Saturday, April 16, 2011

Season 2010/2011: Match 19: Montrose v Stranraer

This was the first time I'd seen Montrose since Ray (or Raymond as the matchday programme calls him) Farningham was appointed full-time manager.

The club's form has picked up in recent weeks, and there was a nonchalent swagger about their play in the first half.

Chris Hegarty was restored to the starting line-up, which was missing Stephen McNally through suspension. The team lined up in what looked like a 4-3-3 formation, and the emphasis seemed to be very much on pinning Stranraer back and constant attack.

The first goal arrived in odd circumstances, Ross McCord turning the ball into the empty net but referee John Beaton instead awarding a penalty for a foul on Hugh Davidson. That decision could have proven to be a nightmare for Montrose, but Daryl Nicol made no mistakes from the spot.

Their lead was doubled before 20 minutes were up, Dougie Cameron the beneficiary of a stramash in the Stranraer box, the ball deflecting off him and looping over goalkeeper David Mitchell's head.

Having set themselves up with such a strong lead early on, Montrose looked like they might rack up a cricket score. Their passing was crisp and they looked confident, particularly from midfield forwards.

Armand One - who is fucking huge - is generally used by Stranraer as a battering ram. But he found himself unable to make an impact, and was hooked before half time, storming straight up the tunnel in a huff.

The second half was a different story for Montrose, and they struggled to find and maintain a rhythm. Stranraer scored nine minutes after the break with a weak goal, Montrose's defence caught napping.

The best was still to come though with Daryl Nicol's second goal. The youngster dipped his shoulder, cut inside and slammed an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

He looked likely to bag a hat-trick until Farningham made his only substitution of the match and swapped him for Sean Pierce 18 minutes from time.

Stranraer got a second goal 17 minutes from the end, and it flustered Montrose, but the home side managed to hang on to secure a good three points from one of the better teams in the division. If Stranraer had won today they'd be third in the league and very much in the promotion chase.

It's very unlikely that Montrose will finish bottom of the league this season, so there has definitely been progress since last year. Steven Tweed can take some of the credit for that, but the team looks a lot better since Ray Farningham assumed control. That suggests the problem may have been with the previous manager's personality as much as anything, so here's hoping the biggest problems are behind us.

Man of the Match: If the match had finished at half time, I'd have gone for Dougie Cameron. Today's first 45 minutes were the best I've seen from him in a Montrose shirt - he looked comfortable on the ball, passed well, crossed efficiently and generally looked dangerous. But he was very poor in the second half, snatching at tackles and picking up a needless booking.

Ross McCord had a good game, playing just behind the front two and generally involving himself in all of Montrose's attacks. His match had everything except the goal he deserved.

Ramiro Gonzalez was also a key figure, keeping Montrose ahead with a number of outstanding saves. But Gonzo can also be a bit erratic, and should have done better with both of the Stranraer goals. An outstanding celebration for the third Montrose goal though, running to the halfway line to roar his appreciation in front of the home dugout before getting a bollocking from Stuart Garden and scuttling back to where he was supposed to be.

The real man of the match though was Daryl Nicol, whose thunderbolt second goal was the icing on the cake of an outstanding performance.


Anonymous said...

I take it the Armand statement was a direct quote!!??

Dougie was awesomeness, and it's not a blinker issue!!


Groanin' Jock said...

Yes, the full quote goes:

"Is his name Armand One [pronounced like the number]? He's fucking huge!"

cdsmith15 said...

Special mention to Masson as well who in my opinion played well today.

The One tactic clearly didn't work and his 'flick-on' that ended up back on his own 18 yard line was hilarious!