance. It was the sort of quality strike which at league two level could have gone anywhere. 1-0 to Queens.
Montrose were not amused and from the bench Messrs Petrie and Campbell became very animated in their efforts to raise their players on the field as another Queens goal might have killed off the game at that point. It became more end to end with Montrose looking hurt and not happy about it. Free kicks both ways came and went, long balls came and went but both keepers Fleming and Martin were equal to what came their way. Dillon went down under a clash of heads as we held our breath when the physio went on but fortunately he was fine after a cuddle.
Dykes for Queens missed an easy chance on the 40 minute mark as he controlled the ball well near the edge of the six yard box but then hit a hard shot well high and wide to the relief of Fleming and the rest of us. He and Queens were made to pay for that however as just before half time Graham Webster levelled it at 1-1 with a well taken goal. Ballantyne gathered the ball out on the far right and a long cross was sent to the far left hand post beyond the reach of keeper Martin. GRAHAM WEBSTER rose above the back-peddling defender and looped a perfectly placed header over the stranded keeper into the right hand top corner. The Mo minibus fans were noisy again. Half time at 1-1 and the game nicely poised.
We expected Queens to come out well fired up for the second half but it was Montrose who started the better as young Kerr Hay almost got on the end of a clever chip through. He managed to connect but just couldn’t get any power into it. Then Queens had a spell on top and Mo had to defend well without making game changing mistakes which the Championship level opposition would likely exploit to the full. On the hour mark Fotheringham was replaced by Callaghan to bring fresh legs into midfield. Cammy Ballantyne saw yellow for a risky tackle. Then for Queens Murray was replaced by the dangerous McFadden to the delight of the home crowd who were by then becoming restless. Mo responded by bringing Craig Johnston on for Kerr Hay.
Then another goal out of nothing. A corner to Queens on the left went sailing to the far side of the Mo box via a head or two and there was DEREK LYLE to swivel and hit an incredible volley into Fleming’s top right hand corner giving him no chance. It was another quality strike the like of which at league two level could have gone anywhere. At 2-1 well into the second half that could have snuffed out any chance of a Montrose come back. Lyle again a few moments later could have added to the scoreline. Then Jim Butter on the Montrose bench had to be spoken to by the referee for something he was not happy about. Meanwhile as Jim and the referee exchanged pleasantries manager Petrie made his final change bringing on Chris Templeman for Gary Fraser to add height in the last fifteen minutes when long ball tactics became the order of the day in search of an equaliser. Queens were time wasting by now and warned several times but made their own final change bringing on Tapping for Lyle to shore up their defence against a final onslaught by Montrose. It was an onslaught as well, even Allan Fleming went forward and stayed there for a succession of crosses down the throat of Queens keeper Martin. Four minutes of stoppage time, Montrose were not yet out of it as they battled hard but the ball refused to cross the Queens whitewash. The final chance came when Webster hit a shot from the edge of the box but over the bar. That’s the difference between two quality championship strikes and a league two strike sadly and Queens probably just about deserved their 2-1 win. But, they were made to work very hard for it by a hard working Montrose side and the Doonhamer crowd were pleased to hear the final whistle with all eleven Montrose players camped in the Queens penalty area.
So back to the league for Montrose. Pity no cup game against Partick Thistle as they are the only long standing (excepting more recent clubs like Annan) Scottish League side Montrose have never played in a cup competition. Good luck to Queen of the South however, they certainly will have a lot of respect for us now as well.
Team Lineups & Stats
William Hill Scottish Cup
Third Round Replay
Tuesday 21st November 2017
||4||Matty Allan (s56)
|9||Derek Lyle (s79)
||6||Martyn Fotheringham (s55)
||9||Gary Fraser (s73)
|17||Connor Murray (s65)
||11||Kerr Hay (s66)
|6||Callum Tapping (s79)
||19||Liam Callaghan (s55)
|16||James McFadden (s65)
||16||Craig Johnston (s66)
||10||Chris Templeman (s73)
|20||Jack Leighfield (GK)
Graham McNellie, George King
Queen of the South - Stephen Dobbie (24), Derek Lyle (67)
Montrose - Graham Webster (43)
Montrose - Cammy Ballantyne (77)