IN THEIR Saturday game, Merpro welcomed the Fire Brigade for an exciting and dramatic league match after the home side was reduced to 10 men early on.
The Fire Brigade had ‘keeper Craig Millar in goal, fresh from having represented the Scotland Amateur Football team against the Republic of Ireland in midweek.
Riach was first to threaten with a hooked snap-shot on the turn from 18 yards, almost evading the ‘keeper but collected on his second attempt.
Merpro’s promising start was jolted when they were reduced to 10 men after Sean Whitworth was sent off after a last man collision with Davidson in 12 minutes while both players were chasing a through ball. Findlay made a good save from the resulting free kick.
After Firies tried to take advantage Merpro were back on top and Craig Allan combined well with Greig but his effort was blocked.
Half-time: Merpro 0, Fire Brigade 0.
The Fire Brigade came out of the blocks quickly in the second half looking to gain ascendancy and it was their turn to peg Merpro back for a spell.
The Firies were enjoying another good spell and Lownie made a strong blocking tackle in the goalmouth to prevent a shot at goal in 64 minutes.
Merpro were again the probing side and only a brilliant save from Millar prevented the opening goal. Lownie set up Craig Allan with a deft over the top chipped pass to run on to. As he ran in on goal his lobbed goal-bound effort was acrobatically tipped over the bar to safety in 70 minutes.
Drama followed shortly after when even the Fire Brigade were astonished to receive a penalty kick without making any claims. Lownie was adjudged to have nudged his opponent as the ball was heading for a goal kick and the spot kick was awarded. However Mark Findlay made an excellent low diving save to deny French’s effort.
Merpro continued to push and looked to have made the breakthrough when Milne made a run down the right flank cutting in past his opponent to slip a pass across goal for Graham but he agonisingly fired from 10 yards.
This was an enthralling match with Merpro playing excellent football and showing determination after being reduced to 10 men.
Team: Findlay, A. Duff, N. Duff, Lownie, Whitworth, G. Allan, Cruickshank (Milne), C. Allan, Graham (Bruce), Riach, Greig. Substitutes: Duncan, Houston and Pert.
Match sponsor: Stuart Robertson.