Scottish League Cup
Saturday 2nd August 2014
Montrose 1 Falkirk 3
Montrose Football Club were knocked out of the League Cup at the hands of Championship side Falkirk at Links Park on Saturday.
In the sides first meeting in six years it was Montrose who shocked their opponents by taking a 25th minute lead through captain Garry Wood but the visitors fought back to win the tie with the final sealing goal only arriving with two minutes remaining.
Montrose can be proud of their efforts in a vastly improved performance on the previous weeks match against Peterhead.
They must now look to take this form into the their first league match of the season at home to East Stirlingshire on Saturday.
After the Peterhead defeat George Shields made two changes to his line up as well as changing the formation to a 4–2–3–1. Out went the suspended Graham Webster and Stephen O’Neil in came Terry Masson and for his debut ex Stirling Albion wide man Stephen Day.
Montrose lined up with McKenzie in goal with Masson and Bell in full back roles. Graham and Campbell were in the heart of the defence. Robb and Watson sat in front of the defence with Johnston, McCord and Day playing behind loan striker Garry Wood.
Montrose had two new signings on the bench Paul Harkins signed from Elgin City and 18 year old centre half Declan O’Kane signed on the eve of the match on loan from Dunfermline Athletic. They were joined on the bench by Deasley, Cavanagh, O’Neil, Wilson and goalkeeper John McCafferty.
Falkirk put out a strong side that contained ex Hearts goalkeeper Jamie Macdonald as well as Alan Maybury and Tom Taiwo both playing in the Premiership with Hibs last season. The side also contained the youthful talent of Blair Alston, Conor McGrandles and Alex Cooper.
Falkirk were quickly into action at Links Park with Taiwo playing the ball wide to Cooper but he sent his cross sailing over the crossbar.
The Gable Endies created their first opening in the tenth minute Robb played the ball into the feet of Wood inside the area and he played the ball back to Paul Watson but he couldn’t keep his shot down and blazed the ball over the bar from 25 yards out.
In the next minute a long range effort from Olumide Durojaiye was deflected for a corner kick which Cooper took, Durojaiye got his head to the ball but the ball was blocked by Johnston.
Montrose almost grabbed the opening goal in the 13th minute, Masson played a delightful ball over the Falkirk defence that found Stephen Day and the debutant cracked an effort just over the crossbar.
Ex Hibs and Hearts defender Alan Maybury then got in a shooting position but blasted the ball over the bar.
A run from Alston caused problems for Montrose and his cross was put out by Graham for a corner. Alex Cooper swung over the corner kick but captain David McCracken headed over the bar.
It was Montrose who shocked their championship opponents by opening the scoring in the 25th minute. Terry Masson did brilliantly to fire over a cross from the touchline ex Hearts goalkeeper Jamie Macdonald fumbled the cross onto the bar and GARRY WOOD was on hand at the back post to head the ball home from a yard out much to the delight of his team-mates.
Unfortunately the lead wasn’t to last long as Falkirk grabbed an equaliser with a disputed penalty five minutes later. Durojaiye appeared to foul a Montrose player before bursting into the box and being felled by a strong tackle by Craig Bell. It appeared soft but referee John Beaton pointed to the spot despite the protests of the Montrose players. Bell was booked and BLAIR ALSTON sent McKenzie the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Play was then held up for five minutes to allow a smoke canister that was throw from the Falkirk end of the ground to go out before being cleared from the park.
In the 36th minute Ross McCord was fouled after a late tackle some 30 yards out but his 25 yard free kick went past the near post.
Falkirk’s dangerman Alex Cooper then out foxed Craig Bell before firing in a shot from the angle which was beaten away by McKenzie.
Seconds later Cooper was at it again when he cut inside on the left before again testing McKenzie with a near post shot.
Some good play again from McCord took him inside the Falkirk box where he won Montrose a corner kick. McCord swung over the corner kick but Campbell was penalised for pushing inside the box
After holding their own for most of the first half Montrose suffered a blow in stoppage time when Falkirk took the lead for the first time. The dangerous ALEX COOPER was allowed freedom inside the box and his shot took a deflection before finding its way past Stuart McKenzie and into the net.
In the 47th minute Montrose carved out an opportunity. Wood flicked a Bell throw in to Ross McCord who raced into the box before lobbing the ball over MacDonald and also the crossbar.
Montrose were nearly made to pay in the following minute when they lost possession to Alex Cooper but he fired in an effort low off the post and behind.
With 50 minutes gone Johnston slipped through a great ball to Garry Wood but his low effort was blocked by the visiting defence.
Montrose went so close to the equaliser in 52nd minute. It was Terry Masson who broke from his full back position and his cross was cut out by Liam Dick just before it can to the unmarked Scott Johnston inside the area.
In the 56th minute Montrose claimed for a penalty kick after McCord appeared to be fouled in the box but referee Beaton was having non of it and play continued.
Three minutes later the visitors again hit woodwork. This time it was Conor McGrandles who hit the bar from a Cooper cut back.
On the hour mark Montrose had another good opportunity to grab the equaliser Ross McCord gathered a Bell pass and his first effort was blocked by a defender but the midfielder gathered the rebound only to send his chip straight at MacDonald.
Seconds later Terry Masson became the second Montrose player to be booked for a foul on Cooper.
Johnston then gathered a kick out from McKenzie and found Masson with a great overlapping run but unfortunately MacDonald blocked his great effort.
Montrose were continuing to put pressure on as they searched for the equaliser and a great piece of wing play from Stephen Day saw him skip past a defender and send a pin point low cross into the box that only required a touch but unfortunately Johnston just couldn’t get there in time.
Garry Wood gathered in the McCord’s corner kick turned and fired just over the bar from inside the area.
Four minutes later as Falkirk went for the kill Botti Biabi found himself through on goal with only McKenzie to beat but the Montrose Number One did well to tackle the striker inside box and put the ball out for a throw in.
Seconds later manager George Shields made his first change of the afternoon with Paul Harkins making his Montrose debut in place of Steven Robb.
Harkins quickly showed his ability with a great run from inside his own half but as the goal opened up in front of him he chose to try and find Wood but a Falkirk defender cut out the danger and the chance went.
Montrose second change arrived with fifteen minutes left when Bryan Deasley replaced Wood.
Falkirk then sent on Craig Sibbald for Blair Alston.
Falkirk almost grabbed a third goal in the 77th minute when a chip from Conor McGrandles was netbound until Terry Masson got back to hook the ball wide of the post.
With seven minutes left Montrose made their third switch of the afternoon when Stephen O’Neil replaced Stephen Day.
At the same time the visitors brought on Scott Shephard for Botti Biabi.
It was SCOTT SHEPHARD who would seal victory for Falkirk with two minutes remaining when he knocked home a McGrandles cut back and put an end to the spirited Montrose efforts in the second half.