Stenhousemuir fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to new League Two leaders Montrose at Ochilview on Saturday.
Terry Masson’s goal after a quarter of an hour was enough to seal the three points for the visitors, with Stenny missing several opportunities to equalise late in the match.
Stenny had the best chance of the opening stages, with Eddie Ferns firing wide of the left-hand post after being played in by Mark McGuigan.
But it was the Gable Endies who took the lead. Montrose’s target man Chris Templeman nodded the ball down for Terry Masson who squeezed the ball through Stenny keeper Chris Smith and into the net.
Within a minute of Montrose taking the lead, Stenny should have been level. Eddie Ferns did well down the left, and played a drilled ball across for Mark McGuigan, who somehow lifted the ball over the bar from two yards.
The Warriors had a good few openings before half-time, although Montrose defended well. The best chance fell to midfielder Nicky Paterson who fired over the top from 10 yards out.
Brown Ferguson’s side also had penalty appeals turned away shortly before half-time, when Harry Paton went down under contact from Montrose captain Paul Watson.
Into the second half and it was more of the same as Stenny struggled to break down a stern Montrose defence who seemed content with their one goal lead.
Captain Michael Dunlop fired just wide on 55 minutes, in what was one of the better chances - until the dying stages.
On 84 minutes the game sparked into life. Liam Callaghan had a huge chance to guarantee the three points for the visitors but managed to poke the ball across the goal and wide of the right hand post from close range.
Barely a minute later and Chris Johnston was denied well by Stenny keeper Chris Smith. The forward skipped through the Warriors’ defence but Smith got down well to deny him.
Stenny failed to create much in the second half, but had two huge moments right at the death. With 90 minutes on the clock, Eddie Ferns’ curling effort was tipped onto the crossbar brilliantly by Montrose stopper Allan Fleming.
Montrose failed to regroup, and a poor clearance was pounced on, again by Ferns, but he dragged his shot narrowly wide of the left hand post.
Stenhousemuir manager Brown Ferguson was disappointed with his side’s all round performance as they fell to defeat at home to Montrose on Saturday.
“It wasn’t our best performance, that’s for sure.” Ferguson said after the game. “We have been playing well for the last few weeks but we didn’t produce that at all.
“It was a poor display, they have had a lot of plaudits in the last four, five weeks but our general performance today was under where we needed to be.”
Stenny had a few big moments. Mark McGuigan missed from two yards in the first half whilst in the second Montrose keeper Allan Fleming denied Eddie Ferns brilliantly before the winger fired wide moments later.
“It is a great save at that moment. I felt that in the second half we looked a bit panicy, but chances did come and then the keeper has pulled off a great save.”
Montrose assistant manager Ross Campbell added: “I thought we were lucky to get the win. McGuigan would usually score that chance, and they’ve had a couple of chances at the end too.”
Stenhousemuir are back in action next weekend, when they travel to face bottom of the league Cowdenbeath.