Montrose 0 East Fife 3Montrose Football Club’s suffered their second heavy defeat in a row as East Fife overcame a poor opening 45 minutes to record a deserved 3 - 0 victory over George Shields side a Links Park on Saturday.
The result saw Montrose slump into second bottom spot only a point behind East Stirlingshire who defeated Elgin City at home, and who worryingly for Montrose have three matches in hand.
The Gables Endies must seriously now start to get points on the board as they look to get out of a mess that has seen only one win record this year and only twice since late September.
After the heavy defeat at Hampden Park three changes were made to the Montrose line up with Crawford returning from injury, Ross Campbell making his full debut and McCord returning to the line up. Out of the side went the injured Cameron, Harwood and O’Neil.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal and Crawford and Graham in full back positions. Moyes and Andrews were in central defence.
Banjo and McCord were in central midfield with Scott Johnston and the right and Allan on the left. Up front were Wood and ex East Fife player Campbell.
There was a full bench for Montrose with new signing Craig Johnston joined by O’Neil, Harkins, Harwood, Deasley, Watson and McCafferty.
East Fife’s on loan striker Ola Adeyemo had the first real opening of the match in the 4th minute when he latched onto a clearance only for Ewan Moyes to get back with a saving tackle inside the box.
Johnston then won the ball down the right and played in Campbell his cross found Wood who headed back across goal only for Fleming to grab on the goal line.
Seconds later Johnston made another opening for Wood he nutmegged his marker but from the edge of the area fired wide of goal.
In the tenth minute Stevie Campbell tested McKenzie with a long range effort which the Montrose keeper managed to push away.
A good piece of skill on the far side by Wood saw him win a foul when he was tripped by Julien. McCord curled over a dangerous free kick which Moyes headed back across goal only to find no takers.
Montrose should have opened the scoring in the 16th minute and again it was captain Garry Wood who was at the centre of it. He gathered the ball at the edge of the box and fired in a low effort which beat goalkeeper Allan Fleming and rebounded off the base of the post straight at the goalkeeper.
With 25 minutes gone Allan linked up with Wood and the Montrose striker played the ball back to McCord but he could only fire over the crossbar.
Three minutes later Montrose had another great opening when a reverse pass from Scott Johnston put him in on goal but his shot was brilliantly saved by visiting keeper Fleming.
Despite having all the play Montrose were caught with a sucker punch in the 32nd minute when East Fife opened the scoring. Montrose switched off from a throw in and a triangle of passes saw the ball find Fraser Mullen and his cross found SEAN DICKSON inside the box and he headed past McKenzie.
Montrose won a free kick in the 38th minute when McCord was fouled by Campbell. Jordan Allan took the kick but curled his effort well over the bar.
On the stroke of half time Montrose had another golden opportunity which they wasted. Crawford but over a perfect cross which both Banjo and Campbell went for at the same time, they got in each others way and the chance went a begging.
East Fife made a double change at the start of the second half with Alan Cook and Nathan Austin coming on to replace Kevin Smith and Ola Adeyemo.
Goalscorer Sean Dickson tested McKenzie at the start of the second half but McKenzie got down well to save.
Montrose really should have equalised in the 47th minute. McCord sprayed a pass out wide to Jordan Allan on the left and his cross was volleyed past the front post by Ross Campbell when it looked easier to score.
Substitute Nathan Austin was rightly booked in the 51st minute when after he outpacing the Montrose defence he decided to fall to the ground just outside the penalty area.
Play was held up when Sean Dickson was inured in a challenge from Allan but he was able to continue after treatment to his shoulder injury.
Jonathan Crawford just back from suspension was yellow carded in the 56th minute after he tripped substitute Austin.
Five minutes later Crawford was injured after a tackle and had to go off with a knee injury. He was replaced by Paul Watson making his return after breaking his wrist against Arbroath at the start of the year. Watson moved into the middle of the park with Banjo moving out to right back.
Montrose were hit with a sucker punch in the 64th minute when East Fife scored a second goal. A Mullen cross was deep and it was headed back across goal by Austin and in the in rushing ROSS BROWN was able to force the ball home from close range.
Montrose almost immediately got a goal back. A long ball from Ross Graham found Campbell in space only for the Montrose striker to see his volley blocked for a Montrose corner kick. McCord’s corner kick found Andrews and his header won another corner, this time from the other side. Andrews again got on the end of the corner only for Moyes to get the ball under control with his hand.
East Fife substitute Alan Cook almost made it three in the 72nd minute when he latched onto a ball down the left but his effort just missed at the far post.
With fifteen minutes remaining Montrose made a double substitution bringing on Craig Johnston for his debut and Stephen O’Neil. They replaced Scott Johnston and Ross McCord.
David Banjo became the second Montrose player to be booked for a late tackle on Cook.
With four minutes remaining Stuart McKenzie kept Montrose in the match when he tipped a shot from Austin wide of goal. But it was only going to be for a few seconds as from the resultant corner kick Montrose again switched off and the corner was played to FRASER MULLEN on the edge of the box and he fired a low effort into the bottom corner.
The final action of the afternoon saw the visitors replace player –manger Gary Naysmith with Scott Smith.