Cowdenbeath 1 Montrose 3
Montrose went into this game with an unchanged starting eleven so it was Fleming in goal then a back three of Allan, Dillon and Iain Campbell with Ballantyne and Steeves in their usual wing back attacking roles. The midfield as before had Masson, Watson and Callaghan operating behind a front two of Johnston and Templeman. On the bench were Webster, Hay, Redman, Fotheringham, McLaren, Fraser and substitute goalkeeper Euan Rose. During the week Cowdenbeath Manager Billy Brown had stepped down voluntarily meaning that five of the ten Managers who started the season in League Two have now departed.
A sparse home crowd were out-shouted from the off by a very big Montrose away crowd of about 100 the like of which is rarely seen away from nearby places like Arbroath. Great to see and clearly much appreciated by the players.
The game got underway with Montrose playing against a moderate breeze which soon became driving rain alternated by sunny spells, both in their faces. The home side offered little as Montrose took the game to the Blue Brazil looking to assert themselves early on. Cammy Ballantyne hit a hard low cross along the deck in the six yard box but there were no takers. That was soon to change however as in the tenth minute TERRY MASSON swept in a low left wing cross from Andy Steeves to make it 1-0. What became noticeable in this game was that Manager Petrie was using the very mobile midfielder Masson to get more up in support of the front two and particularly get on the end of the second ball which is exactly how that first goal came about, from a poorly attempted clearance by the Cowdenbeath defence. With the two Montrose wing backs enjoying the space they had down the flanks and Masson supporting from midfield this looked more like a Montrose side looking to score more than once.
After 15 minutes the biggest cheer of the day from the Montrose crowd was when a very wet Hamish appeared and acknowledged the appreciation in his usual non stop way!
As if the players on the field were also grateful he had finally appeared they scored again after 20 minutes when again TERRY MASSON got on the end of another poor clearance to head home from close range and make it 2-0 to the Montrose.
Liam Callaghan was sitting more behind Masson in midfield but although not appearing to be having his best game both he and Paul Watson were looking solid by sweeping up everything which came their way and they had to because Cowdenbeath themselves had plenty of energy and guile there in the shape of Kyle Miller who was a constant threat. Miller received the first yellow card of the game just before the break when he body checked Craig Johnston who was bursting threateningly towards the penalty area. From the free kick Iain Campbell hit a great effort to the keeper’s right but McGurn produced a breath-taking save to push it around for a corner which came to nothing.
It had been a very impressive first half by Montrose who almost added a third before the break. A dead ball kick from Iain Campbell was met by a leaping Matty Allan who looked to have notched his first goal for the club until keeper McGurn produced a point blank save again. Matty’s dad thought it was a great save rather than a miss by Matty! On the very stroke of half time Cowdenbeath had two good efforts both thwarted by keeper Allan Fleming at the other end. So it was 2-0 to the Mo at half time.
In the second half the next goal was going to be important, Cowdenbeath would know it had to be them otherwise a third for Montrose would have surely killed the game off. The latter however should have been the Montrose objective – to go for the jugular.
Midfielder Miller was it seemed into everything Cowdenbeath did and it was he who set up their goal early in the second half. It was a breakaway goal which for once caught the Montrose midfield off guard and hesitation in the centre of defence allowed ROBBIE BUCHANNAN to head home from close range to make it 2-1 and all to play for. That was exactly what Cowden needed and what Montrose did not want after so much domination and underlined the fact that you just cannot relax your concentration and take your foot off the gas. Cowden now had their tails up and Callaghan saw yellow as he cheekily tapped the ball away to avoid a quickly taken free kick – the referee was not amused. Manager Stewart Petrie decided to change the formation and give the home side something else to deal with. Off came Matty Allan as Montrose went to a flat back four and on came Webster to operate down the right and provide an outlet in the space there. It paid off right away as he fed the ball to the onrushing Ballantyne whose deep cross was headed home at the back post by CRAIG JOHNSTON against his old club to make it 3-1 to the Mo whose crowd loved it.
Cowdenbeath then made a change as Muirhead replaced Connelly but Montrose then brought off Callaghan for Connor McLaren to use his fresh legs to stretch the home defence. The game then began to drift as those changes took effect but Watson woke up the home keeper by hitting a 30 yard daisy cutter which almost crept in at the foot of the post. Gary Fraser then came on for Johnston with fifteen minutes to go and Cowden replaced Rutherford for Whittaker. Cowden desperately tried to open up the Montrose wall at the back but really provided little threat of note and it was Montrose who could well have added to the scoreline as efforts by Webster, Ballantyne and Steeves all fizzed perilously close to the target.
Referee Charleston blew for time with Montrose bagging the points in a 3-1 win to send the large Montrose crowd back up (and down) the road happily. Hard to pick out a MOTM but the opportunism of Terry Masson tips the scales in his favour after being out injured for such a long time.
Team Lineups & Stats
Saturday 4th November 2017
|3||Shaun Rutherford (s83)
||4||Matty Allan (s56)
|5||Scott Rumsby (c)
||8||Paul Watson (c)
||16||Craig Johnston (s74)
|10||Jordan Garden (s74)
|11||Ryan Connelly (s61)
||19||Liam Callaghan (s63)
||1||Euan Rose (GK)
|14||Bradley Smith (s74)
|15||Cameron Muirhead (s61)
||7||Graham Webster (s56)
||9||Gary Fraser ( s74)
|17||Blair Penman (GK)
|18||Ben Stirling||17||Jamie Redman
|19||Jack Whittaker (s83)
||22||Connor McLaren (s63)
John McCrossan, Gordon McCabe
Montrose - Terry Masson (10, 21), Craig Johnston (59)
Cowdenbeath - Robbie Buchanan (51)
Montrose - Liam Callaghan (57)
Cowdenbeath - Scott Rumsby (33)