Blairgowrie failed to reach the DJ Laing League Cup semi-finals after losing to Montrose Roselea in an exciting match at the Davie Park on Saturday.
It was the first of a double header that continues this Saturday when both teams open their North Division campaign at the Davie Park.
The management made one change from the side that won against Forfar Albion the week before. Graeme French replaced Stewart Sheed, who was unavailable.
Before kick-off the chances of the game kicking off seemed precarious. A torrential rain shower was causing problems on the Davie Park pitch, with the downpour creating surface water in and around the centre circle. The referee checked the area and was satisfied that the game could go ahead.
Traditionally, games between these sides are close and so was this one. Blairgowrie trailed to a headed goal at half-time but only after creating some opportunities of their own to get on the score sheet.
The best of Blair’s chances came after groundwork by Paul Maloney, who having pulled away from his man outside the box hit a tricky, low strike that the keeper could only parry, the ball landing for Steven Findlay whose effort smacked off a post.
Blairgowrie were forced to make an early substitution when Greg McDonald was injured inside the box after being on the receiving end of a super defensive tackle. The Blairgowrie player was about to shoot at goal inside the box when he felt the full force of a defender who cleared. This change meant that Blairgowrie lost some of the midfield creativity that they had enjoyed with Greg McDonald down the left.
The second half brought with it more of the same from both sides before Blairgowrie grabbed a bizarre equaliser on the hour when a Steven Findlay cross into the box beat the keeper, hit Paul Maloney, then the underside of the bar and off a defender into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later Roselea regained the lead from a poorly defended goal and all defenders and skipper Gordon O’Brien will have felt that they could have reacted better.
Montrose were then reduced to 10 men when one of their midfielders was shown a second yellow card. Having been shown his first only minutes previously, a cynical challenge on Steven Findlay left the referee with no alternative.
Then came the goal of the match from Stewart Nicoll, who hit a smacker of a strike from almost 25 yards from a tight angle that had the keeper well beaten to put Blairgowrie back in the match.
Blairgowrie’s chances of reaching the semi-final improved when Montrose were reduced to nine men after a player was shown a straight red card. As Blairgowrie went for the winner, a lapse in concentration allowed Montrose to break against the run of play and grab a devastating winning goal in the last minutes of the game. It was a cruel way to lose the game for Blairgowrie.
Both teams will meet again this week in the North Division at the Davie Park, kick-off 2.30pm.
Blairgowrie have been drawn at home against Luncarty in the first round of the GA Engineering Cup. A date has still to be arranged.
The club agm will be held at the Davie Park on Monday (September 3) at 7.15pm.
This week’s Berrypickers Weigh-In numbers are 1, 2, 17, 20. There was no winner and the prize stands at £550.