Queen of the South 5 Montrose 0
It proved to be a step too far for gallant Montrose as Queen of the South quickly overturned a 1-2 deficit from the first leg of this Championship promotion play-off semi-final. Having said that, nothing should be taken away from the great season the Mo have had and following the League 2 title before that. Pity it had to end as it did but Stewart Petrie and his squad did exceptionally well to get as far as they did and that is what we should focus on rather than how it all ended in at Palmerston Park, Dumfries.
Montrose made three changes with Rennie, Watson and Redman back in the starting line up with Milne, Cregg and Henderson dropping to the bench. They started with three at the back, Dillon, Harrington and Iain Campbell then with overlapping back Webster on the right and Steeves on the left. Rennie and Ross Campbell were up front with Masson, Watson and Redman in midfield. Referee was Greg Aitken.
And so to the game itself. Queens showed they were a good passing side in the first leg at Links Park but they lacked a serious goal threat that night. In the second leg they were still a good passing side but that cutting edge was present in the form of their talisman, striker Stephen Dobbie. It was Dobbie who wiped out Montrose’s goal advantage after just 11 minutes when put through the middle and wrong footing Fleming to score with ease. That goal equalled Queens’s all time scoring record of 41 goals in a season previously held jointly by Nicky Clark and Jimmy Rutherford. Dobbie was to go on and break that record a few minutes later but not before the impressive Lyndon Dykes had punished Montrose to score the second following a disastrous defensive mix up which let him nip in to tuck it away.
At 2-0 after only 23 minutes Montrose no longer had anything to defend but they were under the cosh as Queens continued to ruthlessly dominate every part of the pitch. Early Montrose formation and tactics had been blown apart and Dobbie made it 3-0 after 28 minutes when amazingly he was allowed far too much space and tucked it away giving Fleming with no chance. Another defensive lapse cost Montrose a fourth goal in the 32nd minute when Doyle found himself given the ball in the box and smartly chipped the ball over the static defence and into the top corner. Queens were rampant and with the crowd behind them Dobbie scored his third goal and Queens fifth a few minutes before half time. It was another through the middle with Dobbie hammering it past Fleming.
Hard to recall Montrose having any attacking threat during that opening 45 minutes although Terry Masson was clean through but foiled by keeper Martin who intercepted the shot and scrambled it away. Ross Campbell saw yellow for a tussle with a defender who appeared throughout that half to be giving as much as he got from Campbell.
For the second half Ross Campbell was replaced by Russell McLean but by now it was damage limitation for Montrose who at least tried to change the pattern of play by going 4-4-2. Miracle man Dobbie left the field of play after 53 minutes, job done for him and Queens. He came off rightly to a standing ovation after notching his sixth hat-trick of the season. He’s on 43 goals with two more games to play.
From that point on the game became very flat as Queens lost their attacking threat and Montrose came more into the game. It was in fact much more evenly balanced then and Montrose did have chances – but so too did Queens. Rennie looked to be in but failed to control the ball then two free kicks by Campbell of the Yano variety were blocked or saved. Bolo came on for Rennie after 58 minutes to make his farewell appearance in a Mo shirt. In fact it was a rare moment shortly afterwards as Bolo was caught offside – something I can not recall ever having happened before! Callaghan the replaced Webster for the last half hour as Queens wound the clock down by completing their own substitutions.
The final 15 minutes were completely flat – job done by Queens and with Montrose having saved face somewhat in the second half. During the latter stages Ryan Harrington moved up to the left wing strangely as Callaghan dropped into the right back position. Stuart Petrie was right to let McLean have more pitch time and he certainly needs it to be ready for next season and to show Mo fans why he is a highly regarded striker.
At 5-0 it was a matter of being beaten by a better side – end of. Montrose made far too many errors in giving the ball away in crucial areas and were punished by a side better than most they had played in League 1.
Forget about that result Montrose, remember the previous 37 games and credit to all the squad for an otherwise excellent season. Moving forward Manager Petrie will be well aware of what needs to happen for Montrose to move to a higher level. Finally farewell to Michael Bolochoweckji, Bolo to you and me. He has been an inspiration at times, he’s been a villain at times but one thing is for sure, he will be missed and we wish him well in the future.
Team Lineups & Stats
Semi Final Second Leg
Saturday 11th May 2019
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