Saturday, February 18, 2012

Season 2011/2012: Match 16: Montrose 1 Peterhead 3 (Irn-Bru Division Three)

The sun was deceptively shiny today, and I foolishly ventured to the Basin-side Bernabeu without wearing Antarctic survival gear.

Montrose's players were obviously feeling the chill, setting about their opponents at a frantic pace in an effort to keep warm.

We all know that Peterhead are the division's big spenders, deeming Rory McAllister worthy of £800 a week to not score goals against the assorted tradesmen, no-tradesmen, pig farmers and hammer throwers who lurk amongst the Division 3 defences.

But they were only a point ahead of Montrose going into today's match, and have spent most of the season in the bottom two.

Montrose should have been three or four ahead at the break, Peterhead goalkeeper Paul Jarvie having the game of his life to keep the home attackers at bay. Jamie Winter, who deems anything outside his own box as worth a shot, clattered the crossbar from wide on the left in the first half as well.

Despite having the the North Pole wind at their backs in the first half, playing the better football and creating more chances, Montrose were 1-0 down at the break, Graham Webster firing into the bottom corner after his first shot was blocked.

There's a fine line between pessimism and realism when it comes to Montrose, and I predicted at half time that, shooting into the wind, Montrose would end the match on the receiving end of a 4-0 hiding.

It looked as though my prediction was coming true within 10 minutes of the restart, David Ross poking across the line at the post and Bavidge lobbing home goalkeeper Michael Andrews two minutes later.

Midway through the second half, I asked my fellow members of the Links Park press corps when Martin Boyle had last scored. He had the ball in the net 30 seconds later, controlling a Winter pass, knocking the ball around Jarvie and shooting into the empty net.

The goal set up the possibility of an exciting end to the match, and while Montrose did manage to press Peterhead back into their own half, they couldn't add to their tally.

A disappointing result, but a decent performance that deserved at least a point. But for a catastrophic two-minute spell in the second half, Montrose might have got that point.

Man of the Match: There were no stand-out performances from Montrose. The defence let itself down with that disastrous two minutes in the second half, but Dougie Cameron in particular looked otherwise decent (I think Maz must have spiked the tablet she gave me before kick-off).

Martin Boyle's finish was well-executed, but he passed up another two or three chances. Scott Johnston had a busy but fruitless afternoon, but let himself down with some daft challenges and petulant outbursts. For me it's between the central midfield pair for Montrose's man of the match (Paul Jarvie had the best match of anyone on the park).

Terry Masson was typically combative, setting the tempo for Montrose early on and pushing forward to support Boyle and Johnston.

But Jamie Winter impressed me more, setting up Boyle's goal with a cracking pass and coming close himself on a couple of occasions.

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