James McDonagh feels Edinburgh City on end of '˜harsh' defeat
It was arguably the best performance of his tenure, but James McDonaugh and Edinburgh City suffered a third successive 1-0 defeat as Montrose won at a blustery Links Park.
Craig Johnston’s second-half strike was enough for Stewart Petrie’s men, although City were perhaps unfortunate not to take anything.
“It’s another game with plenty effort, which has been really good in the three games,” said McDonaugh. “It’s another game we’ve lost by a single goal though. If you’re looking at results it seems like it’s the same again but the game was decided by the wind playing a massive part.
“The first half, 90 per cent of it was played in their half of the pitch but I think we lacked that bit of composure and made the wrong decisions. We could have made the decision to pass or shoot at times and were maybe missing a wee bit of quality in the final third.
“We could have maybe taken a lead in at half-time but then the second half is going to be the polar opposite. But actually against the wind I thought we played some good football. Again, I think it’s harsh on the players that they’ve lost.
“The first game of the three, we probably didn’t deserve anything but the last two, to lose those has been harsh.”
City fashioned the first chance with the wind at their backs when Craig Beattie outmuscled Iain Campbell and tried to bend the ball in to the near bottom corner with the outside of his right boot. Allan Fleming got down well though and diverted away with a strong hand.
The conditions made it difficult for the hosts to get up the other end with much urgency, but Calum Antell was forced to tip over a looping Terry Masson header on the half-hour to prevent it dropping in just under the cross bar.
An ambitious long range Beattie strike aside, that was it for a first half in which the wind was making it difficult for much football to be played.
Having scored a fine free-kick at Ainslie Park on the opening day, Campbell had the opportunity again within a minute of the restart, but his low strike was comfortably held by Antell.
Liam Callaghan was next to threaten, and whipped a decent attempt narrowly over the bar from the angle of the box.
Great reactions from Antell prevented the opener when Johnston’s low delivery was turned goal-ward by Chris Templeman via a deflection, and the Welshman adjusted brilliantly to tip the ball wide.
That only delayed the breakthrough however, which arrived when Johnston created space for himself on the edge of the area and fired low past the wrong-footed Antell.
Good link-up play between Andrew Blake and Craig Thomson opened up space for the former, but his left-foot drive was just the wrong side of the diving Fleming’s left-hand post.
A clever ball through put Lewis Allan in on the angle, and he was unlucky to see his shot come back off Fleming then off a defender in turn and out for a corner.
A close-range effort from Graham Webster almost put the game beyond City, but again Antell showed good reactions to stop then hold.
Petrie felt the conditions put paid to any prospect of an entertaining encounter. “The wind spoiled the game, no question,” he admitted. “It’s difficult, especially when you’re on an astro pitch but we’re delighted with the result.
“They’re a dangerous side with some right good players. I thought Beattie was a handful all afternoon and the three in the middle are all good players so to keep a clean sheet is great.”
Montrose: Fleming, Ballantyne, Steeves, M Allan, Dillon, Campbell, Masson, Watson (Redman 75), Johnston, Templeman (Fraser 81), Callaghan (Webster 72)
Edinburgh City: Antell, McKee, Walker, Laird, Thomson, Beattie (Belmokhtar 79), Grimes (L Allan 56), Rodger, Blake, Tena (Harrison 88), Morrison
Referee: Ryan Milne