Montrose 2 Stirling Albion 1
A second half comeback from Montrose on Saturday saw them gather their first home win in four to remain in top spot in the league two table after defeating early pace setters Stirling Albion in a match of two halves.
Montrose were poor in the first period but showed their true spirit with a great second half display to move four points clear of Peterhead at the top of the table.
It will be all to play for when the sides met at Balmoor on Saturday with Montrose out to avenge their heavy defeat to Peterhead at the end of the year.
After the home defeat by Clyde, Montrose showed seven changes to their line up with Fleming, Masson, Bolochoweckyj, Webster, Watson, Templeman and Callaghan all returning.
After a quiet opening period it was Montrose who created the first chance of the match, Gary Fraser won the ball on the touchline, raced along the edge of the area only to shoot into the side netting with his team-mates screaming for the ball unmarked in the middle
It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the fifteenth minute with a candidate for goal of the season. DARREN SMITH received the ball inside his own half raced past the challenges from Steeves and Bolochoweckyj before blasting an unstoppable drive into the top corner with Fleming helpless.
Montrose had a chance to get back into the match in the 22nd minute when Fraser fed the ball to Templeman on the edge of the area and he turned only to curl an effort over the crossbar.
Stirling Albion thought they had doubled their lead in the 31st minute when a cross from Smith found MacDonald in the centre his shot was fumbled by Fleming but the keeper managed to grab the ball in time before it crossed the line, despite the protests from Stirling Albion players the match continued.
Stirling were having the better chances and with ten minutes of the half remaining a shot from Smith was blocked and MacDonald could only put the rebound over the bar.
Montrose’s best chance of a poor first half came a minute later when Masson’s cross from the left wing was met by the head of Andrew Steeves but he could only head wide of the goal.
The Gable Endies had the wind in their favour at the start of the second half and made two changes at the break with new signing Martin Rennie and Craig Johnston coming on in place of Fraser and Watson.
In the 52nd minute Andrew Black was booked for a tackle on Johnston.
Three minutes later Montrose forced a series of corners but the nearest they came to a goal was when Sean Dillon headed over an in swinger from Liam Callaghan.
Michael Bolochoweckyj picked up a booked for Montrose and gave away a free kick in a dangerous position. Captain Willie Robertson used the conditions in his favour and sent a screamer of a thirty five yard effort flying over the crossbar.
On the hour mark Kevin Moon was booked for a foul on Montrose’s Dillon. Callaghan swung over a free kick into the box and when the ball broke to Webster he cracked an effort wide.
Martin Rennie came close to a debut goal in the 62nd minute when his shot from inside the box looked bound for the net until Ewan McNeil cleared over the crossbar. Masson’s corner found the head of Templeman but his effort went over the bar as Montrose continued to press for an equaliser.
In the 70th minute Montrose made a final change with Martyn Fotheringham returning after injury in place of Bolochoweckyj.
Two minutes later there was a moment of controversy when Robertson when down in the area after a tackle from Dillon. As the Montrose fans held their breathe referee booked Robertson for diving and awarded a free kick to Montrose rather than award a penalty kick.
Montrose were now going for it and at times seemed to have four players in attack at any one time.
It paid off in the 75th minute when Links Park erupted as Montrose found an equaliser. Matty Allan swung over a cross which Templeman headed down to Masson his shot was blocked by keeper Binnie so was the follow up from Rennie but the ball fell at the feet of CRAIG JOHNSTON who smashed the ball home for his sixth goal of the season.
Johnston then played a great ball down the flank to Callaghan who raced inside the box the ball his cut back found Martin Rennie but his shot was blocked by a visiting defender.
Substitute Fotheringham then picked up a booked after a heated exchange with Stirling Albion players outside the box.
With nine minutes remaining Montrose took the lead. A Steeves shot was blocked for a corner kick which was curled in by Fotheringham and MATTY ALLAN ghosted in at the far post to head home his first goal for the club from close range.
With four minutes remaining Callaghan picked up the third Montrose booking of the afternoon for high feet.
Montrose almost scored again with three minutes left a Fotheringham pass find Rennie down the left and his cross was just missed by in the incoming Johnston.
Stirling Albion had a good chance to equalise with a minute left on the clock but Lee Hamilton headed wide from a Banner free kick.
The icing was nearly put on a great second half display when a Callaghan past was controlled by Templeman flicked over his head by his final shot went sailing over the crossbar.
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 27th January 2018
||5||Kyle Banner (s90+3)
|5||Michael Bolochoweckyj (s71)
||6||Andrew Black (s84)
||8||Kevin Moon (s67)
|8||Paul Watson (s45)
|9||Gary Fraser (s45)
||7||Neil McLaughlin (s84)
||12||George Stranger (s90+3)
|16||Craig Johnston (s45)
||15||Liam Caddis (s67)
|6||Martyn Fotheringham (s71)
|23||Martin Rennie (s45)
Joseph Lawson, Eddie Ferguson
Montrose - Craig Johnston (75), Matty Allan (81)
Stirling Albion - Darren Smith (14)
Montrose - Michael Bolochoweckyj, Martyn Fotheringham (80), Liam Callaghan (85)
Stirling Albion - Andrew Black (51), Kevin Moon (60), William Robertson (72),
Match & Ball Sponsor:
Montrose FC Supporters Club