Fairmuir progressed to the Dundee West Anniversary Cup final after edging out Montrose in Sunday’s semi. Fairmuir’s clinical early finishing proved to be the difference in a very well matched cup-tie. The away side had dominated possession of the ball for much of the early stages but Fairmuir took the lead five minutes in with their first effort on goal. Ryan Smith was the man to score the crucial opener and lifted his side in the process. A quick fire double soon followed as Jake Grady notched Fairmuir’s second, in the 13th, and, just three minutes later, Ethan Samson headed home to give the boys in blue a healthy three goal lead.
Montrose continued to enjoy the greater share of possession but had to wait until the 59th minute before they found the net themselves. Kai Henderson’s strike gave them hope of a comeback and they put everything into trying to get the required goals afterwards. However, despite their monumental efforts, Fairmuir managed to hold on for the win thanks to some great defending and game management.
Montrose dominated the early stages of the game as they looked to find an early goal. Henderson was looking particularly threatening and had the Fairmuir defence on red alert right from the get go. The Montrose forward was granted an early shot at goal, via a free kick, which had to be tipped over by Fairmuir’s ‘keeper Cameron Hendry.
Despite most of the play being concentrated in the Fairmuir half, the home team’s first venture towards the Montrose goal proved to be highly profitable. Brian Harris picked up the ball in midfield before laying on a superb through ball down the right flank for Grady to run onto. The Fairmuir number 9 then pinged the ball into the feet of Smith who was arriving at the edge of the box. With an exquisite first time shot Smith guided the ball into the bottom left hand corner to complete an excellent piece of counter attacking play.
Montrose continued to play has they had been before, despite this early setback. Callum Bisset came close to leveling the score, but his shot was well handled by Hendry, and Henderson almost fired in an equaliser but his low shot went wide of the mark.
With the game ticking into its 13th minute Fairmuir grabbed their second goal. Smith turned from goal scorer to provider has he played Grady in on goal. The diminutive attacker’s shot snuck in at the near post and suddenly Fairmuir looked to be heading into a commanding position.
Sure enough the home side increased the pressure as they looked for a crucial third. Ross Duncan, in goal for Montrose, pulled off an excellent save to deny Smith a second goal but just a minute later, Fairmuir did get a third via a corner kick. Ethan Samson was on hand to meet the delivery and head home from close range.
Much to their credit Montrose kept plugging away and Henderson continued to be a menace for the Fairmuir defence. Shortly after conceding the third the number 14 went on a glorious solo run right through the middle of the pitch. His effort at goal however flew well over the target.
Montrose continued to enjoy more of the ball than Fairmuir but they were prevented from opening up more clear-cut chances thanks to the defensive efforts on show. This was typified by Seff Mohammed, who proved to be a hugely effective shield in front of the back four. His contribution was vital as he continually made interceptions, broke up the play and ran around to be a persistent and energetic obstacle for the attackers to overcome.
As a result Montrose were unable to reduce the deficit before the half time break arrived. They knew it would take substantial effort in the second half to claw their way back in.