Annan Athletic 5 Montrose 1
Montrose Football Club crashed to their heaviest away defeat of the season and their first since November 12th when four goals in the first 18 minutes paved the way for Annan Athletic to clinch their place in the end of season play offs as they secured third place in the league on Saturday.
After five wins and a draw and only one goal conceded it was a confident Montrose that travelled to Galabank but they came away well between as Stewart Petrie side lost for the first time away from home in his Links Park managerial career.
Now with Clyde to come on Saturday, Montrose lie one point ahead of fifth placed Elgin City as the battle for that final spot goes down to the wire.
Considering the position that the club found themselves in December it’s been a fantastic turnaround in the fortunes of the club with the management team and players doing fantastically well to turn things around.
After the win over Berwick Rangers there was only one Montrose created the first chance of the match in the 4th minute when Templeman received a throw in from Ballantyne on the edge of the box and turned to fire just over the crossbar.
A minute later the home side opened the scoring a corner kick from Flannagan wasn’t cleared properly by the home defence and from the edge of the box RABIN OMAR saw his shot bounce down and over the despairing Fleming and into the net.
Two minutes later Hay won a corner kick for the Gable Endies but Matty Allan headed over Campbell’s corner.
Montrose’s troubles doubled in the tenth minute when the left side of the field was totally open to an Annan attack and when Flannigan’s first shot was blocked BARRY CUDDIHY was on hand to knock the rebound past a helpless Fleming.
Things got even worse for Stewart Petrie’s men when the home side amazingly scored a third goal right in front of a substantial away support. Another corner kick was defended properly again and centre half STEPHEN SWINGLEHURST had the simplest of opportunities to head past Fleming from close range.
The embarrassment continued for the away support when Annan Athletic made it 4 – 0 in the 18th minute against a side who had only conceded one goal in its last six games. The ball was headed back across goal and RAFFI KRISSIAN again couldn’t miss from close range.
Montrose immediately made a change with the injured Masson being replaced by McWalter.
As things settled down Montrose forced a corner kick with 22 minutes gone. From Campbell’s set piece Templeman saw his effort blocked before Watson shot over the crossbar.
Iain Campbell was booked for a solid challenge on Peter Weatherston in the 28th minute and the Montrose left back was made to pay for this two minutes later when he needlessly held back a home player and received a second yellow card before being shown a red card.
Montrose moved Steeves to left back with Watson moving into central defence with a three man midfield.
With seven minutes of the half remaining Annan almost made it five when Nathan Flanagan found himself through on goal with only Fleming to beat but the Montrose keeper pulled off a great one handed save.
A minute later Steeves was fouled by Omar. Fraser took the free kick only for Hay’s shot to be blocked by Currie.
Within five minutes of the second half starting Annan Athletic made it five a stray pass from McWalter put the Montrose three man defence in danger and the ball was slipped through to PETER WEATHERSTON and he did the rest by slipping the ball through the legs off Fleming and into the net.
Skelton of the home side was booked for a foul on McWalter and from Hay’s free kick Allan headed over although the flag was already up for offside.
Montrose made another change in the 55th minute with Liam Callaghan replacing Fraser.
Five minutes later Petrie made a final change for Montrose with Greg Pascazio coming on in central defence for Watson.
Montrose came close to grabbing a consolation goal in the 62nd minute when Ballantyne raced up the right and slipped a pass to Smith who curled an effort just past the post.
The Gable Endies grabbed the goal their second half display deserved with eight minutes remaining Smith slipped a pass to KERR HAY and he jinked past a few defenders before planting an excellent shot into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later Montrose almost had a second goal when a Callaghan corner kick almost caught out Currie in the home goal but he managed to get his hand to the ball at the last minute.
An afternoon best forgotten by Montrose but all to play for in their final home game of the season against Clyde this Saturday.