FC Claypotts 1
Merpro’s Midlands midweek match action opened with a hard-fought league draw in a game of contrasting halves.
Merpro found it difficult in the first half to find any attacking cohesiveness but after a barnstorming second half created enough opportunities and should have returned home with full points.
Merpro opened with Bruce and Murdoch combining well but the latter’s cross was too strong across the face of the goal.
Shortly after, Greig picked up a Lownie pass to lay off for Hector but he pulled his shot just wide.
A long Claypotts goal kick evaded the Merpro defenders and a dangerous shot went just wide.
Claypotts had a spell of concerted pressure with a series of corner kicks.
Merpro ‘keeper Steven Gall made an excellent instinctive close range save in 26 minutes from a bullet header, tipping the ball over the bar.
Merpro broke forward with a fine pass from Robertson setting up Duff but his shot at goal was well defended.
Claypotts had a further spell of aerial pressure and made the opening breakthrough following a long free kick into the box in 30 minutes. Murdoch bundled over an opponent and Claypotts converted the penalty to take the lead.
Merpro weathered further pressure and finished the first half coming close with a Robertson header going just over the bar and a further back flick going across the face of goal without anyone making an anticipation run.
Half-time: FC Claypotts 1, Merpro 0.
Merpro immediately took the game to their opponents. Houston combined well with Greig to make a good wing run and cross flashing across the face of goal.
Murdoch had a close range flick cleared off the line with follow-up efforts from Allan and Hector also cleared in the ensuing stramash.
Merpro were well on top and had another great chance when Allan set up Euan Duff to run in on goal but his fierce shot was well saved.
The visitors resumed their pressure in 68 minutes with Murdoch firing in a shot, well saved, and Duff making a good run with his shot at goal deflected for a corner.
Merpro finally got the goal their second half play deserved in 80 minutes when Graham had his effort parried by the custodian with Euan DUFF quickest to the rebound to slide the ball into the net from 12 yards under pressure.
Merpro had a bizarre moment a few minutes later when a communication mix up in defence allowed a long ball to run through on goal but Milne calmly cleared.
Merpro had the final chances with the normally composed Graham firing wildly over the bar from close range, and Houston again sliding a cross across the face of goal in the final minute.
Team: Gall, Murdoch (McDougall), S. Robertson, Milne, Lownie, Houston, Bruce, C. Allan, E. Duff, Hector (Graham), R. Greig. Substitutes: J. Greig, Petrie and Whyte.
FC Polonia 0
Merpro suffered a frustrating afternoon after totally dominating Saturday’s league match with their possession play but unable to find the cutting edge to seal victory.
The sides met only four weeks ago, sharing nine goals as Polonia ran out winners on that occasion.
Merpro started well with McDougall and Greig combining well to create an opening for Duff but the ball refused to co-operate with his feet.
Polonia made a quick break away but decisive defending from Nicol Duff cleared the danger after 13 minutes.
Bruce then broke forward for Merpro collected a pass on his chest but his effort at goal was blocked. He threatened again a few minutes later with a header going wide from a Robertson free kick.
Merpro were anticipating a fightback but as the first half wore on their dominance increased and more chances were created.
McDougall did well, pirouetting past a couple of players to set up Euan Duff to blast a close range shot at goal, but somehow the Polonia ‘keeper managed to tip his fierce effort over the bar.
Half-time: Merpro 0, FC Polonia 0.
Merpro completely controlled the first period but it was Polonia who created the first chance in the second half. Lownie clawed away at full stretch a dangerous curling corner from just under the bar.
Nicol Duff and Graeme Allan did well to foil a Polonia attack but following this the anticipated Polonia fightback failed to materialise.
McDougall did well with a strong tackle in 66 minutes and slipped a pass for Duff but his shot was deflected.
A miss of the year contender came when Robertson floated in a controlled cross for Euan Duff but somehow, with the goal gaping, he managed to fail to connect properly with his header and was last seen still holding his head in his hands.
Another miss of the year came with a sweeping move involving Petrie and Duff, who slipped a weighted pass for Hector to run in on goal but his outside-of-the-foot shot failed to swerve and went agonisingly past the post in the dying minutes.
Polonia had escaped and despite all their possession Merpro’s lack of cutting edge produced their second consecutive draw and felt like two points dropped.
Team: Lownie, Whyte, S. Robertson, Milne, N. Duff, G, Allan, Bruce (Hector), C. Allan, E. Duff, McDougall, R. Greig (Petrie). Substitutes: J . Greig, Murdoch, Wink.
Match Sponsor: RK Tool Hire.