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  1. Utter Drivel Inverness had a couple of fresh injury concerns ahead of this first Leg play off encounter at Links Park, and with the effect an artificial surface can have on recovering players James Carragher and Sean McAllister were benched with Samson Lawal getting a rare start. Alex Samuel had recovered from his face knock and will be our main target up front. Montrose had top scorers Kane Hester, Blair Lyons and Graham Webster on from the start with chief assister Michael Gardyne probing and providing the ammunition. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A bright start for Montrose as they ventured into the Inverness box a couple of times in the opening few minutes without troubling Mark Ridgers in goal. The visitors looked edgy on the unfamiliar surface and found it difficult to get forward, but that's nothing new for us to be honest. In the ninth minute Ridgers pulled off a brilliant save low down to his left to deny Graham Webster after determined work by Blair Lyons down the left. Webster got plenty power on his shot but Ridgers did enough to put the ball behind for a corner. Bit of pinball in the box after the corner but Ridgers eventually mopped up the loose ball. Fifteen minutes in and it's the hosts that are making all the early running with Inverness opting to pass sideways and backwards. Half an hour gone and the current Championship side have failed to muster a decent attempt on goal. Shockingly poor display from us, a spinning turn and drag from Samson Lawal our only highlight. Ridgers was called into action again as he denied a deflected shot from Kane Hester and then we had to look sharp to block another effort from him before scrambling the ball out for a corner. Meanwhile we continued to play possession football which has never won anything and troubled no defence ever. ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz. Rudely awoken from my slumber by an effort from Alex Samuel slipping by the post five minutes before the break as we eventually tried something. Oooft, almost on the interval and Lawal smashed a tremendous strike from over twenty-five yards but it smacked the junction of the bar and out to safety. Bit of a stramash in the home box as Pixie Lot followed a seagull heading towards the Inverness box. When Pixie caught up Montrose were awarded a free kick in their own box. We woke up briefly as half time approached but up until then it was shockingly poor. No urgency, no direction, no hope of staying up if this continues. HALF TIME: 0-0 Samuel got the first proper effort of the second half away as he shot from the edge of the box , but Cammy Gill was equal to it as he saved low down to his right. Montrose responded and Danny Devine did well to block a fierce shot on the edge of the Inveness box from Shrive. The pace of the game had thankfully picked up since the interval and Billy Mckay was close to linking inside the home area. However it was Montrose that went close again through Lyons. On the hour Duffy replaced Savage and Callaghan came on for Shrive. Ridgers easily gathered a flicked header as Montrose threatened from a free kick. Lawal found himself with the ball at his feet 10 yards from goal but he hastily stabbed his shot goalwards and Gill gathered comfortably. Ridgers did likewise as Webster tried a first time volley with twenty minutes left. Another free header from a free kick bounced past Ridgers' post as Inverness struggled to make any headway. With fifteen minutes left Carragher and McAllister entered the game. Inverness were reduced to hoofing the ball anywhere out of defence as Montrose looked to up the pressure. Another really poor gutless performance from Ferguson's side who will have to do much better if they are to stay up. Utter drivel springs to mind. FULL TIME: 0-0 All to play for on Saturday, but don't hold your breath... However, if we continue like this, it will be our final game this season. Best performer for us was Samson Lawal, the only bright spark on the field. Alloa 2-2 Hamilton was the other semi-final score tonight. On this evidence, I doubt either side will be quaking in their boots. Delighted not to lose aren't we... Some folk are easily pleased! Date: 07/05/2024 Venue: Links Park, Montrose Attendance: 1043 Referee: Chris Graham Montrose FC: 0 Manager: Stewart Petrie Lineup: Gill; Steeves, Dillon, Quinn, Graham, Webster (Williamson 78), Shrive (Callaghan 60), Brown (Machado 78), Gardyne, Lyons, Hester (Hermiston 85) Subs (not used): Mathews; Masson, Cochrane, Batchelor, Craig Scorers: none Booked: Steeves (45+3) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Duncan Ferguson Lineup: Ridgers; Kerr, Devine, Boyes, Savage (Duffy 60), Longstaff (Carragher 77), Lawal, Anderson (McAllister 77), Harper, B Mckay (MacGregor 83), Alex Samuel (Pepple 83) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Ujdur, Austin Samuels, Brooks, Scorers: none Booked: Anderson (30) Sent Off: none a
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