Tuesday July 8 2008
Montrose 0-3 Dundee
MONTROSE’S season started with a home friendly against SFL Division One side Dundee on July 8, the full-time team’s winning margin failing to do justice to a battling performance from the home side.
Though the demise of Gretna and the subsequent arrival of Annan Athletic in the Scottish league will add an unknown force to Division Three next season, The Gable Endies will be looking to build on last season’s performance, which saw them reach the play-offs.
With pre-season preparations well underway, Montrose took the opportunity to give new signing David Worrell his debut in defence, whilst trialists Bobby Barr and Brian Clark started on the right wing and as a substitute respectively. Dundee meanwhile fielded former Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas in their starting eleven, the ex-Celtic man having rejoined the club where he made his name in the late 1990s.
It was Dundee who opened the match in the more lively fashion, David O’Brien weaving his way through the middle of the park, but Steven Thomson did well to stop O’Brien with a tackle on the edge of the box.
Montrose defender Stuart Cumming put goalkeeper Mark Peat under unnecessary pressure in the eighth minute, a short passback forcing Peat to scramble the ball to safety under pressure from Mikael Antoine-Courier.
Dundee’s pressure on the home defence finally paid off in the 18th minute when Brian Deasley took down a high ball played into the middle before placing his finish coolly in the corner of the net.
Montrose immediately sparked into life, and John Baird was unlucky to see an effort hit the post just seconds after the home side had restarted the match.
Although Montrose were beginning to find an attacking foothold in the match, their more attack-minded play left more space at the back for Dundee to attack, and the Dens Park side looked fluid when moving forwards. Nonetheless, Jay Stein did well in the 32nd minute to turn his marker, but could only shoot straight at Douglas.
Almost on the stroke of half time, Craig Forsyth, who spent the latter part of last season on loan at Links Park, twisted and turned his way down Montrose’s right-hand side, before crossing directly into Peat’s hands.
Having introduced Jim Butter, Keith Gibson and Jamie Buchan to the action at half-time, Montrose restarted the match in an attacking frame of mind. Buchan was the first to test Douglas, sending a low drive towards goal after Gibson had done well to win the ball in the box.
A curling shot from Deasley that flew wide in the 59th minute served as an indication of Dundee’s intent, and a second goal followed shortly afterwards. A piece of nimble footwork from Freddie Daquin took him clear of the Montrose defence on the right wing, and his cross caused confusion in the box. Though Montrose managed to scramble the ball clear of the goalmouth, it fell to Paul McHale 25 yards from goal. His strike was perfect, leaving Butter with no chance as it flew into the net.
The second goal seemed to take the wind out of Montrose’s sails, and the remainder of the match saw Dundee looking to add to their tally. Forsyth came close with a half volley from a tight angle in the 70th minute, the ball narrowly clearing the bar.
Two minutes later, Dundee completed the scoring. Antoine-Courier held the ball up well on the edge of the box before curling an inch-perfect finish inside the Butter’s far post.
With five minutes remaining, Graham Collins was unlucky to see a magnificent run end only in his shot flying over the crossbar.
Montrose substitute Josh Winton shot wide from the edge of the box two minutes later, while Antoine-Courier should have done better with his finish after taking the ball beyond the falling Butter in the dying seconds.
Match Report by Mark Rae