A handling error by the unfortunate Calum Antell in the City goal gifted Montrose the win just after the hour mark. Iain Campbell’s free kick wasn’t properly cleared, and the Edinburgh goalie spilt Gary Fraser’s weak shot in the resulting melee. Fraser reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the roof of the net.
In truth, it was a poor first half at Meadowbank Stadium, with few clear cut chances created at either end. On 20 minutes though, confusion reigned in the Montrose defence, and City striker Ross Allum nipped in and flicked it around the goalkeeper, Allan Fleming. However, Montrose full-back Iain Campbell raced back and cleared Allum’s attempt off the line.
There was no doubt that Ryan Ferguson was causing City’s defence a few problems with his direct running, and just before the half-hour mark he went on a great, jinking run, and played a neat one two with centre-forward Chris Templeman. Unfortunately, he shot straight at the keeper.
When midfielder Kieran McWalter’s shot was deflected following a half-cleared corner, it broke perfectly to Ross Campbell in the six-yard box. However, the right-back, perhaps believing he was offside, shot tamely at Callum Antell’s legs. A minute later, Templeman controlled a ball over the top and fired a half volley past the keeper, but the linesman’s flag was up. Montrose appeared to be turning the screw.
In a surprise move, Gary Jardine, brought off his full-back Aaron Dunsmore, and sent on veteran striker Craig Beattie, of Celtic and Hearts fame, perhaps feeling that attack was the best form of defence.
In a spicy end to the half, both Terry Masson and McWalter received yellow cards, Masson’s for a particularly crunching tackle on City play-maker Dean Cummings. A member of the Montrose coaching staff was also told to mind his language on the touchline!
The second half started slowly too, with one unenthusiastic crowd member chiming “this game has got 0-0 written all over it!”. It burst into life when Craig Beattie laid the ball off to full back Jordan Caddow, who saw his low curling effort brilliantly parried by the Montrose keeper.
However, it was Montrose who took the lead when Fraser grabbed his chance at the second attempt. Suddenly, it was all Montrose. Veteran striker Templeman had a powerful low drive well saved by Antell, and centre-back Michael Bolochoweckyj almost scored a spectacular volley from a corner, but the ball just cleared the crossbar.
Edinburgh thought they had earned themselves a penalty with ten minutes to go, but Grant Irvine appeared to call John Dunn’s dive correctly, and he issued the city player with a yellow card.
In what looked like being a dramatic, late twist, Masson was given his marching orders when a stray high boot caught his opponent with 6 minutes to go. Unfortunately, Edinburgh seemed out of ideas by this stage, and Montrose played out time with ten men to secure a vital victory.
Speaking to Edinburgh manager Gary Jardine after the game about John Dunn’s alleged dive and a few soft fouls given in Montrose’s favour in the closing minutes, he was surprisingly pragmatic, stating that “we’re one team that won’t look at refereeing decisions, it’s all about us”.
Unsurprisingly, Fraser was delighted to grab the crucial winning goal and told FreshAir Radio that “the boys are buzzing to get that first win […] it takes a wee bit of pressure off”. As for City, they will have to improve if they want to get anything out of their next game, away at Annan Athletic next Saturday.
Team Line-ups Edinburgh City: Antell, Caddow, Dunsmore (Beattie 41), Mbu, Porteous, Mckee, Mcfarland (Muhsin 80), Cummings, Allum, Dunn, Mcconnell (See 73)
Yellow Cards: Dunn Subs (not used): Donaldson, MacDonald, Gair, Stobie
Montrose: Fleming, R. Campbell, I. Campbell, Masson, Bolochoweckyj, Steeves, Ferguson (Hynd 87), McWalter, Fraser, Templeman, Webster
Yellow Cards: Masson, McWalter Red Cards: Masson Subs (not used): Mckay, Pascazio, Anderson, Ballantine, Court, Millar