Saturday, March 10, 2012

Season 2011/2012: Match 19: Montrose 1 Berwick Rangers 1 (Irn-Bru Division Three)

After five years of watching Montrose week in, week out, and almost 12 months of Raymond Farningham's Less Than Incredible Comedy Circus, I've finally worked out where the main problem is.

The assorted nuclear physicists, neurosurgeons and chemical weapon developers that turn out for Montrose during their days off think that football matches last 70 minutes.

That can be the only reason for them giving Berwick a good game for that long then inexplicably switching off for the final 20 minutes.

Neither side created any clear chances in the first half hour or so, but the 10 minutes before the break suggested we were in for a match in the second half.

It took only three minutes of the latter period for Montrose to take the lead, Martin Boyle (maybe just overshadowed this week by Lionel Messi's exploits in the Champions League) applying a low finish to Lloyd Young's knockdown.

And from there they could have had at least another one or two. Scott Johnston was tireless, marauding up and down both wings, while his fellow midfielders were solid and generally reliable.

But with 20 minutes remaining - coinciding with the introduction of Jamie Winter in place of Terry Masson in central midfield - Montrose began to invite their visitors into the final third, a dangerous strategy given the home side's defensive frailty and erratic goalkeeper.

On this instance, it wasn't keeper Michael Andrews who was at fault - he had a good game, with some excellent saves that kept Montrose in the match.

Today those at fault (yet again) were:
Jonathan "Pob" Beckenbauer Smart. Everyone's favourite jug-eared puppet turned centre back remains a critical disaster area, not least because in his head, he's never at fault. If he spent as much time defending as he does barking at his team mates to hide his own mistakes, he'd be on the way to being as good as he clearly thinks he is.

Neither he nor Sean Crighton (the switch on the back of Crighton's head was flicked from "Get rid of the ball at all times" to "Panic and flap about" for the final 20 minutes) managed to beat the much shorter Damon Gray in the air when Berwick equalised from a corner.

The whole Montrose defence is a shambles, with another weak point in today's late collapse -
- Dougie Cameron, a source of continuing frustration. He'd have been a contender for man of the match up until the final 20 minutes, when his tendency to go walkabout reappeared. He needs to realise that he's at his best sticking to his position at left back and using his genuine passing ability from there, rather than wandering aimlessly into midfield and leaving gaps at the back that he doesn't have the pace to refill when necessary.

Also in the "could have been a contender" category was Jonathan Crawford:Screech was doing well in a holding midfield role for the first hour or so, but he also seemed to be destabilised by Winter's introduction - possibly as a result of losing the (unlikely) calming influence of Terry Masson beside him.

I can understand Farningham's introduction of Winter with 20 minutes to go - hope the ball drops to him somewhere in the same postcode as the Berwick net and that he can use his laser-guided rocket foot to power in a goal or two.

But the team's shape went all to buggery after he came on, the midfield stopped defending, the defence started defending like they didn't know how to defend and there was no way Montrose were going to come out with all three points.

It's infuriating watching men who should know better stop playing the way they can and resort to aimless punts and defending like kids.

This season's a write-off, we know that much. We've seen the team match all the other teams in the division at one time or another. They need to remember to play for the full 90 minutes, with maybe some tweaks to personnel. I'd still be in favour of binning the two Jonathans, but I'd keep Kneeheid, as on his day he's a player. Otherwise, I'm still comfortable with the team we put on the park most weeks.

Man of the Match: It feels like I say this every week, but Boyle was tireless up front and deserved his goal. Masson was strong in midfield, as was Lloyd Young alongside him. Crawford and Cameron played well in the first half. But the award is between Michael Andrews and Scott Johnston, and now that I've thought about it, Andrews kept Montrose in the game on a number of occasions.


David said...

Quit your groaning, man, and get your widgets on site so that your musings may be more widely disseminated.

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy would have whipped your collective arse in their hey-day:)

You're still playing with auld boots - get new-fangled widgets attached:)

Greetings from Nippon
Daibhidh :)

Groanin' Jock said...

Daibhidh - there are now multiple widgets on each post, so disseminate to your heart's content :-)