Saturday, January 10, 2015

Season 2014/2015: Match 7: Montrose 0 East Stirlingshire 1 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

At half time today, the lights across Links Park were off.

Although I'm talking literally, we may also soon be talking figuratively as well.

I doubt that I was the only person who was hoping that today's match would fall foul of the weather - Arbroath's clash with Albion Rovers succumbed to the wind, and around lunchtime we experienced gale force gusts and a mini blizzard.

But by kick-off, the sun was at least having a go and the sky was blue, allowing Marvin Andrews to make the 14th home debut of his long and winding football career.

Andrews, 39, started in place of Alan Campbell, although the latter is nine years his junior. What Andrews lacks in pace, he makes up with a great positional sense and determination.

If only the same could be said for the rest of the team. This was another abject performance against one of the teams fighting alongside Montrose to avoid relegation from the senior game.

George Shields' sole tactic of having the defenders bypass the midfield and launch the ball beyond the static Garry Wood paid its usual dividend. The midfield, missing the injured Paul Watson and Stephen Day, struggled to gain a foothold, with only Terry Masson succeeding in keeping the ball for more than one touch at a time.

But even the best manager wouldn't be able to legislate for the way Montrose conceded in the 59th minute. Under little pressure, centre back Adam Harwood gave the ball away to Shire's Ross Gilmour. He ran to the edge of the box and squared the ball to David Greenhill, who fired his low shot into the net.

Nonetheless, I'm sick and tired of saying the same things every week. There's no progression; the players don't seem to learn from their mistakes; the coaching staff seem powerless to change anything; when they finally do resort to substitutions, it's too little and too late.

If Montrose are to have any hope of staying in the Scottish Professional Football League, something needs to change, and very fast.

Assuming that there is little to no budget for new players, it would seem that the change needs to made on the bench.

Shields lost the backing of the fans weeks ago. He seems to be losing the players as well.

Soon, Montrose could lose its team completely. If crowds are anything to go by, there's barely any appetite in the town for football as it is.

If the club is getting horsed by Buckie, Cove, Golspie and Brora, I would think what little support there is would vanish completely.

Man of the Match: This was another honking performance from Montrose. Only three players looked like something approaching the standard required - goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie, Terry Masson in midfield and Marvin Andrews at the back.

I'd say Andrews was the best of the bunch, exuding calm at the back, his experience keeping him in the right place at the right time and his authority and determination at least trying to drive his teammates forwards. He was a threat at set pieces (the only occasions on which Montrose looked dangerous), and by the end he was effectively playing up front as the home side desperately sought a late equaliser.

I hope Big Marvin is praying for Montrose - we're in dire need of some divine intervention now.

No comments: