Sunday, March 08, 2015

Season 2014/2015: Match 10: Montrose 3 Arbroath 0 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

And so the fightback begins.

Yesterday's big Scottish coupon-buster (unless Rangers drawing 0-0 at Cowdenbeath is still considered unusual) saw Montrose trounce their fish-filleting inbred cousins from down the coast with an assured 3-0 win.

This was a top-notch team performance. There were no weak links, even in areas of the park where one might consider such weak links to exist.

There was a thunderous commitment to the cause that brought five yellow cards for the home side.

There was assured possession of the ball, and a desire to push forward and pressure Arbroath at every opportunity.

This was the first time I'd seen Montrose under Paul Hegarty and John Holt. Previous results under the new regime had suggested all was not well at Links Park, but the derby performance went a long way to instilling a smidgin of faith.

Montrose took the lead in the 28th minute, Ross Campbell squaring the ball across the box for Graham Webster to take a touch a power the ball across Marc McCallum and into the top corner.

They doubled their lead three minutes after the break, Garry Wood laying the ball off to Campbell for the former Forfar man to shoot into the bottom corner.

And they completed the scoring four minutes later, Webster crossing to the far post for Scott Johnston to knock the ball down to Campbell for the finish.

Arbroath had chances, but Stuart McKenzie was at his best to keep a series of long-range shots and free kicks at bay.

Marvin Andrews marshalled the defence magnificently, Andrew Steeves had a solid debut and the midfield kept up the momentum for the duration of the match. The wingers in particular gave Arbroath a torrid time.

There's still a long way to go - Montrose are four points and 32 goals behind Berwick Rangers at the bottom of Serie Z4, having played two games more. Elgin are five points ahead of Montrose with a goal difference 23 better than Montrose's, and have played three fewer games.

Only East Stirlingshire are in the same ballpark when it comes to goal difference - they are six points ahead of Montrose having played one fewer match.

It's going to be a hard slog for Montrose to drag themselves clear of the relegation playoff and potential oblivion. With eight games to go, every point and every goal is precious.

Man of the Match: Ross Campbell has a decent shout, with two goals and an assist. While his touch may occasionally desert him, he never gives up and kept the Arbroath defence busy today.

Graham Webster was equally tireless, keeping Arbroath pinned back in their own defensive third of the pitch and contributing a goal and a key role in Montrose's third.

But for me, the key man yesterday was Stuart McKenzie, the goalkeeper keeping Montrose ahead with a string of saves and a magnificent command of his own area.