Arbroath 0-0 Montrose
Honours even at Gayfield thanks to goalkeeping heroics.
Match report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath’s first game of 2017 ended in an entertaining goalless draw at home to local rivals Montrose. Both teams had numerous opportunities to win the match but thanks to outstanding displays by Arbroath goalkeeper Ricky Gomes and Montrose’s number one Jordan Millar, the game ended goalless. The result means that Arbroath stay second in the Ladbrokes SPFL League Two, still seven points behind leaders Forfar but crucially four points clear of third placed Elgin City.
Dick Campbell named the same side as the one that won 2-0 away at Cowdenbeath on Christmas Eve. Gomes was in goal. Gold was at right back and Phillips was at left back. In central defence, Little played alongside Hamilton. In midfield, Skelly and Linn were on the wings, right and left respectively and McCord played alongside the captain Whatley in central midfield. Up front, Doris partnered Prunty.
Arbroath named seven substitutes: Martin Scott, Liam Callaghan, Kane Hester, Michael Dunlop, Omar Kader, Gavin Malin and Rab Douglas.
Montrose started the game on the front foot. Fraser did well down the right hand side and managed to cut the ball back into the penalty area in the direction of Templeman but good defending from Hamilton prevented Templeman from getting a shot away.
Arbroath had the first real chance of the match. Bobby Linn received the ball out wide, cut inside past Ballantyne but his shot went wide of the goal.
Montrose though went on to control the proceedings. Fraser had a great chance to score but he volleyed Templeman’s knock down wide from inside the area. Then, Ballantyne had a good opportunity. He did extremely well to get into the box, going past two Arbroath players with ease but he dragged his shot just wide of the post and into the side netting.
Arbroath were living dangerously and if it wasn’t for a vital block from Little, they could’ve found themselves a goal down. Webster’s pull back came all the way to Fraser who was standing in the penalty area but Little positioned himself well and made a brilliant block to deny Fraser from getting a meaningful shot away.
Montrose were then denied a certain goal by an absolutely outstanding save from Arbroath’s keeper Gomes. Webster, who’s crossing all game was superb, put in a tantalising delivery into the box. The ball was met by the onrushing Montrose captain Watson, who from a few yards out, powered a bullet of a header towards goal. Gomes though was quick to react and made a brilliant two-handed save to thwart Watson from opening the scoring.
Arbroath’s only other chance of the half came when Prunty was fouled in a dangerous position on the edge of the area. Skelly’s free kick though was comfortably saved by Millar.
Half Time – Arbroath 0-0 Montrose
Montrose made a substitution as Pascazio came on in place of the injured Bolochoweckyj.
Just like the first half, Montrose started well and forced Gomes into making a decent save. Fraser spread the ball out wide to Webster who was on the right wing. Webster took a touch and hit a shot from distance that was well saved by Gomes.
Arbroath though almost took the lead. Linn raced through on goal but his shot was saved by Millar and then cleared off the line by Pascazio.
Montrose are a side that counter-attack very quickly and some of the football that they played yesterday was superb. Ballantyne raced though the middle of the pitch and played the ball out wide to Fraser, who cut inside and crossed the ball all the way to the back post, where Ferguson was standing. However, Ferguson got it all wrong and he sliced the ball, not just over the bar but also over the stand. It was a terrific move by Montrose but the finish was anything but.
Arbroath were gradually starting to control and dominate possession and they had a great chance to score when Skelly played Prunty through on goal. However, Prunty’s shot was right at Millar and it was an easy save for the goalkeeper. It was a poor shot by Prunty and a waste of a chance for Arbroath. However, Prunty almost made amends for his miss minutes later but his glancing header from Phillips’ cross went just wide.
Kader replaced Prunty for Arbroath and Campbell came on in place of Templeman for Montrose.
Arbroath kept on applying pressure and almost took the lead in the 75th minute but Doris’ powerful header from a corner went just wide of the far post.
Millar then once again kept the game goalless thanks to a great double save. Millar initially made a hash of Whatley’s effort but made a great reflex save to stop Doris from scoring the rebound.
The game was wide open now and Montrose had a real chance to grab a goal when Webster was played through on goal. However, once again the Montrose winger dragged his shot agonizingly wide of the far post.
Arbroath made a double substitution as Scott and Malin came on in place of Skelly and McCord. Court replaced Fraser for the visitors.
Scott almost made an immediate impact when he was presented with the best chance of the match. However, if you thought Gomes’ save in the first half was good, Millar’s was even better. Gold’s cross was headed towards the far post by Scott but Millar made a remarkable one handed save to stop Scott from scoring on his return to the team from injury. It looked a certain goal and Scott was almost off celebrating. Millar though had other ideas and he fully deserved his clean sheet.
Full Time – Arbroath 0-0 Montrose
A point was a fair result for both teams. Both sides put on a terrific attacking and defensive display in front of an impressive 1731 fans at Gayfield today. Both teams will have their goalkeepers to thank for keeping them in the game at times. Arbroath know that they need to start taking more chances but can take heart from a spirited second half performance. Arbroath travel to Edinburgh City next Saturday, looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat that they suffered to them at home last month.