Merpro fall to second half barrage

Merpro exited the Buckman Mackie Cup on Saturday after St James turned in an impressive second half performance to leave the home side trailing.

Merpro created an early opportunity when Allan played a pass through for Euan Duff to run onto but his effort was blocked by the ‘keeper and cleared to safety.

St James were denied an opening goal when Nicol Duff somehow covered a mistake by Findlay to get back to make a tremendous last ditch tackle.

The visitors were dominating at this stage but good defending kept them at bay.

On the quarter-hour Nicol Duff fired a cross to the back post for Graham to head back across goal, but alert defending blocked a goalbound shot from Euan Duff and the follow up from Riach hit the net.

St James sparked back into attack when Rigden fired in a dangerous cross for Heggie at the back post to fire in a close range shot at goal only to be denied by a triple save from Findlay as the ball bobbled about in the box in 25 minutes.

The Merpro midfield had started to gain an upper hand and this was reflected when the Montrose side soon went ahead. C. ALLAN collected the ball on the edge of the box and then cut inside his marker to curl in a superb 20 yard shot to evade the outstretched Darling to open his side’s account.

The ever dangerous Rigden then made a good run but concerted pressure from Nicol Duff forced him to fire wide in 38 minutes.

Euan Duff forced a defensive mistake allowing Graham to pick up a loose pass to set up Allan to run in on goal.

Duff was injured and Merpro were reduced to 10 men as he received treatment. St James soon made the most of this opportunity. Full back McALPINE fired in a low drive from an acute angle which evaded everyone to creep into the net at the back post.

Half-time: Merpro 1, St James 1.

St James quickly pinned the home side back and went ahead with an early response when a cross from the left flank found RIGDEN ghosting in behind the defence to skilfully head home from 10 yards in 52 minutes.

Merpro attempted to respond and Nicol Duff floated in a cross to the back post for Bruce but his close range header was comfortably saved.

St James went further ahead on the hour when Millar curled in a well-hit inswinging corner kick which somehow evaded everyone. BRUCE, covering on the back post goal line, attempted to clear off the line but the pace of the cross was too much and his clearing header went into the roof of the net.

Merpro were increasingly under pressure and RIGDEN made the pressure count when he picked up a sweeping cross from the opposite flank to cut inside and fire in a low 15 yard drive into the corner of the net in 70 minutes.

St James completed the scoring on 88 minutes when a corner was cleared to the edge of the box. However, when the follow-up low-driven shot came back the unfortunate BRUCE, attempting to clear, sliced the ball high into his own net.

St James ran out worthy winners.

Team: Findlay, N. Duff, Houston, C. Allan, A. Duff, Lownie, Cruickshank (Pert), E. Duff (Bruce), Graham, Riach and Greig. Substitute: Murdoch.

Match sponsor: RK Tool Hire.