Stranraer 2 Montrose 0
If Montrose felt the journey to Stranraer was a long one the journey back would seem even longer after a poor display at Stair Park. Stranraer capitalised on two set pieces early in the first half and with Montrose showing very little threat up front the game was uphill from there.
Stewart Petrie made several changes by bringing in new loanee Ryan Harrington along with Paddy Cregg, Danny Cavanagh and Craig Johnston. The line-up was Fleming, Harrington, Dillon, Iain Campbell, Steeves, Cregg, Cavanagh, Watson, Callaghan, Henderson and Johnston. On the bench were Millar, Allan, Webster, Masson, Redman, Antoniazzi and Rennie.
It appeared Montrose were lacking in height both at the back and up top and Stranraer soon exploited that with a series of corners and set pieces two of which were converted to put the home side in full control as time and space was conceded both times in or around the six yard box. Brownlie and Anderson were the scorers. Montrose only created one chance of note in the first half as Johnston took advantage of a rare Stranraer defensive slip but unfortunately hit his shot high and wide. Montrose credit to them were playing some neat football across the back and across the middle but the home keeper Max Currie was untroubled until much later in the game. So it was 2-0 to Stranraer at half time.
Montrose made one change for the start of the second half with Matty Allan coming on for Paul Watson. Certainly, Matty Allan was missed in the first half and slotted in well when he came on but young loanee Harrington was pushed further forward on the right and appeared to be in unfamiliar territory. The first move of the second half almost saw Montrose grab a goal back as Euan Henderson latched on to a poor clearance from Stranraer but the onrushing keeper Currie got there first only to see his clearance hit Henderson and bounce agonising for Montrose just wide of the post. At the other end Stranraer hit the bar with a 20 yarder but Allan dealt with the afters by clearing his lines.
On the 60 minute mark the substitution season started with Montrose bringing on Rennie for Cavanagh who had found it hard to get into the game. Henderson hit a great shot soon after which Currie parried for a corner but Dillon headed the resultant kick over the bar. Rennie mistimed a tackle which looked worse than it was and was rightly booked and so too was Stranraer’s Brownlee for unfairly molesting Rennie in the aftermath.
Henderson was then replaced by Masson with 20 minutes to go and how the Mo had missed the energy and drive of Masson earlier in the game. Another Stranraer substitution took place, Elliott off and Diver on to run down the clock but it was a signal for Montrose to awaken from slumber with 15 minutes remaining and have a right good go at trying to salvage something from the game. Callaghan tried his luck from 30 yards and keeper Currie did well to tip it for a corner. It was Currie again who saved the day with a point blank save from that corner, then Cregg hit a great shot which Currie also managed to deflect for a corner.
All of a sudden it was all Montrose but how the fans wished it had all started a bit earlier in the game. Yet another Currie save and Stranraer made another change to take the steam out of the pressure they were under. Off came Donnelly and on came Ashmore. Another save by Currie from a Montrose free kick 20 yards out and at that point the stadium announcer hailed keeper Currie as Man of the Match. In the dying moments Stranraer made their final substitution as Montrose kept up the pressure, but to no avail.
Manager Petrie will no doubt look back on this game with a great deal of frustration. He will wonder about his starting line up and the changes he made but the outcome anyway was always going to be difficult against a big strong Stranraer back line and with Montrose seldom winning the second ball a goal looked unlikely until that final 10 minutes flurry of activity. In League 1 it demonstrated that Montrose must get back to the defensive tightness they displayed in winning so many games in League 2. Final score 2-0 to Stranraer.
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 25th August 2018
|1||Max Currie||1||Allan Fleming
|4||Andy McDonald||12||Ryan Harrington
|5||David Brownlie||3||Andrew Steeves
|17||David Smith||22||Patrick Cregg
|22||Jamie Hamill||14||Seán Dillon|
|23||Adam Cummins||18||Iain Campbell
|6||Connor McManus||15||Danny Cavanagh (s62)
|8||Kyle Turner (s87)||8||Paul Watson (s45)
|11||Grant Anderson||23||Euan Henderson (s70)
|10||Luke Donnelly (s79)||16||Craig Johnston|
|14||Cameron Elliot (s70)||19||Liam Callaghan
|3||Chris McGowan||4||Matty Allan (s45)
|12||Ian Smith (s87)||7||Graham Webster
|15||Sam Lidington||2||Terry Masson (s70)
|16||Max Ashmore (s79)||17||Jamie Redman|
|19||Ciaran Diver (s70)||20||Chris Antoniazzi
|13||Lyle Avci||9||Martin Rennie (s62)
|21||Jordan Millar (GK)|
Ross Haswell, David Burns
Stranraer - David Brownlie (12), Grant Anderson (17)
Stranraer - David Brownlie (69)
Montrose - Martin Rennie (69)