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Montrose 3 Partick Thistle 2

To say this was a nerve-jangling game for Mo fans would be a gross understatement and by the end of a pulsating game maybe few of those fans would have any fingernails left. Montrose made two changes to the starting line up with Steeves and Allan both out and replaced by Rennie and Johnston. Montrose simply had to score as a draw was of no use to them but in addition to the two changes in personnel there were also positional and tactical changes made with Webster at right back and Cammy B left back and with the emphasis very much on attacking play through midfield to get the ball up to the three out and out strikers McLean, Rennie and Johnston.

Partick Thistle also made several changes with only three starting who had started against the Mo a week or so ago at Firhill. If anyone thought that would weaken the resolve of the Thistle players on the pitch however that was certainly not obvious.

Just where do we start on a match like this! Referee Peter Stuart just got it all started and let it happen and happen it did with seldom a dull moment in the entire game. Champions Partick Thistle were applauded onto the pitch rightly so by the Montrose players and it was Thistle who showed their intent from the word go. A couple of forays down each wing came to nothing as Fleming took charge of his area. Then in the first Montrose attack a Cammy B volley from 25 yards was straight at keeper Wright. Fleming was sharp again in foiling Blair Lyons who really should have scored then Shea Gordon mishit his shot from a good position as the Mo survived the early pressure intact and came more into it themselves.

Not only did Montrose get into their stride but the first goal came their way from a 20-yarder hit by MARTIN RENNIE. He hit it cleanly but keeper Wright will feel he should have kept it out. It settled Montrose into a 1-0 lead after only 19 minutes. Milne almost added to that but his shot went too high from a very promising position.

At the other end young Blair Lyons was being a pest and again might well feel he should have scored but for a block by Webster then a save by Fleming. It was a short-lived reprieve however as Thistle did equalise when ROSS McIVER cut in from the left. His first effort was saved by Fleming and so too was his second effort but still it came back to him a third time and eventually he got it right and made it 1-1 on 25 minutes. All to do once again by Montrose.

Penrice saw the first yellow card of the game for a lunge at Johnston as Blair Lyons again in the thick of things was fouled by Masson in a dangerous position – but again Fleming snuffed out the danger. It was anybody’s game at that stage but Montrose again made the essential breakthrough. Milne worked it well through midfield to Rennie who slotted it to RUSSELL McLEAN and he angled his shot across keeper Wright into the far bottom corner to make it 2-1 on 36 minutes. The Mo had to hold out now until half-time and despite scares from both McIver and Cardle they did that. Half-time 2-1 to the Mo.

No Montrose changes for the start of the second half but Thistle brought Blair Lyons off and replaced him with James Lyon as Thistle upped the pressure and it took a while for Montrose to settle into any great rhythm. Cardle was a danger down the left and swung in a dangerous ball which fortunately ended just wide without a touch by anyone. It was a sign that Montrose must not relax but it also ended in another Thistle equaliser. JOE CARDLE took a pass from Lyon and slotted it past Fleming to make it 2-2 on 62 minutes and once again Montrose were pegged back. It was the signal for Chris Mochrie to replace Johnston whilst Reilly was replaced by striker Zak Rudden for Thistle on 65 minutes.

Fleming then was put under pressure from a back pass but was fortunately fouled by Cardle who attempted to dispossess him and was booked for his efforts. It was a let off for Montrose however. They simply had to get back on top of their game which now entered the last 20 minutes. Rennie was replaced by Antoniazzi on 72 minutes as Zak Rudden warmed Fleming’s hands with a snap shot which the keeper did well to tip over for a corner.

A triple change by Thistle brought on Owens, Murray and speedy winger Tiffoney with 13 minutes to go as Thistle went for the winner themselves with Montrose throwing everything into attack at the other end.

Into the final 10 minutes with the scores at both Links Park and between Airdrie and Falkirk level which meant if it stayed that way it would be Falkirk who progressed. Ross Campbell entered the fray in place of Lewis Milne on 83 minutes. Thistle hit the post on 85 minutes as a long cross from the right sailed over Fleming but stayed in play and was hacked away. It was the stroke of fortune Montrose needed as they went swiftly down the other end. McLean did extremely well down the right and put in a perfect cross along the deck for the onrushing CAMMY F BALLANTYNE to hit it home on 87 minutes. 3-2 to Montrose with a couple of minutes to go. At the same time news filtered through the Montrose bench that Airdrie had scored as well. Thistle gave away two free kicks in midfield from which Montrose hit both as far down field as possible until referee Peter Stuart blew for time with Montrose winning 3-2

News then soon followed that Airdrie scored again and Montrose now have at least two more games to play. Both against Greenock Morton in the play-off semi-final firstly at Links Park on Saturday 8th May with the away leg the following Tuesday 11th May. Don’t relax just yet you Mo fans, after the last couple of games anything is possible with this Mo squad! Man of the Match goes to Russell McLean for his great link up play but there were great efforts by everyone on a night of drama at Links Park, not least from Allan Fleming who again was in fantastic form.

Report by Steve Doyle


Team Lineups & Stats

SPFL League 1

Tuesday 4th May 2021



1  Allan Fleming
12  Kieran Wright
2  Cammy Ballantyne
2  Ryan Williamson
16  Craig Johnston (s65)
3  James Penrice
17  Aidan Quinn
7  Joe Cardle (s77)
14  Seán Dillon
11  Blair Lyons (s45)
7  Graham Webster
14  Shea Gordon (s77)
11  Lewis Milne (s83)
16  Ciaran McKenna
10  Russell McLean
18  Charlie Reilly (s65)
6  Terry Masson (c)
21  Mouhamed Niang
22  Cammy F Ballantyne
22  Ricky Foster (c)
23  Martin Rennie (s72)
26  Ross MacIver (s77)
5  Stuart MacFarlane
25  Mason McCready (GK)
24  Robbie McGale
10  Zak Rudden (s65)
15  Ross Campbell (s83)
17  Connor Murray (s77)
16  Craig Johnston
19  Scott Tiffoney (s77)
19  Chris Antoniazzi (s72)
20  Gospel Ocholi
9  Lewis Hawke
24  Billy Owens (s77)
20  Chris Mochrie (s65)
26  James Lyon (s45)
18  Iain Campbell
28  Andy Rodden
21  Aaron Lennox (GK)
01  Jamie Sneddon (GK)

Peter Stuart

Assistant Referees:
Graeme Stewart, Robin Taylor

Partick Thistle - Ross MacIver (25), Joe Cardle (62)
Montrose - Martin Rennie (19), Russell McLean (36), Cammy F Ballantyne (87)

Yellow Cards:
Partick Thistle - James Penrice (30), Joe Cardle (68)

Red Cards:



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