Former Cowdenbeath midfielder Lewis Milne ran the show at Central Park as Montrose moved three points clear at the top of SPFL Ladbrokes League Two.
Montrose were on front foot early on as Terry Masson fired over from 20-yards as Cowdenbeath failed to clear a free-kick within the opening 60 seconds.
It was a bit of a slog in the opening stages thereafter, until Chris Templeman fired in an effort that David McGurn saved.
Shortly afterwards, Martin Rennie saw a header go narrowly wide as the Mo remained in command.
Then, shortly after the midway point of the first-half, ex-Blue Brazil midfielder Lewis Milne notched the opener; after being flicked on at the edge of the area, the ball fell kindly to the 23-year old on the left who took a touch before firing it across the face of goal and into the far corner.
Stewart Petrie’s side piled on the pressure, forcing numerous corners although not many attempts at goal could be noted. Templeman did have another effort, but it was dragged past the post from inside the penalty box.
Come the 39th minute and the hosts came close with their first meaningful shot: left-back Harvey Swann ended up in possession 25-yards out in the centre of the park and he whizzed an attempt narrowly over Allan Fleming’s bar.
The final effort of the half came from the man who tried the first effort of the evening too. This time, Masson did hit the target but it was a trundling effort, simply taken by McGurn.
Cowden would go in at the interval thankful it was only 1-0 after being pegged back for nearly the entirety of the opening period. Petrie would be after another goal or two to settle the nerves in Fife.
Central Park was damp and chilly but the Gable Endies fans to the right of the press box were in fine voice as their side re-entered the pitch.
It wasn’t long for them to get singing again as the visitors punished Gary Bollan’s men on 47 minutes. Cammy Ballantyne drove inside before firing in a left-footed effort which McGurn spilled – Rennie was in the right place at the right time to tuck away the rebound as Montrose got the second-half off to a flyer.
Another former Cowdenbeath player was introduced as Rennie was replaced by Craig Johnston. Shortly after, David Cox was substituted for Cameron Muirhead – with the winger, who signed from Forfar in January – leaving the field of play and then punching the dugout in frustration.
Johnston fired high and wide from distance before he was fouled by home side captain Bryan Gilfillan. Up stepped Milne to curl the ball home for his 5th goal in 3 days as the away side cruised to another win. The set-piece strike was goal of the evening in this League Two encounter as the number 24 continued to dictate the play.
Graham Webster replaced Masson with 20 minutes remaining while – just before – Petrie switched striker with Gary Fraser taking over from the experienced Templeman: as he walked off, the Mo fans chanted “one more year” to the Links Park front-man.
The game had ended as a contest but Cowdenbeath did keep battling away. It took until 81 minutes for the next effort on goal; Fleming making his first save of the evening, tipping over a shot from Brad Smith at the far-post.
Dobbie Buchanan saw a shot well blocked as he peeled in from left before being picked out in the penalty spot. Bollan’s side kept the attack alive, but, Swann was off-target as he fired past Fleming’s left-hand post.
With very little injury time to be played, it wasn’t long until Kevin Graham brought this match to a close. A deserved victory for Montrose, who go 3 points clear with 3 matches to play. Peterhead face Cowdenbeath on Saturday, which, ironically, may suit the Gable Endies if the Fifers can get a result.
Cowdenbeath remain bottom, 7 points adrift of Edinburgh City in 8th. Berwick also sit on 29 points but have two games in hand: a defeat for Cowden on Saturday would see them consigned to the relegation playoffs, where they’d face the possibility of dropping out of the SPFL structure completely.
FULL-TIME: Cowdenbeath 0-3 Montrose
1. David McGurn
2. Matthew McInally
3. Harvey Swann
4. Jamie Pyper
5. Bryan Gilfillan (Captain)
6. Fraser Mullen
7. David Cox (Cameron Muirhead 54′)
8. Ben Reilly
9. Jordyn Sheerin
10. Brad Smith
11. Robbie Buchanan
17. Blair Penman (GK)
12. Scott Rumsby
15. Alasdair Smith
16. Jordan Hornby
18. Cameron Muirhead
19. Mark Fotheringham
21. Allan Fleming
15. Cammy Ballantyne
4. Matty Allan
5. Michael Bolochoweckyj
14. Sean Dillon
3. Andrew Steeves
24. Lewis Milne
2. Terry Masson (Graham Webster 70′)
17. Jamie Redman (Captain)
10. Chris Templeman (Gary Fraser 65′)
23. Martin Rennie (Craig Johnston 52′)
1. Jordan Millar (GK)
6. Martyn Fotheringham
7. Graham Webster
8. Paul Watson
9. Gary Fraser
16. Craig Johnston
20, Ross Campbell
Referee: Kevin Graham