Saturday 21st July
A Tony Watt goal 10 minutes from half time was enough for Saints today to secure all 3 points against League One side Montrose at Links Park.
The first half had little in the way of chances until a great ball on 35 minutes from Scott Tanser picked out Tony Watt who headed home from close range.
The second half was a much-improved performance from Saints as they strung together a few good moves. Although Montrose keeper Jordan Millar was in excellent form as pulled off several impressive saves, first from a long-distance Liam Craig strike and then a David McMillan effort from close range. The former Saints keeper was called into action again shortly after this time denying substitute Callum Hendry as Saints pilled on the pressure.
Although the Gable Endies almost snatched a draw at the end as former Saints player Martyn Fotheringham saw his thunderous 35-yard effort crash off the bar.
Today’s result sees Saints move up to second place in Group B with 5 points, whilst Montrose remain top with 6 points although they have played one game more.
After defeating East Fife 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw at McDiarmid Park last Saturday, Saints made the trip to Links Park for their second Betfred Cup game against Montrose today. Tommy Wright made two changes to the side that started at McDiarmid Park last week as David Wotherspoon and Stefan Scougall dropped to the bench to be replaced by Blair Alston and Stefan Scougall. Montrose went into the match in top stop in Group B after 1-0 wins against Falkirk and East Fife and Gable Endies manager Stewart Petrie five changes to the team that started against East Fife on Tuesday evening. Out went Ryan Ferguson, Terry Masson, Josh Skelly, Danny Cavanagh and Ross Campbell and they were replaced by Matty Allan, Paul Watson, Martin Rennie, Craig Johnston and former Saints midfielder Paddy Cregg. Along with Cregg there was several other former Saints players in the Montrose line-up including Jordan Millar, Andrew Steeves and Martyn Fotheringham.
The hosts got the game underway and they threatened first after 2 minutes as Liam Gordon was forced to knock the ball behind for a corner. The corner was taken by Martyn Fotheringham and he floated ball into the box but it was cleared by Gordon.
Then a couple of minutes later Saints were awarded a free kick following a foul on David McMillan. It was taken by Richard Foster and he crossed the ball into the Montrose box however, the far side assistant had raised his flag for offside. Foster was involved in the action again on 9 minutes this time his throw-in picked out Tony Watt on the edge of the box however, the Saints striker fired well over.
The first booking of the game came on 16 minutes when Paddy Cregg was shown a yellow card for a foul on Drey Wright. Then a couple of minutes later the Gable Endies Michael Bolochoweckyj was also shown a yellow card for a foul.
The match then became a battle in the middle of the park with very few chances created. On 28 minutes a Watt cross from the right was easily gathered by Millar. Saints threatened again on the half hour mark as Wright delivered a great cross from the right however, the ball was just too high for Blair Alston who couldn’t make a connection as the Montrose defence cleared the danger.
On 32 minutes play was stopped as Richard Foster and Martin Rennie received treatment following a clash. Although both players were able to continue following treatment.
Last season’s League Two Champions created a half chance on 34 minutes as Rennie directed a header towards goal but it was easily gathered by Zander Clark.
Then a minute later Saints took the lead as Scott Tanser delivered a great ball from the left which picked out Watt and the Saints striker headed home from close range for his first goal for the club.
On 42 minutes the Gable Endies came close to levelling the match as an Iain Campbell free kick fell to Paul Watson however, the ball was turned behind for a corner. The League One side then forced a series of corners which eventually saw Bolochoweckyj head wide of the target.
As the match entered additional time at the end of the first half Saints created one final chance as Liam Craig delivered a great cross into the box however, there was no takers as it went behind for a goal kick.
Montrose made a change before the second half got underway as Bolochoweckyj was replaced by Ryan Ferguson.
Saints came out the traps quickly and on 51 minutes a good ball by McMillan setup Alston who unleashed a great strike however, it went inches wide of Millar’s left-hand post. Saints continued to press and on 57 minutes Wright broke into the box before having a shot which hit the side netting. Then 2 minutes later a Craig shot from distance was palmed away by Millar.
The hosts were still a threat as Liam Gordon made a great block on 61 minutes to prevent Rennie having a shot at goal.
Then a minute later Alston went on a good run forward but was fouled on the edge of the area to give Saints a free kick. It was taken by Tanser however, his effort whistled just over the bar.
It was a much improved second half performance from Saints and good linkup play on 73 minutes saw McMillan set up Alston however, his first-time shot didn’t trouble Millar. Then a minute later Foster setup McMillan as his deep cross from the right picked out the Saints striker however, his close-range effort brought out a good save from Millar.
On 77 minutes Saints made a change as they introduced Callum Hendry into the action for David McMillan and the young striker almost made an immediate impact. A cross from Foster a minute later picked out Hendry who headed the ball towards goal but yet again Millar was in top form as he brilliantly saved from close range.
Despite dominating much of the play Montrose became stronger towards the end and they almost levelled with 7 minutes remaining. An Iain Campbell corner was clipped back across goal by Ross Campbell and it found Matty Allan at the back post whose header went inches over.
Montrose came even closer on 88 minutes to levelling the match as Martyn Fotheringham unleashed a cracking long range strike from about 35 yards that crashed off Clark’s bar. It was some strike from the former Saints player! However, Saints were able to see the match out to secure a vital 3 points.
Montrose: Millar, Allan, Steeves, Fotheringham, Dillon, Bolochoweckyj (Ferguson 45), I. Campbell, Watson (Cavanagh 55), Rennie, Johnston, Cregg (R. Campbell 76)
Unused Substitutes: Fleming (GK), Masson, Skelly, Webster
Booked: Cregg, Bolochoweckyj, Watson
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Wright, Davidson, Kerr, McMillan (Hendry 77), Foster, Gordon, Craig, Watt (Scougall 67)
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Anderson, Wotherspoon, Comrie, McClean
Scorer: Watt (35)
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Tony Watt heads Saints into the lead
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