Montrose manager Paul Hegarty admits his side are “staring into an abyss” after defeat at home to Berwick Rangers left them bottom of League Two, eight points adrift of second-bottom clubs Berwick and Clyde.
Montrose gave as good as they got in an even opening period, then on 25 minutes home goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie made the first in a string of fine saves when he tipped over a drive from Paul Willis.
McKenzie saved a Lee Currie free-kick then tipped over a Kyle Wilkie drive.
Berwick made most of the running in the second half and McKenzie saved a drive from Willis, while Blair Henderson poked a shot just wide.
On 68 minutes a Currie drive forced a great save from McKenzie and from the resulting corner, Jonny Fairbairn headed over.
The deadlock was broken on 73 minutes.
Terry Masson was sent off for a last-man foul on Henderson and Currie curled the free-kick over the defensive wall and into the net.
There was no way back for Montrose and two minutes later Wilkie set up Henderson for a tap-in.
Hegarty said: “Our players know where they stand. Some home truths were spoken and they know they are in a critical situation.
“We were a shadow of the team that beat Arbroath two weeks ago, so I have to question the mentality and attitude of the players.”