Edinburgh City 0 Montrose 2Before the game a Montrose fan showed me the new key-ring he had bought. The tag on it read ‘Keep calm, support Montrose.’ Well I can assure you that after supporting the Mo for over 60 years you can achieve one or the other but not both! This game was to be a perfect example of that.
The end result was a 2-0 win and yet another away win to take 3 more points back to Links Park but it would be stretching it a bit too far to say it was anywhere near a ‘keep calm’ good performance game.
Manager Stewart Petrie brought Connor McLaren back into the starting line up at right wing back in place of Webster and Craig Johnston replaced Gary Fraser up front. Fleming was in goal with the three at the back being Allan, Dillon and Bolochoweckyj (Bolo) with McLaren and Steeves as wing backs. In central midfield were Milne, Watson, and Redman with Templeman and Johnston up front. On the bench were Hay, Millar, Fraser, Callaghan, Masson, Webster and Ross Campbell. Edinburgh City also had several new faces on show the most recognisable one being the old warrior himself Pat Scullion ex Clyde and Berwick Rangers. Referee for the day was Lorraine Watson.
A great Mo away support yet again watched a fairly low-key start to the game when even a free kick to the Mo from a good position floated harmlessly for a goal kick. Another similar free kick minutes later ended similarly as Scullion cleared it unchallenged. Then City swung into action and dominated play for much of the middle part of the first half. They hit the bar when a goal looked certain and shortly afterwards they had another good chance but Allan Fleming brilliantly tipped it on to the bar and over. Ashley Grimes almost put City in the lead as he jinked through the Mo defence but a weak finish saw Fleming gather safely. The warning signs were there however and it appeared Montrose were not ticking properly either in midfield or up front. Nevertheless the defence coped well with Allan, Dillon and Bolo earning their wages well enough.
Then against the run of play it was Montrose who opened the scoring in 36th minute. Lewis Milne took a corner and in the resulting goalmouth melee MICHAEL BOLOCHOWECKYJ found the bottom corner of Callum Antell’s net with an overhead kick to make it 1-0 to the Mo. The way the first half had gone it is probable Mo fans would have settled for that come half time but it seemed to spur on the players and it quickly became 2-0 when in the 39th minute LEWIS MILNE side footed in a left wing cross. As a result City’s Farid el Alagui was booked for protesting. As if 2-0 flattered Montrose it should have been three by half time when Paul Watson took a penalty after young Connor McLaren was upended in the box. Watson’s kick was just the right height for Antell however and the keeper pushed it away for a corner which came to nothing.
Would Stewart Petrie change things around at half time to re-gain the upper hand? The answer was ‘no’ as his team were 2-0 up. In fact it was Montrose who looked more threatening as a couple of corners were taken and cleared. It was City who changed things in the 52nd minute with Cameron Blues coming on for Calum Hall. Templeman had a half chance but his shot was saved low down at the last gasp by Antell otherwise it was one of Templeman’s quieter games.
Uncharacteristically Montrose then had a very raggy patch by giving the ball away far too often, being caught in possession or passes going astray – it was disjointed stuff at times but Edinburgh City were unable to capitalise on it. Indeed Scott Shepherd missed a ‘sitter’ when a goal looked likely as he hit it hopelessly wide when through on keeper Fleming. Then as part of Montrose’s dodgy spell Dillon and Fleming contrived to have an ‘after you’ activity which could and should have resulted in a City goal but an outstretched leg got it away. From the resultant corner McLaren headed a goal bound effort off the line from under the bar.
In his usual style manager Petrie then made his first substitutions just after the hour mark. Off went McLaren and Watson and on came Terry Masson and Liam Callaghan to bolster midfield and it certainly made a difference. Added to that City did themselves no favours by going down to ten men as Farid el Alagui saw yellow for the second time and thus was sent off for ungentlemanly conduct in blocking Fleming’s clearance. Immediately City made another substitution with Ashley Grimes off and Nathan Donnelly-Kay on. All these events changed the game very much Montrose’s way and made it easier to defend their two goal lead. With the minutes to go Chris Templeman made way for Gary Fraser to move up front with Craig Johnston to stretch 10 man city whose back line found the fitness of Johnston and the freshness of Fraser hard to cope with whilst at the same time trying to push forward. It was a smart move by manager Petrie.
City were frustrated they had nothing to show for what was a decent display and had another player, Shaun Harrison booked for a foul on Fraser. City were not finished however as a left wing cross fizzed across the face of goal and to safety beyond with Fleming an interested spectator. As we moved into stoppage time City made their final substitution with Harrison coming off and Craig Thomson on but it was Montrose who nearly scored again as their best move of the game saw Milne break down the right, hit a long ball to the left and only good defending prevented Fraser from getting the final telling touch.
The last piece of action was Donnelly-Kay being shown yellow for a high tackle as the referee blew for full time and a 2-0 win for the Mo. It was by no means a vintage display by the Mo but a good team can still win even on an off day – and this was one of those occasions. MOTM for Montrose goes to the whole back four of Matty Allan, Sean Dillon, Bolo and Andrew Steeves who gave very little away despite a less than great overall team display. Credit where it’s due however, a win’s a win and keeps the Mo pushing on at the top of the league.
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 13th January 2018
|4||Shaun Harrison (s88)
||22||Connor McLaren (s65)
|11||Ashley Grimes (s72)
|12||Calum Hill (s52)
|18||Farid El Alagui
||8||Paul Watson (s65)
|24||Jesus Garcia Tena
||10||Chris Templeman (s79)
||9||Gary Fraser (s79)
|7||Craig Thomson (s88)
||19||Liam Callaghan (s65)
|8||Cameron Blues (s52)
||2||Terry Masson (s65)
|9||Nathan Donnelly-Kay (s72)
|14||Gareth Rodger||20||Ross Campbell
|27||Lewis Allan||1||Jordan Millar (GK)
Graeme Stewart, Finlay Currie
Montrose - Michael Bolochoweckj (36), Lewis Milne (39)
Edinburgh City - Farid El Alagui (39), Shaun Harrison (82), Nathan Donnelly-Kay (90+3)
Edinburgh City - Farid El Alagui (67)