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24/03/24

STIRLING ALBION 1-0 MONTROSE

Montrose started the game with Quinn and Shrive in the starting eleven in place of Brown and the partially injured Watson. A good support from Montrose fans in a crowd of 803 with a big pitch in full sun with a strong cold wind saw referee Stewart Luke get the game underway and Stirling started off brightly.

An early corner was dealt with by the Mo and a long ball to Hester resulted in his cross being blocked.

An early yellow card to the Binos was issued to Leitch for a bad tackle on Graham and the first Montrose attack of merit saw Quinn hitting it to Lyons but his shot went over the top. That was on 9 minutes and little did we know but that was just about the only shot Montrose had in the first half. 

Mo did have three corners in quick succession but all were dealt with comfortably by Stirling. The next break downfield saw a Binos shot from 25 yards whistle past the post and the next goal bound effort was saved by Mo keeper Gill. 

Twenty minutes gone and another Binos shot was inches wide from 25 yards and it was Stirling who looked a lot sharper going forward. Webster tried his luck down the right but his cross found no takers and was hit too long wind assisted. More long-range shots by Stirling came to nothing, Webby chased a through ball but keeper Currie gathered it.

Coming up to half-time and Stirling had two more 25-yard shots which went wide. So, no score at the interval.

Second half started with no changes to either side and Stirling wasted a corner from which Montrose got the ball downfield and won a free kick which Stirling cleared easily. The second yellow card came in the 54th minute when McGeachie fouled Hester. Gardyne took a free kick but the Binos defence dealt with it easily. Then a yellow card for Hester in what was a 50/50 challenge but Hester was blamed for his attempt to win the ball back.

Up to the hour mark and Montrose made a double change with Machado and Hester being replaced by Craig and Brown in an attempt to spark more life into the midfield and front areas. Stirling should have taken the lead on 62 minutes from a left wing cross but it was hoofed over the bar from around 6 yards out, quite a let of for the Mo.

Young Harry Craig was fitting in well in midfield then on 64 minutes Montrose made another change with Williamson on in place of Quinn as Dillon moved into the centre of the back line. Stirling were still looking stronger going forward and another shot whistled past the post then a 35 yarder was dealt with by Gill.

Montrose barely had a purple patch in the game but had a good opportunity with a free kick 30 yards out on the left. Gardyne pushed it to Webster but the shot cannoned off a nearby defender and went for a throw in.

Then the first changes by Stirling saw Spence replacing Hilson and Offord replacing Carrick on 78 minutes. That was followed by Montrose with Bachelor replacing Lyons and Hermiston replacing Shrive. Then Stirling replaced Leitch with Milne with 7 minutes of normal time remaining.

Stirling had a succession of set pieces and should have scored with at least two headers one of which was hooked off the line and another went over the top. 

Batchelor went close on 83 minutes and brought the best out of keeper Currie at the expense of a corner but the big defenders dealt with it easily. Two more Stirling shots came to nothing and another was offside.  

Going into stoppage time and a goal-less draw looked the best Montrose could hope for but on 92 minutes it all fell apart. A long ball was missed by the Mo defence and it left Spence clear approaching the 18-yard box and he squared it to Kieran Offord who easily shot into the empty net with the Mo defence missing.

Only time for another Stirling change before the final whistle.

Not a good performance by Montrose on the day with no sustained period of pressure going forward and Stirling just about deserved the win having created more chances in the previous 91 minutes.

Report by Steve Doyle

Pic by Johnathondunmedia

Post match reaction https://youtu.be/A3zLDqVuPl8?si=epreo5Eyhrht-h8K