Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014

Top 10 albums of the year:

1. Radio Moscow - Magical Dirt
2. Swans - To Be Kind
3. Kasabian - 48:13
4. Jimi Goodwin - Odludek
5. Pink Floyd - Endless River
6. The Horrors - Luminous
7. Jack White - Lazaretto
8. Johnny Marr - Playland
9. Aphex Twin - Spyro
10. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Season 2014/2015: Match 6: Montrose 2 Elgin City 3 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

Freezing cold in the final minutes of today's match, my bollocks furiously burrowing their way into my lower intestines as they sought the tiny bit of warmth remaining in my body, my brain became so cold that I momentarily thought that Montrose were going to stage an unexpected fightback.

Ross McCord had just curled a sublime free kick over the Elgin City wall and into the top corner, pulling the score back to 3-2 in the visitors' favour.

But not even five minutes of injury time could re-inject life into Montrose's fight against relegation, and the slide towards a life of away trips to Brora, Wick and Nairn continues.

Elgin should have gone in at half time with a five or six goal lead, but had to settle for two. Shane Sutherland, having noticed that Alan Campbell is slower than the movement of the tectonic plates, took it upon himself to tear Montrose's arthritic centre back a new rectal opening.

The visitors' first goal came in the 16th minute, Sutherland bursting almost straight through Campbell and curling a shot onto Stuart McKenzie's post. The rebound dropped into the centre of the box, where Dennis Wyness was on hand to stab the ball into the net.

They were two ahead in the 23rd minute, Sutherland again firing down the left  and sending a cross into the box. The ball bobbled up and into the path of Montrose's Ross Graham, the defender unable to do anything other than watch the ball bounce off his chest and into the net.

Sutherland and Wyness could each have had another brace, and Montrose could count themselves incredibly lucky still to be involved in the match at the end of the first 45 minutes.

When the half time whistle blew, I was ready to add my voice to the chorus asking that George Shields find something else to do with his Saturday afternoons.

But Montrose, presumably fresh from a severe half time bollocking, came out for the second half with a new-found intensity and purpose to their play. Paul Watson had a free kick tipped wide four minutes into the second half, and it took them only another minute to pull a goal back.

Trialist Michael Travis headed the ball down from a corner and Garry Wood pounced, lashing a half volley into the net.

Having pulled a goal back, Montrose's chances were further enhanced when Terry Masson rearranged Sutherland's skeleton for him, the best player on the park departing on a stretcher after an hour.

Montrose continued to have the best of the match as the second half went on, even having a Jonathan Crawford equaliser ruled out for shirt-pulling that was invisible to everyone except the far side linesman.

With two minutes of regulation time left, Sutherland's replacement Craig Gunn controlled the ball and rolled it straight through Campbell into the bottom corner.

That was all the encouragement many of Montrose's fans needed to stage a mass exodus, but those who walked out missed Montrose's too-little-too-late final effort from McCord.

Based on their second half performance, Montrose could well have been worth a point. Based on their first half showing, they were barely worth none.

I'm not usually a believer in changing managers mid-season, but something at Montrose needs to change, and rapidly. The side could be bottom of the league if the results of Elgin's and East Stirlingshire's games in hand go against them.

I've also been saying for the last wee while that Montrose have a good squad on paper, but now the tears in that paper can't be ignored. No-one in the defence looks particularly confident, and on days like today Campbell's lack of pace is a liability.

McCord and Deasley aren't the players they were a couple of years ago. Johnston continues to work hard but rarely produces much of note. Garry Wood's workrate is exemplary, but he's given so little to work with that he's continually left stranded.

Still, every cloud has a silver lining - it'll be nice to visit Golspie next February...

Man of the Match: Counting Elgin as well as Montrose players, Shane Sutherland was miles ahead of everyone else up until he was Massoned. Hopefully the injury isn't serious.

From Montrose's point of view, Leighton McIntosh looked bright up until he went off injured. But I'll go for Stuart McKenzie, without whom Montrose would have been dead and buried by half time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Season 2014/2015: Match 5: Montrose 1 Queen's Park 2 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

I've now seen Montrose five times this season. Here's their record in matches I've been to:

Played: 5
Won: 0
Drew: 0
Lost: 5
Scored: 3
Conceded: 16

Not pretty, is it?

Montrose actually looked half decent yesterday, taking the game to the team sitting second in Serie Z4, and coming close through Garry Wood on a couple of occasions.

But Queen's Park opened the scoring against the run of play in the 24th minute when John Carter was sent clear of the defence and slipped a low shot past Stuart McKenzie.

They doubled their lead in the 36th minute thanks to schoolboy defending of the worst kind, Paul Woods heading home Darren Miller's corner at the back post, having been left completely unmarked.

Montrose were given a lifeline in the 64th minute when Leighton McIntosh was tripped in the box, Wood making no mistakes with the penalty.

But it was too little from Montrose, who remain 7th in the league, three points off the playoffs and six off the bottom of the table.

Man of the Match: A year ago I'd have been happy to see Montrose cut Leighton McIntosh loose. He looked completely lacking in confidence, a yard off the pace and unable to pass the ball or score.

A year on, he's like a different player. Playing on the right today, he was by far Montrose's best player, his pace giving Queen's Park problems throughout. With better finishing from Wood, he might have had a couple of assists, but he did win the penalty that led to Montrose's goal. Fast, determined and electric, if he can maintain that momentum the season may not be a write-off.