Montrose 2 Annan Athletic 0 - 23/08/14
Montrose Football Club beat Annan Athletic for the second time in a row for the first time since the South of Scotland side’s admission to the Scottish Football League as they made it two wins out of two in the league.
After an opening day victory over East Stirlingshire, Montrose were unable to play last weekend at Clyde due to the match being postponed due to a live TV match involving Rangers. Montrose however showed that the layoff hadn’t harmed them after they brushed aside Annan Athletic with an impressive first half showing.
The Gable Endies took a while to find the target but once they did through Paul Harkins there was only going to be one winner. The second half failed to live up to the first half but by then Montrose were in control.
George Shields side must look to keep this form going on Saturday when they face a derby clash with Arbroath at Gayfield Park. Arbroath currently top the table after winning their opening three matches.
After the victory over the Shire Montrose made two changes with O’Neil replacing the suspended Ross McCord and Stephen Day coming in for Steven Robb.
Montrose lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with McKenzie in goal, Masson and Graham as full back with Campbell and O’Kane in central defence. Johnston was on the right of midfield with winger Day on the left. O’Neil was in the centre with Watson on the left. Wood and Harkins were the front two.
On the bench for Montrose were Deasley, Robb, Bell, Webster, Wilson, Crawford and goalkeeper McCafferty.
Montrose looked like they meant business from the start and within the first minute they had almost taken the lead. Garry Wood raced clear on a McKenzie kick out and with only keeper Mitchell to beat the Annan number one pulled off a great save to tip the ball around the post.
From Stephen O’Neil’s corner kick the ball fell to Masson at the far post and his cross found Wood but he headed straight at Mitchell.
Annan Athletic forced their first corner kick in the seventh minute and the ball broke out to Ryan McStay who fired straight at McKenzie.
Play was held up in the eighth minute when Alan Campbell had to receive treatment on an ankle injury but he continued after treatment.
In the tenth minute Annan took a quick free kick which put Steve Logan in on goal but Ross Graham was alert and put the ball out for a corner kick. Brannan’s corner was well cleared by the home defence.
In the 13th minute Annan Athletic carved out a good opportunity when Todd and David Hopkirk linked up only for the latter to fire straight at McKenzie after carving out the good opportunity.
Three minutes later Paul Harkins sent over a great cross for Montrose only for Stephen Day to send his header wide of the far post.
Montrose were continuing to create the opportunities and in the 18th minute a Terry Masson from the right found its way to Garry Wood ten yards out but after controlling the ball he volleyed straight at Mitchell who pulled off a good stop.
With 21 minutes gone Stephen O’Neil was held back by Matty Flynn giving Montrose a free kick in a good position but although his 35 yard free kick was on target it flew over the crossbar.
The Gable Endies then forced a succession of corner kicks which were taken by Stephen O’Neil from the last the Montrose midfielder played it short to Day whose cross from the left found Garry Wood but his header looked set for the bottom corner only for Mitchell to pull off a great stop to keep the ball out of the net.
After all the pressure and great passing football Montrose finally opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a great goal. PAUL HARKINS wasn’t closed down at the edge of the box and after exchanging passes with Wood he drilled an excellent strike left footed into the bottom corner with Mitchell well beaten. It was an impressive way for the ex Elgin City midfielder to open his Montrose account.
Montrose switched off from the restart and almost conceded an equaliser two minutes later. Flynn burst through and was challenged by Stuart McKenzie at the edge of the area. The midfielder stumbled on before the ball went out of play. Referee Cook called play back to the position of the original foul, awarded the visitors a free kick before booking the Montrose goalkeeper. Thankfully for Montrose Ryan McStay could only hit his free kick into the wall.
In the 39th minute Montrose doubled their lead after they showed the visitors how to take a set piece. Harkins showed some great skill again before being flattened some 30 yards from goal. It was perfect range for PAUL WATSON and he stepped up and curled a beauty into the top corner for his first strike of the season.
The Gable Endies kept up the pressure and O’Neil played the ball wide to Wood he in turn found Terry Masson who cut inside only to see his shot saved by Mitchell.
A great flick from Stephen Day put Garry Wood away and his first time shot on the turn went wide of the far post.
In first half stoppage time Stephen O’Neil became the second Montrose player to be yellow carded for dissent.
Annan Athletic came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half and a flick from Josh Todd was heading into the back of the net until it was cleared off the line by Declan O’Kane.
A corner from Annan’s Kieran Brannan fell kindly for Ryan McStay on the edge of the box but he could only drag his shot wide of goal.
Montrose were forced into making a change in the 55th minute when Alan Campbell who was injured early in the first half was taken off and replaced by Jonathan Crawford. Crawford was making his first appearance of the season after injury and suspension. At the same time Annan brought on Derek Carcary for Ryan McStay.
Two minutes later Montrose almost made it three after Scott Johnston was fouled by McNiff on the touchline. Watson swung over the free kick and it almost crept in at the far post if it hadn’t been for a touch from an Annan Athletic player at the far post.
With an hour gone Annan Athletics’ Matty Flynn had a long range effort at goal but it went straight into the arms of Stuart McKenzie.
Jim Chapman had been vocal from the touchline for the whole match and he was finally warned by referee Barry Cook in the 62nd minute.
McKenzie looked calm in the home goal in the 70th minute as he stood and watched a dipping volley from David Hopkirk flash wide of the far post as Annan Athletic kept up the pressure on Montrose.
One minute later Montrose almost grabbed a third goal a Watson cross from the left landed inside the six yard box and Scott Johnston some how managed to chest the ball wide of goal when it looked easier to score.
Both sides made a change in the 72nd minute with Montrose bringing on Bryan Deasley for Paul Harkins while the visitors brought on last season’s top goalscorer Kenny McKay for Steve Sloan.
In the 74th minute Annan Athletics’ Matty Flynn was yellow carded after holding back Stephen O’Neil.
It was O’Neil’s last involvement in the match as he was then substituted for Steven Robb by manager George Shields.
Three minutes later Deasley showed some great skill inside the box and his cross found Day at the far post but he just couldn’t force the ball home at the far post.
With ten minutes remaining Terry Masson became the third Montrose player to be booked after he held back Hopkirk on the touchline. Hopkirk took the free kick but Steve Logan headed over the crossbar.
Montrose’s defence was well drilled and continually caught the visiting attack offside as they looked to see out the match.
Montrose were dangerous on the break and after Johnston set up Bryan Deasley inside the box his shot looked bound for the net until it took a deflection and went wide of the post.
Annan Athletic made a change in the final minute when they brought off Flynn and replaced him with Bradley.
Johnston and Deasley again linked up for Montrose in stoppage time but the substitute just couldn’t forced the ball home inside the area.