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Montrose started with Ross Matthews in goal with Cammy Gill resting an injury and Aidan Quinn was also resting an injury, so it was a back four with Hester and Lyons up front and Webster, Gardyne and Brown alongside fit again Callaghan in support. 

Referee was Stewart Luke who got this key game off on a sunny but cool day. Kelty had to win the game to stay in with a chance in the play-offs but it was Montrose who looked more comfortable in the early stages as they soaked up Kelty attacks and countered more convincingly. A long ball from Steeves sent Lyons away down the left but was cleared and that sent Craig Johnston away at the other end but that was halted by an offside flag. Moore of Kelty was next to have a go but keeper Matthews dealt with it well and end to end it went again with Montrose winning a free kick on the halfway line. That almost led to the first goal as Lyons reacted first but his effort was blocked then a Hester header appeared to be well over the line before being hooked clear though the linesman did not give it as a goal with Webster appealing loudly.

Anyway, Montrose did score a minute later when Blair Lyons came in from the right and shot past keeper Gourlay from 15 yards into the far corner to make it 1-0 after 16 minutes. Hester was looking sharp up top and created another chance but gave away a free kick along the way. Kelty had a bit more possession but no end product, several corners came and went to each side leading up to half time and the first yellow card was issued to Tidster for a foul on Graham.

Into the second half and Cunningham replaced Tidster for Kelty. Play continued in similar fashion, corners to each side which came to nothing then Webster turned and his shot went over the top. Then the second goal came on 55 minutes again from the lively Blair Lyons who drifted past his marker with ease from the left and hit his 15 yarder past keeper Gourlay to make it 2-0 to the Mo to the glee of Hamish who was nearby. Kelty had to make changes and Bavidge made Matthews work hard to keep a clean sheet which he did at the expense of a corner which was wasted with a shot high and wide. On 63 minutes the Mo made changes with Shrive and Machado replacing Callaghan and Brown. Kelty tried again from long range as Matthews watched it fly high and wide. Then another change for Montrose as Batchelor replaced Hester and for Kelty McAllister replaced Bavidge on 70 minutes.

Into the final third of the game with Montrose still in control with Dillon and his defence coping well and getting the ball away downfield as quickly as possible. From a free kick Graham had a header which looked a goal all the way but keeper Gourlay thought otherwise. Owen replaced McKay for Kelty on 74 minutes as Kelty had a couple more half chances which were hacked away by the solid Mo back line. Five minutes remaining and Craig replaced Williamson and Hermiston replaced Lyons as Kelty tried two more long range efforts neither of which endangered the Matthews clean sheet. The final bit of action was an unfortunate yellow card for Machado on 91 minutes as he attempted a clearance in midfield, but the free kick was wasted and referee Luke blew for full time.

A 2-0 win for Montrose saw them into the play-offs with a game to spare but as it stands, they are yet to know the opposition as it will be either Queens Park or Inverness Caley Thistle who each play their final regular season game next week. In the meantime, the Mo will enjoy yet another play-off opportunity in this remarkable period of their history.

Report by Steve Doyle

Pic by Pheonix Photography

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