Merpro 3, Menzieshill 4
MERPRO were involved in midweek Marquee Trophy action last Wednesday and although defeated played some excellent football throughout the match.
Both sides can take credit from an open exciting game, but ultimately the Montrose men were left to rue losing the match after allowing their opponents back into the tie on several occasions. Merpro were given a lesson in efficient clinical finishing by their opponents who made the most of their chances.
Merpro got off to a perfect start when Greig collected the ball on the edge of the box and calmly lifted the ball over the defence for Craig Allan to skilfully collect and calmly round the ‘keeper to score after three minutes.
Donaldson then created a good opening for E. Duff but he fired his effort over the bar. Cruickshank then collected a C. Allan through pass to burst past three defenders, drawing out the ‘keeper but his deft chip from 16 yards just sailed over the bar in 10 minutes.
Merpro were well on top but Menzieshill came back into the match with a fortuitous goal on a breakaway. The initial shot was hit wide but the ball fell for an idle player to quickly despatch for the equaliser in 12 minutes.
Merpro soon went ahead with a superb goal of the season contender after a quick fire passing move from midfield. Greig, E. Duff and Cruickshank combined for Graham to lift a perfect lob pass over the defence for the onrushing Rhys Greig. He made a defence-splitting run in behind the defence take a touch and fire in a low drive from 16 yards to make it 2-1 in 25 minutes.
The Montrose side should have extended their lead when Graham dribbled past his opponent to run in goal, but the ‘keeper saved his effort with the rebound falling for E. Duff, but he had his rising shot tipped over the bar in 27 minutes.
Menzieshill made the most of their let off and went up the park with a left wing run and cross for a glancing header to finish high into the net from 15 yards in 28 minutes.
The visitors repeated their earlier gratitude by again breaking up the left wing and following some quick inter-passing fired in a ferocious angled shot from 18 yards into the net to make it 3-2 at the break.
Menzieshill started quickly in the second half and only a hood block by Donaldson prevented a goal in 46 minutes.
The homesters soon regained their composure and equalised when Euan Duff made a storming run down the right flank before firing in a shot which was blocked but came straight back to him and he promptly drilled the ball under the ‘keeper from eight yards to make it 3-3 in 50 minutes.
Merpro continued on top and Cruickshank and Graham combined well setting up a far post cross for Sellar but his glancing header went wide from eight yards in 52 minutes.
E. Duff was next to test out the ‘keeper, firing in a low shot following a Sellar lay-off on the edge of the box in 55 minutes.
Menzieshill repeated their groundhog day tactics with another goal out of the blue when a cross from the left wing fell at the back post and some indecisive defending allowed the right winger to run in score an easy tap in after 60 minutes.
The Montrose side lost some of their earlier composure but kept plugging away and created yet another good opening when E. Duff fired in 16-yard shot which came back off the bar only to fall for Graham running in, but with the goal gaping he could only agonisingly direct his six-yard header over the bar in 74 minutes.
Merpro set up another opening when Cruickshank made a great run in on goal and passed for C. Allan, who in turn set up Duncan but his effort went harmlessly over the goal in 80 minutes.
The homesters’ profligacy in front of goal continued to haunt them when another good opportunity went a begging after C. Allan clipped in a cross for Whitworth’s effort to be blocked falling for Sellar but his close range header was saved in the 88th minute.
Menzieshill survived and despite some excellent football Merpro were left pointless and lost the chance to progress further being left to reflect upon lapses in breakaway defending and missing a host of golden chances.
Team: Findlay, N. Duff (Brown), Donaldson, C. Allan, Whitworth, G. Allan, Greig, Cruickshank, Graham (Duncan), E. Duff (Pithie), Sellar. Substitutes: Gall and Lownie.
Match sponsor: R. Coull and Son.
NCR 4, Merpro 0
Merpro travelled through to the Caird Park Stadium on Saturday to complete their League Cup section in a match NCR had to win for any possibility of qualifying.
The visitors made several changes to their side as suspensions came into force but on a sunny hot day found the factory side to hot to handle.
NCR ran out worthy winners as Merpro found it difficult to lift their game and gain any cohesion.
The home side started well and Bruce did well to clear off the goal line from a corner kick after eight minutes.
A few minutes later Donaldson repeated with a goalline clearance but the rebound was quickly despatched from five yards to make it 1-0 after 10 minutes.
Lowing was next to make a good defensive block and clearance to deny a goalscoring opportunity after a NCR break through in 12 minutes.
NCR went further ahead with a long ball over the top allowing the left winger to run through and slot past Gall to make it 2-0 after 15 minutes.
G. Allan tried to galvanise Merpro with a trademark run from defence breaking through but was unable to find the final pass to create the opening in 20 minutes.
Brown came close with a glancing header from a Duncan corner kick in 25 minutes.
Merpro attempts to get back into the match were set back when NCR went further ahead with an attacker breaking through to slip a sliding shot into the net past the on rushing Gall from 18 yards to ake it 3-0 at half time.
The Montrose side’s performance showed some signs of improvement in the second half and they began to play more in their opponent’s half.
Whitworth had a rising shot go over the bar in 50 minutes.
Sellar picked up a Duncan through pass but good defending steered him wide and blocked his shot at goal in 52 minutes.
From the resultant Duncan corner kick Whitworth’s goal-bound header was cleared off the line to safety.
Merpro created another chance when Whitworth flicked a header on or Sellar to run through on goal but again strong defending thwarted his opening in 56 minutes.
Sellar was trying hard to open the visitors’ account and came close again with a glancing close range header from a Duncan cross in 60 minutes.
Merpro were now having their best spell of the match and Pert did well to break through and fire in a shot just wide in 65 minutes.
Merpro thought they had made the breakthrough when Murdoch showed a good touch collecting a free kick in the box and slipped the ball from six yards into the net, but was unfortunate to be given offside as he had timed his run well in 80 minutes.
NCR completed the match with a well taken goal in the final minutes.
Team: Gall, Pert (Murdoch), Donaldson, Brown, Lownie, G. Allan, Duncan, Cruickshank, Sellar (Findlay), Sellar (Findlay), Whitworth (E. Duff), Bruce. Substitute: Graham.