Thursday, January 02, 2014

Season 2013/2014: Match 7: Montrose 0 Berwick Rangers 0 (Scottish Professional Football League Two)

As is becoming the norm in Montrosefootballclubland, the home side today failed to score a goal, but did manage to pick up their customary red card.

It was Paul Watson's turn this week, following in the footsteps of Terry Masson and Ross McCord in making sure that he gets a weekend or two off during the coldest part of the season.

The red card, awarded for Watson's clumsy second half challenge that added a second booking of the day to his account, was one of the few moments of note in an otherwise comparatively tame encounter.

Both sides did have efforts cleared off the line, and at one point I thought my halftime hot chocolate had been laced with LSD, as I'm sure I saw Alan Campbell cut inside his marker on the Berwick bye line and crash a shot into the side netting.

For Montrose, it was the usual list of shortcomings that were apparent - toothless up front (despite the industry of both Bryan Deasley and Garry Wood), a lack of truly dangerous crosses from the flanks, and a paucity of flair in the middle of the park.

This may have been Stephen McNally's last appearance in a Montrose shirt, the fullback apparently heading off for a life on the rigs, a fate also shared by Lloyd Young.

Young will leave a big hole in the squad, but McNally is not the loss he would have been a couple of years ago, his game recently having been plagued by inconsistency and errors.

What his departure does mean is that Montrose are again chronically shortstaffed at both fullback positions, as well as lacking a regular goalscorer while Deasley and Wood continue to search for goals.

While in previous years I have frequently lamented the quantity and quality of centre backs at the club, the improvements in Alan Campbell's game have been notable, and his partnership with Luke Johnston is bearing fruit. In goal, Stuart McKenzie has been magnificent since his arrival.

So, New Year, and hopefully some new faces arriving at the North Sea Nou Camp to fill the gaps.

We live in hope...

Man of the Match: Alan Campbell had an excellent match, marshalling the defence well under pressure. But it was Stuart McKenzie who shone today, keeping Montrose in the match with another great performance in goals.

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