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07/01/24

ANNAN ATHLETIC 2-2 MONTROSE

Montrose lined up in 4-4-2 formation with the two-up top as Hester and Lyons both up against big Annan defenders. In midfield were Webster, Shrive, Brown and Gardyne and the back four were Williamson, Quinn, Graham and Steeves with Gill in goal. Several were missing because of injury or illness and Miller Thomson was back at his parent club. 

Referee was Alastair Grieve who got the game underway on what was to become quite a foggy day by the interval. Annan started brightly by controlling midfield but it was Montrose who threatened first when Webster went down the right then to Hester whose shot was cut out. A corner for Montrose was cleared easily and at the other end Gardyne cleared a corner from Annan. Montrose were finding it hard to get a grip on midfield or support the two smaller players up top. Annan got another corner and took the lead on 22 minutes as it was hit long and Tommy Muir easily got to it first from a couple of yards out to make it 1-0.

Montrose had to come into the game a bit more and they did just that and levelled at 1-1 on 25 minutes as Lyons appeared to be felled but that was followed by a foul on Webster and it was Graham Webster who scored from the penalty kick. The game became very much 50/50 then. A Brown shot from 20 yards was blocked and the resultant corner was wasted. Luke Graham was yellow carded for a pull back and the free kick from 25 yards whistled just past the post. Before half-time Webster cut inside and his shot was saved at full stretch by Fleming.

Into the second half with Waddell on for Luke Graham and the first action saw Smith send in a stinging shot which was blocked. On 50 minutes Hunter was yellow carded for a foul on Lyons as the game became a bit heated. In fact it was Montrose who came off worst. Hester was straight red carded on 55 minutes for violet conduct after Gardyne was cut down and during the melee which followed out came the red card for Hester who appeared to be man-handled himself. No cards were shown to Annan players but the free kick was to Montrose at the expense of a yellow card and a red card to them all for the same offence because Gardyne himself was also yellow carded. All in the fog at the other side of the pitch. Then came the first change for Annan who replaced Hunter with Docherty on 58 minutes with Montrose now down to 10 men.

On 60 minutes Annan scored again as Kai Nugent got on the end of a cross from the right and shot low across Gill into the far corner to make it 2-1. All to do for Montrose now a goal down and down to 10 men. Annan went close again with Gill holding a shot at his near post. Gardyne shot cleared the bar at the other end. Despite being a man down Montrose were now playing better, Batchelor replaced Shrive on 64 minutes.

Annan were lucky to survive a red card themselves as Waddell moved forward at pace through the middle but was crudely fouled in full flight and had to receive lengthy treatment. Despite that referee Grieve deemed to be only a yellow card offence for Douglas. Onto the 70-minute mark and another Webster shot was just too high then Annan made a double change with Swinglehurst and Nugent replaced by Maxwell and Watson on 75 minutes.

Montrose won a corner on 76 minutes and both big players Quinn and Waddell were in the mix. The ball came over was half cleared and Kerr Waddell hit it home to make it 2-2 although it also appeared to hit Quinn along the way. All level now but Annan were still a man to the good and had two corners both cleared easily. Paul Watson, Sean Dillon and Harry Craig came on in the 82nd minute to replace Brown, Lyons and Williamson. For Annan Graham replaced Luissant.

Gill saved from a corner as the game edged into stoppage time and Batchelor was caught offside as he homed in on goal. Paul Watson was yellow carded for a pull-back then worse was to happen for Montrose as Gardyne was given a second yellow card for an off the ball incident and that was his second so off he went with a red card as well on 93 minutes. The final bit of action was to see Paul Watson see a header held by keeper Fleming but neither the referee of far side linesman saw the push on Watson as he tried his header and the game ended as a 2-2 draw.

Not the best of games for the Mo who came out of it two men down despite committing fewer fouls, having greater possession in the second half and having more shots on target. That said, on the day a draw looked to be a fair result on a cold very foggy day with a depleted side.

Report by Steve Doyle

Pic by Phoenix Photography