Late strikes deny Merpro in thriller

Merpro 3 Arbroath CSC 5

MERPO welcomed top of the table Arbroath CSC for a Midlands Division One league meeting on Saturday.

In yet another enthralling raw thriller the visitors returned home with the spoils after a late flurry of goals denied the Montrose side after a spirited fightback earlier in the game.

Merpro were missing several players due to work commitments, injuries and “stag weekends”.

CSC capitalised on some initial home side hesitancy and went ahead when Spurek burst through a tackle and fired in a low shot into the net from 15 yards to make it 1-0 after only four minutes.

Merpro replied quickly when E. Duff set up Graham to run in on goal but his attempted chip shot over the GK was saved in seven minutes.

Allan was next to threaten for Merpro but his shot from the edge of the box was saved well by the ‘keeper in 10 minutes.

CSC began to take control of the match and kept the home side under pressure for a spell.

Merpro were able to set up a break away when E. Duff sent J. Robertson away down the left flank but his rising drive was deflected over the bar for a corner kick in 22 minutes.

Whyte then had to make an excellent covering tackle on CSC’s Longmuir to prevent a goal scoring opportunity in 24 minutes.

Shortly afterwards Whyte had to be substituted forcing further alterations to the home side’s defence.

The match began to become more even as the Merpro midfield began to gain some foothold and both sides were provided good footballing entertainment.

The homesters almost snatched an equaliser following a mix up in the CSC defence after a corner kick fell in the box, but some frantic defending cleared the chance in 40 minutes.

Merpro had another good opening following a good pass from Coull providing for the breaking run from Murdoch to set up a back flick pass for E. Duff but his close range effort was blocked in 43 minutes.

The Montrose side started the second half well but went further behind after a CSC break away down the left flank finished with a low shot well initially well saved by Lownie but his parry fell into the path of ex-Roselea player Kevin Longmuir to knock home from close range to make it 2-0 in 52 minutes.

Merpro replied quickly with a well taken goal after Greig did well in midfield to slip through pass in behind the defence for Euan Duff to run in off the left flank to curl an excellent finish into the top corner of the net from 20 yards to make it 2-1 after 56 minutes.

The home team was now again competing well with their midfield partnerships combining well. Andy they equalised when Bruce had free kick blocked but his subsequent lobbed effort into the middle of the box was met by Ian Coull who glanced into the net from eight yards after managing to outjump the advancing ‘keeper to make it 2-2 in 60 minutes.

CSC were rattled and their earlier good play was now being broken up by the home side who soon went further ahead.

Graham made a trailing run down the goal line but as he was approaching the edge of the box was brought down and after some deliberation with both sides exercising grievance awarded a penalty. Craig Allan stepped up to score from the spot to take Merpro into the lead for the first time in the match in the 70th minute.

Merpro who had been galvanised kept up the pressure but as the match wore on CSC began to throw more players forward.

CSC equalised when a back post cross failed to be cleared and Sean Gatrick was calm in finishing to make it 3-3 in 80 minutes.

The visitors were now storming forward and from a low right wing cross an initial loose effort at goal fell for Matty Gall to guide into the net from close range to take CSC back into the lead in 87 minutes.

Merpro pushed forward in the closing minutes and Bruce had a low drive through a ruck of players well saved by the alert ‘keeper in 89th minute denying the equaliser.

CSC stormed forward in the last action as Merpro had pushed players forward and Matty Gall scored with a fierce effort from an acute angle with the last kick of the match to provide a harsh reflection on the result of an absorbing match.

Team: Lownie, Murdoch, Houston, Allan, Whyte (Coull), S. Robertson, Bruce, Greig, E. Duff, Graham and J. Robertson.

Match sponsor: R Coull and Son.