- Published: Saturday, 26 December 2015 16:18
Elgin City 2 Montrose 0
There was no Boxing Day cheer for Montrose at Borough Briggs as their recent unbeaten run was ended by two second half goals from Elgin City.
Manager Paul Hegarty stuck with a 3-5-2 formation that saw Terry Masson return from injury into a central midfield role and Ross Campbell replace the unavailable Adam Hardwood in a back three.
The visitors were first to threaten in second minute when a neat one, two on the edge of the box between Mallagaray and Fraser almost came off but the ball ran harmlessly through to the keeper.
Elgin City then had two free kicks in quick succession, both from around 25 yards out. Pascazio cleared the first and was on hand again to clear after Miller parried the second with a good save low down to his right hand side.
Millar almost created the first opening for Montrose when his goal kick was headed on by Webster into the path of Gary Fraser but the ball ran away to safety aided by a strong wind that both teams would struggle to cope with.
Elgin City threatened again just before the quarter hour mark when a long free kick from Moore was met at the back post but the shot was deflected behind for a corner.
After some neat inter passing in the middle of the park Johnston looped a through ball over the home defence and Mallagaray was only half a yard shot of beating the out rushing keeper to the ball.
Gunn was next to hit the target for Elgin when he found space in the box to meet a cross from the left but his header was comfortably saved by Millar
The home side continued to look the more likely to open the scoring and another Moore free kick led to a scramble in the box before Nicolson shot wide.
Masson and Fraser combined well to create room on the left hand side but Fraser's cross was easy pickings for the keeper.
As the half reached the midway point, Gunn was firing again for the home side when he cut in from the left and let fly from 20 yards but his shot went narrowly wide.
The next chance, and the best to that point, fell to Montrose when a ball into the opposing box caused confusion and a sliced defensive clearance fell to Fraser on the penalty spot but he was unable to react quickly enough and miss hit his left foot effort.
Minutes later Montrose’s Gary Fraser's frustration got the better of him when, feeling aggrieved at not being given a free kick he immediately committed a clumsy foul and was booked for his troubles.
As the half hour approached Easton tried his luck from the edge of the Montrose box but his shot was high and wide.
Montrose had a better spell of play as Webster started to have an influence on proceedings. First, he created space on the right wing and delivered a dangerous cross that was cleared to Malin whose shot was blocked. Minutes later, following some good work on the left wing Webster received the ball 30 yards from goal. Faking his first shot he created a better angle for himself but his second effort was straight at the keeper.
The last action of the first half saw two more names enter the referees notebook. Dylan Easton was booked for Elgin for a double tackle on Allan and Graham Webster had his name taken for the visitors for a foul on McLaren.
The second half started with Montrose not only playing against the strong wind, but also having to contend with the arrival of the forecasted rain.
Straight from kick off Mallagaray won a free kick 30 yards from goal but Gavin Malin could only put his effort high over the bar.
Both wide men for Elgin were causing problems for the visiting rear guard and they linked up well soon after when a Moore cross was met at the back post by McLaren, whose header went just wide, but the assistants flag would have disallowed it in any case.
Ten minutes into the half Fraser was fouled 30 yards from goal and Mailn's free kick, held up by the wind, arrived behind Webster who could only flick his foot at it and his improvised effort went over the bar.
The deadlock was finally broken just before the hour mark. Easton twisted and turned in the box to create space for a shot but it was solidly defended and blocked away for a corner by Pascazio. Unfortunately the corner was not so well defended with first an unchallenged header 10 yards out falling to CRAIG GUNN on a crowded goal line and the striker managed to forced the ball into the net.
The home side's tails were up and they nearly doubled there lead minutes later when Easton took aim from just inside the box but a great last ditch challenge from Masson was enough to put the striker off and his effort went wide.
In the 65th minute Montrose’s Scott Johnston's name made its way into the book for a late tackle.
Montrose road the storm and edged their way back into the game with Webster again having more of an impact and forcing a corner on the right hand side.
Webster rose to meet Malin's corner but his header rebounded off the back of the defenders head and landed kindly for the home side who immediately broke down the right touch line where Johnston was beaten for pace. The ball was played perfectly into the middle for Reilly who had sprinted from his own box and despite the gallant efforts of Comrie and Mallagaray, THOMAS REILLY kept his composure and slotted the ball passed Millar to double Elgin City’s lead on 75mins.
With quarter of an hour remaining Ryan Ferguson replaced Mallagaray for the visitors and minutes later McKenzie replaced McLaren for the home side.
Terry Masson was last to join the list of bookings for a foul on goal scorer Reilly with 10 minutes remaining.
McLeod replaced Gunn and Bruce replaced Easton for Elgin as the game reached its conclusion but not before Montrose had too late corners, the first seeing Malin's shot blocked and the second being headed just over the bar by Webster.
The better team won the day with Montrose defending poorly for both goals and not creating enough to trouble Hurst in the Elgin goal.
Worst news was to follow for Montrose following the final whistle as a surprise late win for Berwick Rangers at Queens Park meant the Gable Endies would end 2015 second bottom of League Two, only four points from safety.
Manager Hegarty will be hoping 2016 will bring a change in fortune for his side and the year kicks off with a vital home fixture against neighbours Arbroath on January 2nd.