East Fife 0 Montrose 2
This was a very convincing all-round performance from Montrose. Several more changes to the starting eleven were made but the back division were the same as at Annan in midweek with Fleming in goal then Harrington, Dillon, Iain Campbell and Steeves across the back. It was midfield and up front where the changes were made however. Paul Watson retained his place and what a difference he makes there with his no nonsense tackling, his encouragement of those around him and his height ability at set pieces at both ends. Paddy Cregg also retained his place as did Terry Masson who whilst carrying on with his free ranging role he still was a threat coming forward as well as his usual tenacious self when needing to defend. It was up front where the big difference was though, we started with three up front, Craig Johnston for his non-stop running, Martin Rennie for his height and young Euan Henderson for his pace a guile. With three up front Montrose certainly held the ball up field more and that alone took pressure off defence as well as being more of a goal threat ourselves.
On the bench were Millar, Ross Campbell, Fotheringham, Antoniazzi, Webster and Callaghan. Referee for the day was Mike Roncone and a crowd of 636 was boosted by two very noisy bus loads of Montrose fans, plus two Anglos one of whom had travelled from Wiltshire to see the Mo. Well done Rob Stinchcombe.
The game got off to a great start with Montrose scoring in the second minute with their first attack. EUAN HENDERSON collected a through ball just over the halfway line and veered away to the left and past a couple of defenders on the way. A gap opened up for him and he moved swiftly inside, saw a shooting opportunity and let fly. Goalkeeper McDowall was a mere spectator as it whistled past him into the bottom corner of his net. 1-0 to the Mo, cue Hamish with non-stop chanting, we want two. A great start for Henderson with Hearts Manager Craig Levine sitting up in the stand watching him.
The game settled down when you might have expected East Fife to come back strongly but Montrose held firm and Fleming was well protected as he capably dealt with what came his way. Having scored early on the half time whistle seemed to take an age to come but in truth neither side seriously threatened and Montrose kept a stranglehold on the game although the lively Scott Agnew and Jonny Court looked capable if they had better service.
Just before half time Paddy Cregg was booked for something which happened during a defensive set to.
For the second half East Fife made two changes with Scott Linton and Anton Dowds coming on and Craig Watson and Liam Watt to add more height up front. It was East Fife who set the early pace in the second half but again without any serious danger as Sean Dillon marshalled his back line in military style. They all did a job but young Ryan Harrington has most certainly matured into this Montrose team. He’s a completely different player to his predecessor Cammy Ballantyne but right now Harrington plays a key role in this Montrose team.
Having soaked up early pressure Montrose took control again and forced three successive corners midway through the half. Each was well defended but from one Paul Watson unleased a powerful shot which McDowall did well to push out for another corner.
As East Fife became more anxious, they became more ragged as well with both Scott Agnew and Chris Kane both seeing yellow cards. The second foul by Kane resulted in a penalty to Montrose as Henderson was sent sprawling on his way through. A clear penalty which was well taken and scored by MARTIN RENNIE again, his second within a few days. 2-0 to the Mo after 69 minutes. Shortly afterward Ross Campbell came on for Rennie to cause more chaos in the Fifers defence then referee Roncone decided to show a yellow card to Masson for one of Terry’s less hard tackles.
Two more substitutions slowed the game down with Kevin Smith replacing Jonny Court and Graham Webster coming on for Paul Watson after 76 minutes. With 15 minutes to go we expected a charge from East Fife as a goal then would have made it a nervy end but that goal never came and in all honesty didn’t look like coming either as Montrose held firm. A final substitution with Fotheringham on for Henderson in the 86th minute slowed things down again until Mike Roncone blew for full time after three minutes of stoppage time. 2-0 to the Mo final score.
A well deserved 3 points for Montrose who were well worthy of them. Stand out in defence was again Sean Dillon whilst in midfield Paul Watson shaded it from Paddy Cregg. Up front the accolade goes to Euan Henderson who had by far his best game so far in a Montrose shirt. If he sticks to that sort of display and attitude he will do well.
Finally a MOTM award to the Montrose fans. They turned up in numbers again and that makes such a difference.
Steve Doyle (Sassmo)
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 1st December 2018
|3||Mark Docherty (c)
|6||Craig Watson (s45)
|9||Jonny Court (s76)
|14||Liam Watt (s45)
||9||Martin Rennie (s71)
||23||Euan Henderson (s86)|
|1||Brett Long (GK)
||21||Jordan Millar (GK)|
||10||Ross Campbell (s71)|
|10||Kevin Smith (s76)
||6||Martyn Fotheringham (s86)
|15||Anton Dowds (s45)
|18||Scott Linton (s45)
||7||Graham Webster (s76)|
|20||Kyle Bell||19||Liam Callaghan|
Ralph Gordon, Steven Wilson
Montrose - Euan Henderson (2), Martin Rennie (69pen)
East Fife - Scott Agnew (67), Chris Kane (69)
Montrose - Patrick Cregg (37), Terry Masson (74)