Saturday, July 26, 2014

Season 2013/2014: Match 1: Montrose 0 Peterhead 3 (The Petrofac Cup Round 1)

The last time I saw Montrose beat Peterhead was in November 2012. Since then, they've lost Martin Boyle and Jamie Winter, and have lost 6-0 to Peterhead at Links Park.

Using the well-honed skill and judgement that comes with the territory of being an amateur pundit, I today predicted that Montrose would not win their first competitive match of the season.

The reasons for this prediction included:

1) Montrose's lack of a real goalscorer - Garry Wood is a striker who rarely strikes, and Bryan Deasley seems to have forgotten he ever was one. Scott Johnston runs a lot but seems to forget what he was trying to do when he gets where he was going.

2) Montrose continue to play Alan Campbell and his arthritic knees at centre back, while Paul Watson has polished his game down to a solid core of wandering around, shouting at his team-mates and trying audacious long-distance shots.

3) Peterhead are, though it pains me to say it, a very good side (when speaking comparatively alongside the rest of the scrapings in the bottom two levels of the SPFL barrel).

4) Montrose are pish.

Even the previously unbreakable lucky charm of Little Jocklette was unable to counteract the Rory McAllister effect, daughter dear seeing Montrose lose for the first time, in her fourth visit to the North Sea Nou Camp.

Peterhead took the lead in the fifth minute, Andy Rodgers' header dropping inside the far post from a James Stevenson corner, despite Ross Graham's best efforts to Riverdance it to safety.

The visitors doubled their lead in the 17th minute when McAllister broke into a light jog which saw him race clear of the Montrose defence, before he slipped a low shot into McKenzie's net.

They completed the scoring before the half hour mark, Rodgers cutting the ball back for Stevenson to sidefoot home.

Having all but lost the match already, Montrose were further hindered when referee Colin Steven showed Graham Webster a red card for allowing Peterhead's Jamie Redman to smash into him with a sliding challenge.

He was joined in the Montrose dressing room by Garry Wood early in the second half, the Montrose skipper adjudged to have committed a professional foul on McAllister, although there looked to be little or no contact between the two.

If Webster and Wood thought they were having a bad afternoon, it probably got a whole lot worse when they were joined by Big Mad Lee Wilkie, the raging assistant manager banished to the dressing room lest he forcibly remove assistant referee Joseph Lawson's head from his shoulders. One would imagine that was an uncomfortable 45 minutes for the red-carded players.

After the second red, there was little action on which to report - Peterhead pissed about with the ball in their own half, occasionally gave Rory McAllister a chance to make Campbell look like a fud, and fired a few long distance shots at Stuart McKenzie just to check he wasn't sleeping.

And that was that. Three goals conceded, none scored, two men sent off and suspended.

Welcome to the new season...

Man of the Match: Slim pickings from Montrose. Without Stuart McKenzie in goals, it could have been a lot worse, so we'll go for him.

Monday, June 09, 2014


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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Groanin' Jock Montrose FC Player of the Year Award 2013/2014

As my Montrose viewing is over for the season, it's now time to award the award that no awardee is waiting for, The Groanin' Jock Montrose FC Player of the Year Award.

Determined by who I most often awarded the man of the match, this season we have a clear winner.

Stuart McKenzie, in his debut season at the Montrose Maracana, has been a solid and confident performer in the Montrose goal.

On the 14 occasions I've seen Montrose this season, McKenzie has been the home side's best performer in five of them.

The full list is as follows:

Stuart McKenzie 5
Scott Johnston 3
Bryan Deasley 2
Garry Wood 2
Alan Campbell 1
Paul Watson 1

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Season 2013/2014: Match 14: Montrose 2 Annan Athletic 1 (Scottish Professional Football League Two)

Having last seen Montrose win around six weeks ago, and having seen them ship five goals without reply in my previous two visits to the Montrose Maracana, it was with no optimism that I ventured out today.

Given that they were facing an Annan side sitting second in the league and with a playoff place guaranteed, it seemed obvious that Montrose would continue their sorry capitulation of the preceding two home matches.

