Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Olympics Live Streaming

I'm quite excited by the Winter Olympics - the summer games always remind me of things I might have been able to do if I was younger, fitter, faster and considerably less lazy, but the winter games always show me things I could NEVER do - launching myself off a hillside while strapped to two planks of wood, hurtling down a hillside while strapped to two planks of wood, flying round an ice rink with two sharpened blades attached to my feet...and so on...

I'm looking forward to following the Winter Olympics on ESPN's Winter X Games channel, which includes both recorded interviews and live streaming events with some of the biggest names in winter sports.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Season 2013/2014: Match 8: Montrose 2 Peterhead 3 (Scottish Professional Football League Two)

The ingredients for yesterday's encounter between mediocre Montrose and promotion-chasing Peterhead:

  • Two pints of lager and a chilli burger from The Picture House
  • Four friends, three of them making their first visit as paying punters at the North Sea Nou Camp.
  • The insane ramblings of my lesser-spotted press corps colleague.
  • A sublime Garry Wood strike from 20 yards out to open the scoring.
  • A less sublime Alan Campbell own goal four minutes into the second half to level the scores, the big pudding resorting to type after his recent sterling performances.
  •  A well-taken goal from professional walloper Rory McAllister, the striker sent clear then rounding Stuart McKenzie and shooting into the empty net.
  • McAllister's second 'goal' -  a lob that bounced down off the crossbar and landed in front of the line, but deemed to be across it by the far side linesman.
  • Terry Masson's great strike for an injury time consolation, the substitute controlling on the edge of the box and firing into the bottom corner.
All of it - Montrose scoring a comedy own goal, Garry Wood and Bryan Deasley working hard up front, third-world refereeing, the random gibberish being spouted in the stand, Rory McAllister being a dick - was entirely in keeping with type.

By the end, it had all become too much for George Shields to deal with, the Montrose assistant manager randomly launching balls into the Peterhead dugout, possibly in an attempt to spark a 30-man brawl and have the match abandoned.

The result leaves Montrose third from bottom of Serie Z-6, with the chance to go second bottom if Elgin beat Queen's Park in their game in hand.

Garden must go? Hardly - but for the spectacularly unfunny comedy refereeing, Montrose were generally a match for Peterhead, McAllister excepted.

I know I say it every week - but there's a desperate need for a few more bodies (preferably some of them living) at Link's Park.

Do we dare to dream that we can be better than mediocre?

Man of the Match: If we were taking both teams into account, it would easily be McAllister, who was head and shoulders above those around him. From a Montrose point of view, I'd go with Garry Wood for a great opening strike and his typically tireless shift up front.

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.