Arbroath’s two-goal lead sunk with the setting sun as the Maroons floundered in the first derby clash of 2015 to take only one point in the 2-2 draw.
Allan Moore’s boys went into the match at Gayfield in a strong position with Montrose having a point to prove after losing 5-1 in their last meeting.
The visitors put in a determined show in the first period with danger man Ross McCord showing some attacking prowess, but Arbroath ‘keeper McCallum did well having been put to work early on.
Striker Simon Murray, seemed preoccupied, perhaps with thoughts of his new career and failed to convert a number of attempts on goal.
Youngster Dylan Easton, currently on loan from St Johnstone, took the opportunity to show what he’s made of when he was brought on for Jordan Lowdon who took a nasty knock in the 17th minute, later discovered to be a broken nose, and had to leave the park.
The heavy pitch did nothing to help the speed of the game and the first half was a sedate affair until the 44th minute when Adam HUNTER screamed in the opening goal from outside the box.
Easton responded coming in from the right but ‘keeper Stuart McKenzie saved it just before the half-time whistle.
Back on for the second half and Maroons continued to command the match, putting consistent pressure on the Montrose goal.
With his eye back on the game, MURRAY set off on a solo run up the centre of the park, evaded McKenzie to net Arbroath’s second goal firing past McKenzie.
As the temperature dropped, the home team at the least seemed to lose their focus.
A jumbled mess in the home box resulted in confusion and Scott McBride deflected a Paul Harkins cross into the Lichties’ net, to let the visitors back into the game.
With Arbroath heads down it wasn’t long before Montrose’s Stephen Day took advantage of the situation and fired a close range shot into the centre of the net.
The tension at Gayfield amongst the season high crowd of 1,395 was palpable.
In the 78th minute Jonathan Crawford tripped Easton in the box earning Arbroath fans a glimmer of hope for a chance to regain the lead from the penalty spot.
The pipe dream, however, was dashed as, usually reliable front man, Paul McManus sent their hopes sailing over the top bar.
A frustrated Allan Moore said after the match: “I’m really, really annoyed.
“We had great chances to put the game to bed and we didn’t. The game should have been dead and buried.
“We shouldn’t be losing a two nil lead at home, it’s not acceptable.”
Moore also bemoaned the injuries his players sustained during the game.
He said: “It has been bad day all round because Jordan Lowdon has broken his nose and Scott McBride has also picked up a nasty foot injury.”