Football Club
Montrose 2 Stirling 2

Montrose 2 Stirling 2

Ross Smith grabbed an equaliser 10 minutes from time to earn Stirling Albion a crucial point from the Christmas Eve fixture at Links Park.

A healthy crowd of 610 took advantage of the ‘Pay what you can’ offer for the 1.00pm kick-off and they witnessed an entertaining game on a cold and blustery afternoon.

Binos boss Dave Mackay made two changes to the team that beat Annan 3-1, with Cammy Binnie replacing injured goalkeeper Chris Smith and French forward Dylan Bikey getting the nod ahead of Ross Kavanagh.

Montrose were going for a third straight win under new manager Stewart Petrie but we were unbeaten in our last 11 meetings with the Gable Endies.

The home side came close through Graham Webster early on and Chris Templeman forced a good save from Binnie but we took the lead in 25 minutes when Bikey’s pace saw him accelerate away from a defender and his dangerous delivery from the left was turned into his own net by full-back Andrew Steeves.

Darren Smith just failed to convert a Bikey cross but the hosts were always a threat and Binnie made two good saves to preserve our lead as half-time approached.

The equaliser arrived 12 minutes after the interval when Steeves swung over a perfect cross from the left and midfielder Terry Masson sent a powerful header past Binnie.

Three minutes later Montrose went ahead with another header. Skipper Paul Watson was left unmarked to nod a Masson free-kick back into the danger area and top scorer Gary Fraser guided the ball into the net despite Binnie getting a hand to it for his eighth league goal of 2016/17.

Only the crossbar denied Fraser another goal soon after, following a strong run by Cammy Ballantyne down the right, and we struggled to create chances for a spell.

Centre-half Ross Smith headed home a Marc McKenzie corner in 80 minutes and Montrose just managed to scramble the ball clear following another corner but the home side also had chances in the closing stages.

We ended the game with 10 men after Angus Beith saw red in stoppage time, for what looked like dissent, and he will miss the Hogmanay match with Cowdenbeath.

Montrose: Millar, Ballantyne, Steeves, Watson, Bolochoweckyj, MacDonald, Webster, Masson, Fraser, Templeman (Court 81), Ferguson.
Subs (not used): R Campbell, McWalter, Anderson, Lennie, Pascazio, Fleming (GK).

Goals: Masson 57, Fraser 60

Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie (Scott Davidson 46), R Smith, R McMillan, Mills, Petrie (Ferns 78), Colquhoun, Beith, D Smith, Bikey, Morrison (McKenzie 58).
Subs (not used): Dickson, Kavanagh, Henderson, Fallens (GK).

Goals: Steeves og 25, R Smith 80

Referee: Graham Beaton

Crowd: 610