Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 1 Montrose 1
Montrose Football Club remain in the William Hill Scottish Cup – but only just after being taken all the way by East of Scotland Champions Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale on Saturday in the second round tie in Edinburgh.
Paul Hegarty’s side will be looking to finish the tie off in the replay when the sides meet at Links Park on Tuesday 3rd November, but it won’t be easy if the Gable Endies turn in a performance similar to this in the replay.
The Gable Endies stated off brightly, scoring through Ross Campbell before falling out of the match completely and allowing the home side to equalise. There was little to choose between the sides in the second half although Montrose had the better chances without troubling home keeper Kevin Swain.
It was a poor performance from Montrose considering the standards they have set this season; they surely can’t play as badly again?
After the derby defeat by Arbroath manager Hegarty made two changes welcoming back Greg Pascazio after suspension to replace the ill Ryan Kenneth with Gavin Malin replacing Mallagaray in midfield.
Montrose lined up with Jordan Millar in goal after he extended his loan from St Johnstone until the end of the season, Reoch moved to right back with Ferguson in an unfamiliar left back role. Steeves teamed up in central defence with Pascazio. Johnston and Webster took up the wide roles in midfield with Masson and Malin in central midfield. Fraser and Campbell were in attack.
On the bench for Montrose was McCord, Mallagaray, Adam Harwood who rejoined the club during the week, Reid, McLeod, Milne and goalkeeper Ross Salmon.
There was a very healthy band of Gable Endies supporters inside the ground at kick off time.
Montrose got the first meeting between the sides underway at Saughton Enclosure underway on a heavy pitch and won an early corner through Ferguson.
Malin took the kick but Lothian Thistle cleared the ball up field in a quick breakaway. John Kerr raced into the Montrose box before promptly falling over referee Graham Beaton quiet rightly waved play on.
In the third minute Webster got clear of his marker and sent over a cross which Johnston chipped back across goal only for Campbell to just miss the ball inside the six yard area.
Five minutes later Dean Cummings sent a long range effort over the Montrose crossbar.
Montrose had a chance seconds later when Gavin Malin played a great pass over the top to Gary Fraser who raced into the box only to shoot straight at keeper Swain.
The visitors were now on top and a great passing move between Ferguson, Fraser and Campbell saw the latter get in a cross which found Webster but his shot was blocked for a Montrose corner.
In the 12th minute Montrose opened the scoring Jordan Reoch sent over a cross from the right and Johnston hooked the ball back across goal for ROSS CAMPBELL to get in between his marker to head home from close range.
Lothian Thistle then won a free kick in a dangerous position but Grant Munro shot straight at Jordan Millar.
A Webster cross from the right then saw Fraser lay the ball off into the path of Scott Johnston who could only shoot straight at keeper Swain.
Lothian Thistle then started to put the Montrose defence under pressure and after the ball bobbled around inside the box Dean Cummings hooked the ball over the Montrose crossbar.
Seconds later Malin fouled Cummings outside the area giving the home side a free kick in a dangerous position thankfully for Montrose left back MacKenzie drilled his effort from 30 yards out just wide of the far post.
In the 31st minute Terry Masson gave away another free kick when he fouled Crawford. Thankfully for Montrose Jordan Millar was lively and he tipped MacKenzie’s effort over the crossbar.
Richie Wilkie’s then became the first booking of the match for a midfield challenge on Gary Fraser.
Disaster struck Montrose when Lothian Thistle equalised in the 34th minute. Darren Smith whipped in a near post corner kick and RICHIE WILKES was unmarked to head home at close range.
The home side had a great chance to take the lead in first half stoppage time. Gavin Malin was booked for a foul on Smith on the edge of the box. Darren Smith took the kick himself only for Millar to pull off a wonderful stop to tip the ball around the post.
Montrose had the first opening of the second half Graham Webster connected with a Ferguson cross but he could only volley the ball over the crossbar.
The Gable Endies then forced three corners in quick succession but couldn’t make any of them count.
Ten minutes later Gary Fraser became the second Montrose player to be booked this time for dissent.
A run up the right flank from Jordan Reoch saw him cross for Masson who in turn set up Fraser but he could only fire the ball straight into the arms of keeper Swain.
Montrose made the first chance of the afternoon in the 68th minute when Adrian Mallagaray replaced Ross Campbell in attack.
Two minutes later the home side brought on Willis Hare for Scott Gormley.
Hare was booked within sixty seconds of coming on for a crunching late tackle on Jordan Reoch.
With 15 minutes remaining Ross McCord came onto replace Gavin Malin in Montrose’s second switch.
Reoch then found Johnston inside the box and his low cross found Gary Fraser and his shot was deflected behind for a Montrose corner kick. McCord fired over the corner kick only for keeper Swain to hold onto the ball comfortably.
With eleven minutes remaining the home side made a second change when Liam O’Donnell came on to replace John Kerr.
Two minutes later Montrose made a final change when Adam Harwood signed on Thursday night came on for his second debut in place of Jordan Reoch at right back.
It was almost a dream return for the Irishman Harwood when he got on the end of a corner from McCord at the far post but he could only head wide.
Montrose kept up the late pressure and Mallagaray headed down a long through from Harwood to Fraser but he could only hook the ball into the arms of Swain.
Play was held up on full time when Grant Munro was injured in a 50/50 challenge with Johnston. He was helped from the pitch and replaced by Matthew Joint.
Graham Webster tried to win the match for Montrose with a late long range effort but the ball was held by Swain.
Dean Cummings of Lothian Thistle became the final booking of the match when he went in late on Ross McCord.
There was a late scare for the Gable Endies when Lothian Thistle at the ball in the net with virtually the last kick of the ball but the flag was already up for offside.