Slow start is costly in defeat at Montrose
Montrose 3-0 Berwick Rangers
Berwick manager Robbie Horn was left to bemoan a slow start which put his side on the back foot at Montrose on Saturday.
Rangers conceded the opening goal with only two minutes on the clock and Horn said: “It was an extremely disappointing way to start the match. It left us chasing the game, and to be honest we never really recovered.
“It was 3-0 after less than half an hour and against a side who are top of the league we know that left us in an impossible position.
“Next up we have Peterhead at home and we have to hope we can get our act together for that one.”
With two games in the Scottish second division postponed because of the weather, Berwick were looking for points to increase the gap between themselves and the sides at the bottom, whilst the Links Park outfit were targeting a return to the top of the table, and first half goals from Gary Fraser (2) and Chris Templeman saw them go three points clear
After the previous week’s home win over Stirling Albion, manager Robbie Horn stuck with the defensive pairing of Robert Wilson and Jonny Fairbairn, but Rangers were under pressure from the start and it took Montrose only two minutes to open the scoring when Fraser side-footed home after being set up by Jamie Redman.
On ten minutes home striker Templeman had a header from close range saved by Robbie McCrorie, but he didn’t have to wait long before he found the net for the Gable Endies’ second on 19 minutes, a low left foot shot from a central position in the bottom corner after pouncing on another loose ball from a McCrorie save.
The home side then went three up on 28 minutes when Fraser headed in from an Iain Campbell corner.
On 31 minutes Martyn Fotheringham pulled a shot wide and two minutes later Terry Masson had a shot blocked as Montrose threatened to run riot.
Berwick’s only serious efforts of the first half came when Andy Irving forced Fleming into a save and Aaron Murrell shot across the face of the goal, but it was no more than a token gesture and the Angus side, who had a stoppage time shot from Templeman saved by McCrorie, were well worth their 3-0 lead.
The second half saw less by way of goalmouth action, but Montrose already had the match won. Templeman had the ball in the net for a fourth time, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Murrell got himself in a good position, but his effort was saved by Fleming, whilst Michael McKenna shot high and wide as Berwick tried to salvage some pride. At the other end Andrew Steeves pulled a shot wide from a central position whilst substitute Paul Watson had a shot saved by McCrorie.
“It was a poor first half performance by us,” admitted Horn. “The slow start cost us dearly and that is something we have to try and cut out of our game.”
Montrose: Fleming, Allan, Dillon, Campbell, Ballantyne, Masson (McLaren 73), Fotheringham (Watson 60), Redman, Steeves, Fraser, Templeman (Hay 69).
Berwick: McCrorie, Wilson, Fairbairn, McKinlay, Godinho (Donaldson 64), Irving (Thomson 69), Lavery (McDonald 63), Stewart, Phillips, Murrell, McKenna.
Referee: Mike Roncone.