Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Season 2011/2012: Match 18: Montrose 0 Queen's Park 1 (Irn-Bru Division Three)

Sometimes I feel as though I'm stuck in my own personal version of Groundhog Day where I:
  • Go to work
  • Read some of the book I've been reading for almost six months on the train into work
  • Go to Links Park
  • Hear a mad old bastard exclaim about something that no-one else can see
  • Fail to win the 50/50 half-time draw
  • Listen to a mad young reporter tell me that Sandy Wood is very nice
  • See Martin Boyle run fast
  • Watch Dougie Cameron shank 95-yard "passes" out for throw-ins
  • See Montrose lose a football match
Yesterday was day 1,735 of this never-ending loop. It was unusually warm at the Wellington Street Wembley, but that was the only deviation from the script.

Neither side looked particularly good, and the Hampden side never looked likely to put five past Montrose, as they did 17 days earlier.

Very few clear-cut chances were created by either side, Scott Johnston hitting the side netting and Jamie Winter continuing his development of a land-based, foot-launched missile defence system just in case Scotland ever becomes independent.

Montrose stuck steadfastly to their less-than-convincing tactic of letting the defence launch the ball as far up the park as possible, in the hope that

A) Martin Boyle will run fast enough to catch the ball and score
B) The ball will fall in front of Jamie Winter somewhere in the opposition half, and he will score
C) Garry Wood will have grown six inches and become a genuine target man

Unfortunately, none of these things happened in the 74 minutes that Montrose kept a full complement of players on the brillo pad that is the Links Park surface.

(Topic for debate: is it still a park if there's no grass?)

It was in the 74th minute that Paul Lunan:

nailed winger Ian Watt with a clumsy challenge wide on the right. It wasn't particularly malicious, just a (much) slower player completely mistiming his tackle and taking Watt completely out of the game. Some referees might have shown a yellow, given the foul occurred midway into the Montrose half and wide on the right, but it was certainly a dangerous tackle.

Even then, Montrose didn't capitulate. Rather than bring on Beckenbauer Smart (banished to the bench for looking and defending like Pob) or Sean Crighton, Ray Farningham instead moved Wood to centre back and tried to keep the attacking momentum going.

It almost paid off, but with two minutes remaining substitute Owen Ronald hit the bye-line and crossed for Jamie Longworth to slam a shot low past Michael Andrews.

That takes Montrose's current run to three home defeats. We know that the bottom two is beckoning once more.

Frustratingly, we also know that Montrose on their day are a match for any team in the division. Worryingly though, it seems as though more teams are becoming aware that Montrose rely far too much on Boyle and Winter, and that if they can nullify that twin threat, the Montrose defence will almost always ship goals.

Man of the Match: It's a tough one, as no-one really shone. The defence held out well, even after Lunan's dismissal. I thought that Garry Wood looked potentially useful up front, and coped well when shifted to centre back, so I'll go with him.

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