Stenhousemuir 0 Montrose 2
The team bus wasn’t the only one from Montrose to arrive at Ochilview as several other buses full of Mo fans also converged there in the hope of seeing their favourite team crowned champions of League 2.
That massive Mo following swelled the Stenny crowd to almost 1000 which for them is far higher than normal. They were happy to see their team come away with all three points but news of a late Peterhead winner put paid to any celebrations on the day and it’s all to do next Saturday at Links Park against Elgin City who themselves can no longer get into the play-offs.
Montrose made one change to the starting line up with Liam Callaghan replacing Martin Rennie to bolster midfield whilst Lewis Milne pushed further up to play off otherwise lone striker Chris Templeman. As usual midfielders Masson and Redman gave support up front as well as wing backs Steeves and Ballantyne with Callaghan also in support although his main role appeared to be to keep the lively Stenny midfielder Harry Paton quiet. Fleming was in goal as usual with Allan, Dillon and Bolochoweckyj in the back line and Ballantyne plus Steeves in the wing back positions. Midfield consisted of Masson, Callaghan and Redman with Templeman up top and Milne in the holes alongside him. On the bench were Millar, Fotheringham, Watson, Rennie, Fraser, Johnston and Ross Campbell. Referee was the experienced John McKendrick.
The game kicked off in warm sunshine initially at a gentle pace but burst into life after just two minutes when Chris Templeman collected a left wing cross swivelled and hooked a delicate lob over keeper Chris Smith and into the top left hand corner to make it 1-0 to the Mo. Just the sort of start the Mo needed. Stenny wasted a free kick from a good position soon after but then Montrose scored again with their second attack of the game. Lewis Milne reacted quickly when he latched on to a weak back pass, rounded the keeper then kept his nerve as he turned back from a tight angle to hit a thumper of a shot into the net from wider out to make 2-0 to the Mo after just eight minutes.
There was still a long way to go in this game so simply hanging on to an early lead was not a good strategy. Possession was 50/50 for the rest of the half with the strong Montrose defence keeping Stenhousemuir at arm’s length. Both sides had corners and free kicks but in truth neither looked likely to add to the scoreline. Cammy Ballantyne saw yellow for a scything tackle on the lively Paton however so had to be careful for the rest of the game. Stenny wasted the free kick however by being caught offside. Alan Cook was the first and only Stenny player to see yellow after a bad tackle on Bolochoweckyj just before half time and Montrose breathed a sigh of relief on the stroke of the interval when Stenny wasted a free kick centrally on the edge of the penalty area. 2-0 to the Mo at half time.
Neither Manager made changes for the second half but Montrose almost increased their lead when Redman got on the end of a left wing corner and sent a thumping header low down in the centre of the goals but somehow the ball was scrambled off the line and away. Stenny swept away to the other end with the influential Paton usually at the heart of their play though he had dropped deeper to try to avoid tight marking. It was he who slid a pass through the Mo defence but a foul on Dillon brought it to an abrupt end and Montrose themselves raided down the left for a corner at the other end which, after a scramble was just poked wide.
Approaching the hour mark the substitution ‘season’ started with Stenny going first by bringing Martin Scott on for full back Ross Meechan. They had another corner but amazingly yet again the cross was far too hard and flew over everyone to safety. Then Stewart Petrie decided to make a change with Templeman coming off after 58 minutes and Martin Rennie came on to use his similar height and presence up front. Stenny had to try to wrestle control of the game and certainly had lots of possession but Allan Fleming only had the odd anxious moment as a shot whistled past his left hand post and another hard hit effort was charged down by Callaghan when danger threatened. After 75 minutes Fotheringham came on for Callaghan and Stenhousenmuir responded with Dallas being replaced by Jamie Longworth who Mo know only too well from past encounters.
Another couple of long range efforts saw Fleming watch closely as both flew wide and Longworth should have done better but shot weakly. The final Stenny substitution saw Murray being replaced by Halleran with fifteen minutes to go. Still end to end stuff and good midfield play by both sides as each spread it around the pitch. Equally however promising moves were wasted by firstly Rennie and then by McMenamin. Manager Petrie broke play up in the 84th minute by making his final change with Paul Watson replacing Lewis Milne. By now Montrose were winding down the clock and simply clearing their lines yet long balls often found the eager Rennie who won a corner which enabled the Mo to keep the ball there for a while in front of the massed Mo fans at that end. The last piece of action saw a long range Stenny effort deflected for a corner which was comfortably collected by Fleming who convinced referee McKendrick to call it a day. Final score 2-0 to the Mo who in winning created a new club record of 12 away wins in a single league season. The previous best was 11 in both 1994/5 and 1984/5 both of which were promotion seasons.
Hard to single out a MOTM in an all round excellent team performance. Fleming was in ‘they shall not pass’ mode as was Dillon, Allan and Bolo in front of him. Midfield was solid as were the lively wing backs with Milne up front a constant threat but overall Chris Templeman led the line well and brought others into the game by doing what he does best – and his crucial goal after two minutes set it up nicely so he gets the vote.
We now know what we have to do next week – lets hope our season ends at the final whistle!
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 21st April 2018
|2||Ross Meechan (s59)
|3||Michael Dunlop (c)
|7||Innes Murray (s80)
||24||Lewis Milne (s85)|
||11||Liam Callaghan (s76)
|10||Andrew Dallas (s76)
||10||Chris Templeman (s66)
||17||Jamie Redman (c)
||6||Martyn Fotheringham (s76)
|14||Martin Scott (s59)
||3||Paul Watson (s85)
||23||Martin Rennie (s66)
|16||Eddie Ferns (s80)
|18||Jamie Longworth (s76)
|17||Lewis McMinn (GK)
|1||Jordan Millar (GK)
John McCrossan, Andy Taylor
Montrose - Chris Templeman (2), Lewis Milne (8)
Stenhousemuir - Alan Cook (35)
Montrose - Cammy Ballantyne (30)