Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Groanin' Jock Montrose FC Player of the Year Award 2014/2015

As I'll likely miss the playoff matches due to holidays, I'll not see Montrose again this season (and may not see them again in the SPFL).

Which means that I can now announce that winner of the 2014/2015 Groanin' Jock Montrose FC Player of the Year is....

....drum roll....

...Stuart McKenzie.

The goalkeeper has frequently been the difference Montrose losing by a single goal and utter annihilation.

He was my man of the match five times this season, the only player to pick up the award more than once.

The full list of contenders was:

Stuart McKenzie 5
Ewan Moyes 1
Paul Watson 1
David Banjo 1
Marvin Andrews 1
Leighton McIntosh 1
Ross McCord 1

McKenzie wins the award for the second consecutive season.

Season 2014/2015: Match 12: Montrose 2 Elgin City 1 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two) and Match 13: Montrose 0 Clyde 1 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

Montrose, already consigned to the relegation playoff, have spent their last two home matches attempting to build some momentum ahead of that two-legged clash with either Brora Rangers or Edinburgh City.

It was a success against Elgin City, Jordan Allan lashing a shot into the roof of the net smashing home a winner from 12 yards out after Darryl McHardy had equalised with a bullet header.

There was neat passing, fast attacking, good cover in defence and a solid work ethic. And everything in the garden, if not quite looking rosy, was at least smelling fresher than it had in a long while (the humping of Arbroath excepted).

Man of the Match: Ewan Moyes has generally flattered to deceive in a Montrose shirt, but against Elgin he was immense, leading the defence in a manner befitting the absent Marvin Andrews.

But against Barry Ferguson's Clyde (as the club was officially renamed in August), they were back to their infuriating not quite worst but not far off.

Garry Wood missed a sitter, Ross McCord was atrocious, Graham Webster tried and failed to fill Paul Watson's long-range shooting boots and Moyes looked easily rattled after his assured performance the previous week.

David Marsh was left unmarked for the only goal of the game, and what might have been the last ever league match at the Basinside Bernabeu ended with a whimper rather than a team baring its fangs and going out fighting.

There were scarcely any fans there, and those who did turn up were drowned out by the irritating stadium announcer, who continues to haver pish throughout the match, rather than confine his nonsense to the half time break.

Montrose have a trip to Annan next week to prepare for the two most important matches in the club's history.

And now...the end is near...

Man of the Match: But for the positioning and shot stopping of Stuart McKenzie, Montrose could have lost by three or four today. Routinely Montrose's best player, McKenzie may be one of the deciding factors in the playoff matches.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Season 2014/2015: Match 11: Montrose 2 Queen's Park 2 (The Scottish Professional Football League Two)

It's all but over.

Unless Berwick Rangers lose their remaining four matches, and Montrose win all theirs with a 43-goal swing in the process, Montrose are destined to finish bottom of Scottish Serie Z4.

They'll definitely face either Brora Rangers or Edinburgh City in a two-legged playoff in an attempt to keep their place in the league.

If they lose it, the future of the club is at stake.

The focus now has to be on building belief and momentum ahead of those matches.

If Montrose play those matches in the same frame of mind as the first half of the match against promotion-chasing Queen's Park, there may be grounds for optimism. They looked determined, with Paul Watson, Scott Johnston, Garry Wood and Terry Masson driving the side forward at every opportunity. Up front, Wood's strike partner Jordan Allan looked creative and lively.

They were worthy of their half time lead, Watson crashing a shot into the net from the edge of the box with visiting keeper Muir caught out of position.

But they were behind within 15 minutes of the restart, Steeves scoring an own goal  and Shaun Rooney firing into the bottom corner two minutes later.

Montrose looked momentarily flustered, and under normal circumstances might have collapsed. But with Watson hollering encouragement at every opportunity, they kept plugging away.

It paid off, a neat pass from Ross Campbell freeing Allan, his cross to the back post met on the volley by Wood.

Stuart McKenzie kept Montrose in the match with a string of outstanding saves, and Allan was unlucky not to score himself with a series of lobs and shots.

Maybe, just maybe, Montrose can drag themselves clear of the Highland League and oblivion...

Man of the match: A few strong contenders - McKenzie was typically excellent in goal, Allan electric up front, Wood determined and Scott Johnston tireless down the right.

I felt that the key performer for Montrose was Paul Watson, driving the side forward at every opportunity and chipping in with a well-taken goal.