Montrose 0 St Johnstone 1
Montrose Football Club retained top spot in Group B of the Betfred Cup despite going down to Premiership St Johnstone at Links Park on Saturday.
It was the Perth’s side first visit to Montrose since 23rd February 1988 when the Saints with Montrose goalkeeping coach Jim Butter in goal won 1 – 0 thanks to a header from Michael Smith.
In the end it was a goal from new signing Tony Watt that gave the visitors all three points in what was at times a feisty encounter.
Montrose had chances late on through Allan and Fotheringham but just couldn’t find a way past the stubborn visiting defence.
Montrose made five changes from the side that defeated with Matty Allan, Paul Watson, Martin Rennie, Craig Johnston and Patrick Cregg, making his debut after suspension replacing Ferguson, Masson, Skelly, Cavanagh and Ross Campbell.
There was an excellent crowd of 1160 inside Links Park for kick off.
Saints new signing Tony Watt had the first chance of the match in the 8th minute but he could only shoot high and wide.
Eight minutes later Patrick Cregg on his Montrose debut picked up a booking against his former club for a foul on Drey Wright.
In the 18th minute Michael Bolochoweckyj picked up a booking for an off the ball foul on Liam Craig. The Saints midfielder didn’t like it and there tussles became a feature of the first period.
Play was held up after a clash of heads between Rennie and the visitors Richard Foster.
With 32 minutes gone a cross from Fotheringham found Martin Rennie inside the area but he could only head straight at Zander Clark.
Three minutes later the Premiership side took the lead when Scott Tanser crossed from the right and ex Celtic striker Tony Watt rose above the home defence to send a bullet of a header into the bottom corner.
With three minutes of the first half remaining Montrose won a free kick in a dangerous position when Rennie was fouled just outside the box. Iain Campbell whipped in the free kick the ball found its way to Paul Watson but his effort was blocked for a corner kick.
From this Montrose won a further two corner kicks and from the third taken by Campbell, Bolochoweckyj sent a bullet of a header past the near post.
Montrose restarted the second half with Ryan Ferguson on in place of Bolochoweckyj.
In the 48th minute Craig Johnston fed the ball off to his strike partner Rennie but he just couldn’t find the space to get in his shot.
Captain Paul Watson became the third Montrose player to be booked when he jumped with Murray Davidson and was adjudged to have raised his arm.
In the next minute St Johnstone’s Blair Alston shot wide from a good position.
With 53 minutes gone Paul Watson was replaced by Danny Cavanagh.
Wright went on a good run for the visitors but he could only shoot into the side netting.
Saints captain Liam Craig then lined up a great strike but Millar was equal to the task and he pushed the ball wide.
On the hour mark St Johnstone won a free kick on the edge of the box after Iain Campbell fouled Alston. The free kick was taken by Tanser who curled his effort over.
In the 63rd minute St Johnstone made their first switch with goalscorer Tony Watt being replaced by Stefan Scougall.
With 17 minutes remaining Jordan Millar kept Montrose in the match with a tremendous point blank range save from David McMillan as he looked set to sweep the ball home from inside the six yard box.
Two minutes later both sides made a switch Montrose bringing on assistant boss Ross Campbell for Patrick Cregg. While the visitors brought on Callum Hendry for McMillan.
Things continued to hot up as Saints went for the killer goal with a fantastic cross from Foster finding the head of the substitute Hendry but again Millar in the home goal was equal to the task and kept the ball out.
Montrose weren’t out of things and Craig Johnston got on the end of a Steeves long throw and turned and shot wide of Clark’s goal.
In the 82nd minute Montrose came so close to an equaliser. Ross Campbell won a corner kick which his brother Iain took. The ball found its way back to Ross who hooked the ball across for Matty Allan who could only head onto and over the crossbar from close range.
With one minute of the match remaining the Gable Endies came even closer. This time after some great passing the ball found its way to Martyn Fotheringham some 30 yards out. The midfielder could not have hit the ball any sweeter; it beat Clark all ends up only to smack off the crossbar before being cleared.
Any with that went the home side’s chance of gaining something from a match they had put a lot into.
They remain top of the table with their final match to come at Station Park on Wednesday night with an Angus derby against Forfar Athletic.
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 21stJuly 2018
|3||Andrew Steeves||4||Blair Alston
|14||Seán Dillon||8||Murray Davidson
|5||Michael Bolochoweckj (s45)
||16||David McMillan (s77)
|8||Paul Watson (s55)
|22||Patrick Cregg (s76)
||32||Anthony Watt (s67)
|10||Ross Campbell (s76)
|15||Danny Cavanagh (s55)
|11||Ryan Ferguson (s45)
||21||Stefan Scougall (s67)
|7||Graham Webster||22||Calum Hendry (s77)|
|1||Allan Fleming||30||Mark Hurst|
Michael Banks, Chris Phillips
St Johnstone - Anthony Watt (34)
Montrose - Patrick Cregg (16), Michael Bolochoweckyj (19), Paul Watson (50)