The previous week they'd rolled over and let Clyde tickle their bellies, but this week there was a growl and a determination to their play.

Jonathan Crawford epitomised it, with a snarling, ill-tempered showing that included a booking in the third minute. Having long since cast aside his Screech Powers curls, Crawford today was a torn-faced menace to any Annan player who ventured into his fallout zone. He almost scored with a fantastic bullet header during the second half, only to be denied by a great stop from visiting keeper Kenny Arthur.

Montrose had taken the lead on the half hour mark when Scott Johnston's cross to the back post was headed down by Paul Watson, allowing Bryan Deasley to sneak in front of his marker and poke the ball into the net.

The same player had several chances during the match, but found Arthur in good form, as well as passing up others through poor finishing.

It took until the 74th minute for Annan to find an equaliser, David Hopkirk sent clear of the Montrose defence and slotting a shot past McKenzie and in off the post.

But it took Montrose only two minutes to move back in front, McCord's corner falling to Wood in the box. The Montrose skipper's first shot was blocked, but his second zipped across goal and into the net.

And so Montrose's final home match of the season ended with an unlikely win. The season will end next week in deepest, darkest Stenhousemuir, and from there we can begin to think about next season under a new manager.

I'd keep most of the squad on, assuming they wanted to stay. McKenzie has been a revelation in goals, and Montrose will be doing well to hold on to him.

Campbell and Wilson have settled as a central defensive partnership, and Crawford's versatility continues to make him a useful asset. Left back remains a problem, although Bell did fairly well today before being replaced by McIntosh.

Watson, Masson and Gray are all definite keeps, but I've been concerned over the form of McCord this season, as he doesn't appear to be the player he was during his first spell at Links Park.

Deasley, Wood and Johnston are all great players on their day, and I'd definitely keep all three.

So, if a new manager can add some additional bodies in defence and midfield, and hold onto the best players already at the club, it might be possible to move me from pessimism to optimism.


Man of the Match: Bryan Deasley's movement and workrate were great today, but his finishing could have been better. Garry Wood took his goal well and looked generally untroubled all afternoon, as did the unusually fiery Jonathan Crawford.

But yet again, Stuart McKenzie was exceptional, keeping Montrose ahead with some magnificent goalkeeping. The best player at the club by a sizeable margin this season.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Season 2013/2014: Match 13: Montrose 0 Clyde 2 (Scottish Professional Football League Two)

As my press corps colleagues and I departed the Basinside Bernabeu this afternoon, I canvassed some of my fellow punters for their choice of reports:

Punter 1: "What a load of shite"

Punter 2: "Pish. Pish. Pish."

I really have little more to add to those assessments. Montrose were dire today. Scarcely a shot on target. An insistence on thumping crosses into the box despite Garry Wood being carved out of granite and Kieran Sturrock making Martin Boyle look like a towering behemoth. Graham Webster in midfield. The list of complaints goes on...and on...and on...

Positives? Barely any. Montrose only conceded twice - is that a positive?

Terry Masson started on the bench as George "The Animal" Shields, caretaker managing Montrose for the first time at Links Park, selected Ross McCord and Graham Webster in the centre of the park, flanked by Bryan "Emmmm, but I'm a striker George" Deasley and Scott "And so am I" Johnston.

Even with the midfield being overrun in the second half, it wasn't the hapless Webster who was substituted, but the anonymous Sturrock. Terry Masson came off the bench and took two minutes to collect his customary booking.

Clyde looked good today - especially when we consider that it's very recently that they would arrive at Links Park and receive an absolute hammering (8-1 seems a long time ago). Their opening goal came from a surging run from Stuart McColm that, if it didn't quite evoke Gareth Bale's Copa Del Rey winner from midweek, it did rip Jonathan Crawford a new arsehole.

Their second came from the penalty spot after Colin Wilson decided to empty Stefan McCluskey in the box.

Positives? At least there's only 180 minutes of the season to go...

Man of the match: Slim pickings - even the usually dependable Stuart McKenzie struggled today. If forced to pick from the Montrose ranks, I'd reluctantly go for Bryan Deasley, who came closest to scoring for the home team and at least looked like he might like to win a football match.