Saturday, February 23, 2013

Season 2012/2013: Match 15: Montrose 5 Annan Athletic 1 (Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division Three)

The arrival of a second Jockling - this one a boy weighing in at 9lb 4oz who clearly has 'battering ram striker' written all over him - meant that today was my first Montrose match since the draw at Ibrox, and only my second at Links Park in 2013.

To give Mrs Wife some respite, I dragged/carried/coaxed Child Number One along with me, Little Jocklette attending her second match at Links Park. Her only previous visit was a 3-1 win over East Stirlingshire, so I was hopeful that she would continue her run as a lucky charm.

Annan are a side in freefall. Last season, under Harry Cairney, they were an imposing physical team, full of brutal power and formidable long-range shots.

Today they were pathetic. Second to every ball, they were lucky to escape with only a four-goal defeat. That defeat was largely the work of one man, the returning and resurgent Martin Boyle.

Barry Smith, the erstwhile Dundee manager, was in the stand at Links Park today, his Saturdays having been freed for the foreseeable future.

(How embarrasing must it be when your employers consider John Brown to be a superior tactician/football brain to you?)

Smith therefore had to sit and watch as Boyle showed exactly why he should have been given more than the occasional substitute appearance after his transfer to Dens Park.

He had a hat-trick before the break, scoring two sublime goals and a third in comical fashion when hapless visiting goalkeeper Craig Summersgill dropped the ball, thinking he was alone in his box.

Jamie Winter, working on a 'we'll give you a Mars Bar every time you score' bonus system, added a penalty as Annan went in at half time 4-0 down.

Boyle took only two minutes to score his own fourth goal, and Annan could begin contemplating the long bus journey back to the Borders.

The rest of the second half was largely uneventful, Montrose happy to sit on their lead and Annan unable to offer much by way of reply. Only with 10 minutes to go did we see any real excitement, Annan subs Ally Love and David Murray combining to score the visitors' consolation goal.

Montrose now sit three points clear of Peterhead in third place, and six points clear of Elgin who sit outside the playoff places with two games in hand. Rangers have ruined any hope there ever was of a title race, but without the Ibrox side, we would be talking about a push for the trophy from Montrose.

The change they've undergone in the past year - hell, even in the past six months - is incredible. The Montrose coaching team hasn't been given much credit beyond the local supporters, but it's time their efforts were given wider recognition.

I have absolutely no criticism of the team today, other than for switching off near the end and allowing Annan to score.

So, Little Jocklette's record as a Montrose supporter stands at P2 W2 F8 A2 Pts 6. Long may it continue, even if it does cost me a fortune in chocolate buttons, Fruit Shoots and mini Montrose tops.

Man of the match: Take a wild guess...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The FA Is Confused...

It appears that the FA needs some geography lessons ahead of the 2028 European Championship...