Star of Atholl 0
MERPRO hit the goal trail with an overwhelming victory over their Perthshire visitors from Blair Atholl on Saturday in the North of Tay Cup.
The match kicked off in calm sunshine but conditions deteriorated into torrential rain as the time went on.
Merpro started well and Whitworth came close to opening the scoring when his header hit the bar from a Craig Allan cross in just five minutes.
Lownie was next to go close with another header that just went wide.
The home side was not to be denied and hit Star with a quickfire 10-minute treble deluge of goals.
Scott GRAHAM opened the scoring after a trademark dribbling run down the left flank before cutting inside to fire under the ‘keeper to make it 1-0 in 15 minutes.
GRAHAM then pounced on a defensive mistake a couple of minutes later to run through on goal, slipping the ball under the advancing ‘keeper from 16 yards to double his side’s lead.
Graham almost made it a hat-trick on the 20-minute mark, latching onto a Graeme Allan pass but the defenders managed to get back and block.
However Merpro soon went further ahead when a corner kick challenge by Whitworth fell for GRAHAM in the box to quickly sent in a drilled snap shot on the turn from 10 yards to complete his hat-trick.
Atholl were reeling and Cruickshank had a good opportunity well saved by the ‘keeper in 27 minutes.
Craig Allan was next to come close, with an edge-of-the box shot going wide.
Atholl started to settle as the Merpro onslaught lessened, and Findlay made a low save from a 25-yard shot on the half-hour. But during their spell of pressure the Perthshire side failed to create any significant chances.
Merpro came back with some late chances when Euan Duff headed over the bar, Graham was denied with a last-ditch tackle and in the final minute of the half Houston fired wide.
Half-time: Merpro 3, Star of Atholl 0.
The home side resumed on the attack into the second half. Bruce cut in from the right flank and hit a left-foot shot just wide.
In 58 minutes Merpro went further ahead when Darren CRUICKSHANK fired an acrobatic volley high into the net from 18 yards following a corner kick clearance.
The floodgates opened literally as the rain fell; and metaphorically as Merpro continued to consolidate their superiority with a further flurry of well-worked goals.
GRAHAM went on a mazy run to make it a personal tally of four goals.
Euan DUFF was next to score, opening his account with a close-range effort in 65 minutes.
DUFF added his second a few minutes later after some good lead-up passing moves to make it 7-0.
The busy visiting ‘keeper made two excellent diving saves from Cruickshank and Graham to deny further goals.
Merpro were running rampant and went further ahead when Graham and Euan Duff combined well for DUFF to fire home from 10 yards to complete his hat-trick with a quarter of an hour left.
The home side continued to attack and went further ahead when Dean SELLAR combined with Graham to fire home in 82 minutes.
As the match drew to a close Sellar completed his double, firing home at the back post from a Graham low cross across the face of the goal in the 88th minute to make the final score an amazing 10-0.
Some pleasing performances throughout the match and early clinical finishing paved the way for an emphatic victory and Merpro’s advance to the next round of the North of Tay Cup.
Team: Findlay, Pert (Bruce), N. Duff, Lownie, Whitworth, G. Allan, Cruickshank, C. Allan, Graham, E. Duff (Sellar), Houston (Greig). Substitutes: Brown and Murdoch.
Match Sponsor R. Coull and Son.
Merpro’s next game on Saturday will be an away first round tie in the Fosters Scottish Cup.