Merpro proved to be generous hosts to near neighbours Arbroath Harp on Saturday, somehow managing to lose their third round tie to deny themselves a quarter final place.
The Montrose side had hopes of progressing further but were unable to break through a side who as the game wore on became progressively more motivated, as they sensed causing the cup upset of the round.
Cabrelli burst forward to fire in a low shot saved by the ‘keeper after only 30 seconds.
Merpro had the ball in the net when a dangerous cross from Rausch found Petrie at the back post to lob over the ‘keeper with Graham applying the finishing touch from two yards but was given offside.
Merpro resettled and Rausch made a fast break into the box and was brought down and a penalty awarded. Campbell Bruce stepped to take but his low well hit shot was excellently saved by ‘keeper Hardie.
Harp, who had rarely been a threat, shocked the home side by opening the scoring following a corner kick when Lyons found himself unmarked in the box to fire into the net from 10 yards.
Bruce slipped a 30 yard defence splitting pass for Rausch to control and run into the box but his low driven shot hit the inside of the post and came back into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Merpro continued to press as Cabrelli’s tenacity won himself a tackle inside the Harp box and then hit a fierce rising shot from 14 yards but the ‘keeper flung himself across goal to pull off a superb save.
Hardie again foiled the home side when he flapped away a Graham cross shot off the line to safety.
Harp almost went further ahead with Lyons again finding himself unmarked on the edge of the box, following a corner, but good defending from Ferries cleared his effort off the line.
Harp had managed to maintain their lead at half time but the home side were confident they could Breach the barricade in the second period.
Half time: Merpro 0, Arbroath Harp 1.
Craig Allan fashioned himself an opening to fire in a 22-yard low effort but the ‘keeper made a fine save to hold.
Petrie then collected a pass to turn and run at goal but running on goal, fired his effort wide.
Greig set up Duff to collect in the box but his well hit low 12 yard shot was superbly saved by the busy ‘keeper.
Merpro were now encamped in the Harp half and following a corner kick routine, Greig fired in a low shot dummied inside the box but again the alert keeper saved well.
The visitors, who had hardly crossed the Merpro half, were now sensing an upset and were stoutly defending the constant home side’s pressure.
Merpro had built up Barcelona type possession statistics but the finishing touch frustratingly continued to evade them. ‘Keeper Lownie had not been required to make a save in the second half, as the Merpro domination had been maintained.
Merpro had their final opportunity in injury time when they were awarded an edge of the box free kick. Craig Allan composed himself and hit a superb effort, which looked to be heading into the top corner, but just shaved the outside of the post to go wide.
A happy Harp side, who had incredibly managed to somehow hang on with dogged defending allied with a super goal-keeping performance, were sportingly congratulated at full-time.
MERPRO: Lownie, Ferries, Houston (Greig), C. Allan, Pert, G. Allan, Rausch, Cabrelli (J. Robertson), Graham, Bruce, Petrie (E. Duff). Subs: Murdoch, Wink. Match sponsor: Biarchi Safety.